As a teacher I’m blessed to have lots of extra time to spend with my family during the summer months. Sometimes those weeks are filled with lots of fun and personal growth. Others… not so much.
Lately I’ve noticed that much of my time has been drifting by without my noticing it, let alone making the most of it and growing as a person, family member, and community member.
This year I am striving to use this time rather than letting it pass. I am going to live intentionally this summer, and I invite you to join me.
What is Living Intentionally?
In order to live intentionally we have to first define what it means to do so. A quick internet search will bring many definitions, some related to religion or spirituality, some related to a personal philosophy, some related to something else all together.
I don’t believe there is one right way to live intentionally. I don’t believe that the areas of my life I choose to focus on are any better or more meaningful than those than you choose to focus on. We’re all on our own journey, so we must all take our own paths.
For our purposes living intentionally is going to mean to live in such a way that brings focus and joy into your life.
The goal is to go to bed feeling that you’ve accomplished something meaningful, however small, to yourself, your family and friends, or your community.
Self, Family, Community
This series is going to run from Memorial Day to Labor Day each Thursday and is going to be divided into 3 segments; Self, Family and Community
Self. We start by bringing intention to our own lives because we have to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of and give to others. Think of what they always say when you get on a plane; In case of an emergency, place the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others.
Ironically much of our unintentional living is cause by ignoring ourselves and focusing too much on others. Of course we want to help others and support them in any way we can, but if you build a house on a crumbling foundation, neither the house nor the foundation are likely to last long.
Family. What wouldn’t we do for our families? Whether we were born into them or found our family along the path of life, we would walk through fire for them. They are the reason we get up in the morning and what we dream about at night.
Yet for all our hopes and dreams, we often take our family for granted. We don’t notice their constant strength or all the little things they do to make our lives better. Part of living intentionally requires us to pay attention, first to ourselves, then to those closest to us.
Community. Cesar Chavez once said, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” And so, to truly live intentionally, we must take our intentions beyond ourselves and our family.
First we must define our community. Whether it’s your neighborhood, workplace, church, town or beyond, we all have the power to make our community a better place. Don’t worry, living intentionally isn’t about the next big social change (unless you want it to be). It’s about connecting to your community so that you become a part of it and it becomes a part of you.
How to make it happen
So how do we start to live intentionally?
It starts with a choice. A choice to make our time count and remember to live as we go about our daily lives. And we must make this choice over, and over, and over again.
It doesn’t have to be hard. In fact it can be the easiest thing in the world, but we first have to think about what we want our lives to look like, then make choices that get us closer to that vision.
Here are just a few examples of what it means (in my mind) to live intentionally:
- Read an article on something interesting instead of watching a rerun of “Friends”
- Try something new – plant a garden, paint a picture, build something, go to a new place…
- Go to bed instead of staying up to surf the internet
- Have a family night or date night
- Volunteer for a cause you care about
Your assignment for the week: What does living intentionally mean to you?
Next week: Setting Goals