We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. (Proverbs 19:21 The Message)
Intention can be defined as “a determination to act in a certain way.” Intentions can be interesting vehicles for success or failure, for enjoyment or frustration. I like the idea of setting an intention, especially when my life feels scattered and chaotic. (Which more often, than not, is true.) Even though, I am in the “empty nest” season of life, I never allow my calendar to remain empty for very long. I am interested in many things, and have various interests that keep my attention. I used to chide myself for the lack of singularity in my life, but now I embrace the abundance of variety, which as they say adds spice to life.
Recently, my husband and I planned our summer vacation to take twelve days to explore the Upper Mississippi river on our boat, the Intuition. We love new adventures, planning and plotting our course (Les does the majority of the plotting, and I plan ways to create an atmosphere of ease and enjoyment in our small quarters on the boat.) The time just before we left was full of celebration and living life to the fullest, so my packing plans became a little overwhelming.
One morning over coffee, I told Les, I really want this trip to be special! He calmly replied, “Why not just let it be the trip that it’s going to be? Don’t try to make it special.” (That’s a paraphrase of what he said, because he doesn’t usually use that many words, but you get the gist.) I sighed, and agreed that his perspective was a wise one.
I went to my journal to write out my expectations, and to plan what to pack. The question that arose in my mind, asked “What was the intention for this particular trip?” I listed things like: awe, relax, reunite, build, love, adventure and later added refreshment.
The weekend before we left, I carved out some time to create and luxuriate in an online creative “retreat.” One of the pages, turned out to be just the intention I needed for the trip. A little girl beckoning me to come out and play. (Also that week, a friend encouraged me to have fun and PLAY on this vacation.) So my intention was set. I would pack things that encouraged me to play and have a playful spirit.
I also decided to pack in a minimalist way, which is always a good start for me, because eventually my creative self starts throwing in all kinds of options. I started out with one blank composition notebook to journal in and to make collages, but then I added my mini art journal, and the journal I recently worked in. (I did manage to just use the notebook for most of my documenting and doodling around with art.) I packed casual clothes in a rust/orange/fuschia/coral palette. I brought my red tape recorder, my pink camouflage binoculars, a kite, an etch-a-sketch, a Spirograph set, and plenty of magazines and glue sticks. (But later, several markers, a watercolor set, crayons and colored pencils migrated into my tote bag and storage bins.) I packed my swimsuit and sunblock and a fun water bottle to stay hydrated.
While traveling, my intention to play informed the kind of snacks I bought, the souvenirs I picked out and the activities I chose to enjoy.
Our boat is enclosed, so the helm is inside, as well as our sleeping area, kitchenette, galley area for cooking and doing the dishes, plus lots of little storage hatches and drawers to contain our provisions. On this trip, I converted the table and seats to the daybed configuration, and just like a little girl set up my perch to read my books (aka the “stowaways”), to write in my journal, to play with my art supplies and watch the river roll by.
Over the next few days here at the blog, I intend to recall the wonder and the challenges of living on our boat while cruising down the river. No matter how much we plan, the adventure always has its twists and turns.
I invite you to take this trip with us in your journal, and respond with words or collage or doodling or sketching or any thing that catches your imagination.
First prompt: Dream a little, pause and respond to this…
What is your intention for your current journey?