I’ve been thinking a lot about our challenging times and the various filters we wear to process them. At first blush, it’s easy to get sucked into the challenges and feel overwhelmed by the range of emotions we experience from the mayhem we see all around us.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  I want to offer you a more supportive filter to try on.  A filter that encourages us to look for the hidden wisdom in the challenges that we face.  It’s a filter that I’ve been using for over a decade.  Let me give you the backstory.

When life falls apart….

In 2010, my “dream” marriage fell apart; I no longer enjoyed my law practice; and life felt bleak, dark, heavy and joyless. As my marriage crumbled, I moved out of my treasured, comfortable home and into a room in my sister’s home.  I had a business to run and very little desire to run it.

It was the darkest time of my life and I didn’t know what to do to turn it around. For a while, I flailed, cried, hid, and tried to make sense out of the senseless.  My emotions wanted to run the show, and, on most days, they did. But not every day.  And somehow, I was able to recognize that I had a choice.

We always have a choice…

When we are challenged, we often don’t feel like we have a choice, or we can’t see it or we don’t like it. But we always have a choice.

I could succumb to overwhelm and let my circumstances defeat me (or worse – define me) or I could face the demons that taunted me, learn the lessons life was handing me and ultimately come out the other side stronger and perhaps more fulfilled. Neither choice was desirable at the time, yet I knew the only one that could lead to a better quality life was to find the courage to look at my life through a filter of curiosity to see what it was trying to teach me.

Wearing a filter of curiosity

Fast forward: What if all the turbulence, the challenges and the emotional upheaval are actually invitations for us to look at our lives more intentionally?  What if the chaos and angst are actually offering course corrections to better serve us?

What?!?!

Hang with me for a beat.

When I changed my filter, I changed my life.

I connected with myself at a deeper level to discover that really mattered to me.  I got off automatic pilot and into the marrow of my life.  I stopped doing what was expected of me and started doing what was fulfilling to me.  I ultimately created a brand new life in a brand new town living a life I loved. In the process, I understood life was not happening TO me, it was happening FOR me. 

Now that perspective is a game changer!

My impetus to design an authentic, uber-fulfilling life arose from the personal challenges I faced.  However, the opportunity to create a more fulfilling, purposeful or intentional life can present itself in a variety of ways that at first blush may look like an obstacle or challenge, including navigating a pandemic, pivoting in business, leaving an unfulfilling job or relationship, starting a new chapter or listening to a deep yearning for something different.

Do you hear that rumble? It’s your life calling you out.

I know it can be a scary when we face unchartered territory.  Yet, there is a life force that wants you to live life to the fullest. It doesn’t want you to settle or hide when the going gets tough.  It doesn’t want you to make excuses or stay in a situation that is unfulfilling and hard.  It doesn’t want you to hurt or feel miserable.  It truly wants you to THRIVE. 

So how can you make the most of the challenges that you bump into and find the wisdom they want to share?  Start by taking on a filter of curiosity and setting an intention.

Setting intentions

According to Deepak Chopra, “Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs.”

He explains that “our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires.  … An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”

Think of intentions as your inner compass that ultimately guide you by providing a roadmap to your desired destination.

Even if you don’t know the ultimate destination, you can set an intention of discovery to lead you to your path.

Here are some suggestions to get you started on creating your own intentions:

My intention is to move through my day with __________________.

My intention is to take action that will move me closer to _______________.

My intention is to be ________________ to myself.

My intention is to feel __________________.

My intention is to trust ____________________.

My intention is to experience ______________________.

My intention is to show up every day as _______________________.

My intention is to discover ________________________.

Start each day by wearing a filter of curiosity and setting your intention for the day.

Revisit it and honor it throughout the day.  At the end of the day, reflect back on how well you lived into it.  Repeat it the next day. And the day after. And the day after.  Make it a way of life.

Life is a journey of one small step in front of the other. Don’t reject life when it’s uncomfortable – settle into the discomfort, get curious, ask for the wisdom it wants to impart and set an intention to guide you through it.  Then, watch life rise up to greet you.

Share your intentions in the comments and plant the seed for what you want to create!

Carpe  Diem!

Joan