A friend recently said to me, “You know, it seems to me that a lot of people give up on something when they are right on the verge of a huge leap forward.”
“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” ~ Proverb
And I will always remember the guidance counselor’s words after announcing that one of my high school classmates had committed suicide, “Remember that EVERYTHING always looks better in the morning. So if you can just hold on until morning….”
“Never give up.” ~ Winston Churchill
Does this mean that you keep flailing at something no matter what? Never give up, even though you’ve lost everything and you’re just digging a deeper hole? When is enough, enough?
This is probably one of the toughest questions we have to answer in our lives. How do you know when to keep on and when to let go?
The answer? I don’t know.
But I’m beginning to understand the process of figuring it out for myself.
The tool is Intent.
Not intention, Intent. Two different meanings for two different words.
Intention, for me, means a goal, a rational thought, a thought with an outcome. Something I intend to do may or may not get done, depending on my underlying Intent.
Intent, for me, means my Life Breath. My purpose for being. And it is not attached to any one thing, but all things that I do, whether it’s choosing a life career or doing the dishes.
Intent is what drives everything we think and everything we do, whether we realize it or not.
And if you are not consciously choosing your Intent, then your Intent will be chosen for you, by old habits, old beliefs, previous experience and others that you have agreed to follow in your life.
So today, why not practice choosing your Intent? Start small, and with something that you can witness.
Example – Today my Intent is Kindness.
Witness kindness everywhere you go. What is not kind will be very apparent to you – let it go and only record or imprint on yourself acts of kindness. And remember, kindness doesn’t mean laying down and being a doormat!
Actively choose to be kind to others – ALL others. Regardless of what you think of them, what they appear to do, or where you are.
Most importantly, actively be kind to yourself.
How do you do that? Could kindness to yourself be doing the dishes now so you can have that afternoon tea break without having to think about dirty dishes?
Could it be taking five minutes out of every hour today to watch the birds, or look at your child’s photo, or daydream? (It’s actually part of the industry standard in some states that three hours worked gets you a 15 minute break – do the math…..)
So now, how do you feel about the dishes?
How do you feel about yourself, and your reaction to other people to whom you have chosen to show kindness?
How do you feel about working 55 minutes when you know that you will be able to rest and be kind to yourself for 5?
What does this have to do with giving up or keeping on?
If you know, deep in your heart, that what you are doing today is what you are meant to do in your life, then Intend that. Stick to the Intent, not the pain or difficulty or lack that you are experiencing.
Focus on the REASON – kindness, fulfillment, joy, beauty, growth, love, purpose, life, safety, security, abundance – whatever the underlying Intent is for doing whatever it is you are doing in this moment.
One way or the other, the short outcome is that you will enjoy each moment a lot more. And you will consciously choose to do, or not do, daily things, what seem like details, based on your joy of them, or lack of joy thereof. In this small way, you will be successful every day.
The long term outcome is that, by focusing on Intent rather than the action, you will begin to consciously choose actions that are intuitively RIGHT for you, and you’ll know it.
And, with a little practice, I feel certain that you will know when to give more, or give up.