Thursday, April 9, 2015

Living With Intent

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882); Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

Living in a reactionary pattern of crisis-of-the-moment management has the unpleasant side effect of distracting us from making the most of our unscheduled time. When the day’s demands lift, we’re all too happy to flop down and look for a little mindless recovery. On one hand, it’s understandable: Our brains need a break! On the other, we may be missing out on a great opportunity.

In life, there are activities which recharge us mentally and physically. Generally speaking, reality television and involved political arguments on Facebook are not. But activities like brisk walks, reading imaginative fiction, and building a couch cushion fort with your kids can be.

Who we become has more to do with what we choose to do with our unstructured time than it does our “must do” time. What you decide to do in this time will shape your character and the quality of your life far more than you might think. The easiest thing in the modern world is to ride a tide of distraction. With a little discipline, though, we can live a life of intent.

So how do we develop a practice of living with intent? Here’s a tip: Look at your schedule for the week and identify a few times when you’re most likely to have unstructured time. Now, structure it a little. Don’t build yourself a fresh fortress of to-do lists, but make a plan to pursue something that recharges you and reinforces the direction you want to go.  

I think if you practice this tip for mindful living you’ll find the truth at the heart of the Emerson quote.  

Wishing you health and happiness,

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Pat Ogle
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