Protected: Learning to walk with intention

By Oliana Kim of Traces of the Soul

© Clr'1 Photo Credit: Cheryl-lyn Roberts
© Clr’1

I was contemplating on this essay about “intentions” this past week and a few stories were simmering in my mind. I learn best by doing and life experience. So, I was thinking of presenting two or three short stories to illustrate how intentions impact on people’s lives.

Then, I noticed a comment from one of my treasured readers on a series of haiku (a troiku actually) describing a few moments I caught on photos on my way home last night. It was raining; the air was cool but not cold. I was dressed in a long lined raincoat with a hood and took the long route to the Métro that night because my shortcut has been taken hostage by the City of Montréal while they turn my special wild thicket into a park.

I was walking along rue St-Denis, and could not help but notice the play of lights on the wet sidewalk. Firstly, it warned me to walk a tad slower to avoid a slip and fall which has happened way too many times since my return to Montréal. Secondly, it allowed me to slow down and breathe in the beauty around me. The fallen leaves on the sidewalk and side of residential properties, the colours playing in the glow of the street lights and the trees in front of old apartment building were giving it their last shot at being very attractive.

© Clr'15 Photo Credit: Cheryl-lyn Roberts
© Clr’15

So click click I went along and could not wait to get on the Métro a few minutes later to jot down those moments in the form of a haiku for each photo I took. The reader had commented on Slippery Streets, a poem describing the leaves on the sidewalk, “It’s like seeing through your eyes.” THAT is such a lovely compliment to any writer or poet (and still I do not consider myself either) to convey your thoughts, feelings and the image you were describing to the point that a reader feels she/he are right with you. That is a very good feeling. I have found that blogging has improved my writing and over time I realize my goals have shifted. Now I want to write not just for me but I want to share the images and thoughts in my mind…I want to paint a picture as best that I can so the reader sees it. Many times they may not interpret all my thoughts and that is totally okay, BUT it has stirred something inside them, and that is a very good feeling. I feel I have accomplished my goal I had intended in the first place.

************************

That comment by the reader made me look at how intention has manifested in my life. I realize now why my life moved slower in making changes , “I thought” were my goals.

Ever since I was twelve I wanted to be an educator or counsellor and in order to realize that dream, I imagined myself going to university and working a few years before even contemplating marriage. Of course that all changed when I met my husband at fifteen but my dream never did. What happened? My intentions were no longer focused. All this prattle in my mind shifted my focus, my need (that was a red flag but I was too naïve to recognize that too) to please so many people, I got lost in a tunnel of confusion. The tunnel became twisted and turned that I took longer routes to get to places, many times I think I just got stuck at a crossroad, afraid to make a decision at all. I knew my decision could impact so many people I loved and yet, if I had stayed focused on my original “intention”, it would have happened…it could have happened a lot sooner. Well, it still happened {imagine me chuckling now} but this exercise to examine how “intention” impacted on my life has made me realize a lot!

The mind and soul can actually send out messages to the universe and if you meditate and concentrate enough, it can happen. Since I have been blogging, I am writing daily for the past three years. I was writing off and on before but never like this. I am more focused. My intention was to develop ideas in one or two of the novels I had been contemplating on writing. And then I rediscovered poetry and that seems to have influenced me in many more ways. It allowed me to get in touch with my spirituality. Yes, indeed, that surprises me as I have never been a religious person except when I was a young child.

Often I would read a poem I had written the night before and I am moved by the depths of the words…some writings do not seem like it was actually me! And yet, it was me, the inner me who lets those thoughts and feelings swirl in my subconscious. Was it my muse who allowed me to find the words? Was it my “intention” to express myself authentically?

I believe I am more focused on my intentions when it comes to writing. It is often a form of meditation for me. My mind starts wandering and perhaps it is my muse who takes over and a part of me believes it is my angel. (Okay, that may sound childish but I have always believed I have a spiritual guide that has always looked out for me since I was born. Why else would I have shoved over in my bed as a young child to make room for my angel? No one told me to do this. I truly felt it.)

Through my poetry that first year of blogging, I met Sreejit at The SeekersDungeon who had a poetry prompt Week 2 of his prompts to write a sort of acrostic Waiting for my Knight was my contribution; that was the beginning of following the various prompts seeking more in the dungeon of my soul (quite the opposite of first poem.)

Thereafter, I feel I was more open to listen to my inner self. I know that does sound over the top but now that I think about it, my spiritual me has opened up again with my writing. I am seeing who I was in my late twenty’s. Back then, I was so in touch with myself and the universe…and our Creator.

Through that blogger, last year, I met Karuna who introduced me to Mata Amritanandamayi also known as Amma. I went to my first retreat last year and met with this person, I still call an angel, and experienced being in the presence of Amma for three whole days!

This past summer I returned to see Amma at her North American retreat in Toronto by the grace and generosity of two angels. {I am so blessed!} The experience had a more profound effect on me. And I am not a pushover when it comes to spirituality. I may be a sucker when it comes to my children and grands but not anything to do with my spiritual life.

You see, in Québec, French Canadians have had a history of oppression and the Catholic church also indoctrinated Québecois families for too long that in the sixties, many people withdrew…rebelled like teenagers pulling away from dominant and exploitive parents. I remember speaking to an aunt in my early twenty`s about my disgust with the church. I was upset that the priest who married my husband and me judged me and my mother. He humiliated my mother when she came to sign her consent (in those days 21 was the age of majority). He knew she was divorced and with a condescending smirk asked her, “Oh and will the father be coming to sign too?” My mother was a good person. She never went to sleep without completing the rosary at night. The priest also took my husband to be aside the day before we married to discourage him not to marry me since I came from a broken home. Little did that priest know that it was the former parish priest that told my mother to leave our father.

My aunt reminded me that the leaders of churches were simply men with human failings and she encouraged me not lose faith. I never have lost faith because that has always been a comfort to me knowing that I had a Father who truly cared about me and loved me even when I screwed up. In many ways, I have always found it nice to think my ancestors are in another dimension but not gone forever.

Last summer, I purchased half a dozen books at the retreat and the more I read the more my heart and soul softened. There were some passages I was reading where I thought to myself, “But I knew this in my late twenty`s! What happened to me to stray? I was so happy to have found those answers then.” And I do believe intention has something to do with this as well. I remember reading spiritual and new age books at a time when my marriage was going through difficult times and I found hope and solace in my readings. My husband was slowly changing as well and then “pouff!” life happened and I got caught up in external matters. Family struggles, sicknesses and more struggles. My spiritual growth remained stagnant.

Oh my, when I think how my imagination could have been focused better, if I had put more energy in it, I may have been where I am right now but decades ago. I realize if my thoughts are clear and focused, I can manifest my desires fairly quickly. If my thoughts are muddled with other mumbo jumbo chatter, I may realize some dreams but they may manifest themselves randomly. I may not even recognize they were part of my intentions and feel they were meant to be at that time. It makes sense now that I think about this more.

When the children were very young (one and four) I started a typing and editing business at home so I could stay home longer with the children until they were old enough for school. My goal was to see this business grow to the point I might have people working with me. Within less than a year it was starting to grow and I panicked! I refused work in the summer knowing fairly well, businesses would not take me seriously and I kidded myself saying I only wanted extra spending money I never had, to pay for a car so I could take the children out. I sabotaged myself because I was afraid of success.

When it was time to go to university full time because I had saved the money I needed, my husband asked me to use it for a family summer place instead, saying I would be selfish if I used it solely on my education. I gave in so readily and could have agreed provided he help with some of the expenses to go back to school since there would be tuition, books and daycare. I did not look into those possibilities and I realize I may have been afraid to succeed then as well.

What will happen when I finally attain my goal? What will I want then? I think a part of me knew I would leave him but I kept waiting for the children to be older. Regardless of the reasons, my point is if I had focused on what I wanted, I may have realized those dreams sooner. I don’t regret the way I did it though since I believe I did the right thing for my decisions effected my children and their father…so doing it by taking the scenic tour, if you will, allowed everyone to see the dust eventually settle.

I am at a place in my life now where I would love to write more and still have part time work. Will I stay where I am and eventually work less hours? Will I finally offer workshops I have wanted to do for years? I started that business years ago but accepted only a few contracts…afraid it would take over my full time employment and partly afraid it would succeed and take me away from my family. Yes, I realize that now. I also had my heart in being available for my daughter who is a single mother and my mother who was ill. Now that she is doing better and in a blended family, my mother has passed, I may be more available to pursue other dreams and if travelling is in the picture, I can do that now. I also believe I may not have been quite focused on what I truly wanted to offer in personal and social development workshops. As I continue to grow spiritually I want to incorporate more of “me” in my trainings.

I suppose baby steps are not a bad idea if that is my mode of moving in life. It may be what I needed to do to avoid falling not failing. This post has allowed me to think “a lot” as usually Sreejit’s prompts do. From day one when I responded to his poetry prompt…my life changed. Now I understand what it means to walk with intention.

© Oliana 2015/10/30, Photo Credit: Cheryl-lyn Roberts
© Oliana 2015/10/30,

 

unnamedOliana Kim

I’m a woman, a person, a mom, a nana, a youth counsellor, a sister, a lover sometimes, a loyal friend, compassionate volunteer and lifelong student of life. I am from Montréal where we have long winters and too much of that four letter word – snow! I am a lover of poetry and the written word. As I explore the written word in various forms, I am enjoying myself as well as discovering traces of my soul on this spiritual journey.

I may write poetry, a personal journal or attempt several flash fiction prompts out there. The place I explore my inner soul the most are with Dear Emma and prompts at The Seekers Dungeon. I use a pseudonym here so I can freely write whatever crosses my mind but this name is still personal. Oli represents my son, Ana my daughter and Kim is a nickname for my sister. I have another blog where I write solely Japanese form poetry under the nom de plume, Tournesol and another where I advocate for mental health and social justice. However, here at Traces of the Soul, I can be just me…uncensored.

 

Written for Walking With Intention.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: Walking With Intention.  But first leave a comment and let Oliana know how you feel about what she said, and be sure to visit her over at Traces of the Soul when you’re done.

 

Featured image via http://www.reddit.com

11 Comments

  1. I’m so honored to be a part of your story. It shows the power of the bonds that we create here in the blogosphere. I didn’t get to where I wanted to be all along right away either. I took a 16 year detour in California, but I know that those years made me stronger, and made me able to appreciate what I have now. You have such a depth of knowledge to draw from and share, so your detours can end up being a benefit to many. Thanks so much for being a part of the Intention project.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You know, it saddens me to read some of what you talk about here, while I’m joyfull to see that you are getting to know who you are.

    What right do we have to invalidate another persons dreams? Whether it be to marry or to further our education? That’s what I see here.

    Whether it was the priest who didn’t just invalidate your dream to be married, but attempted to convince another that you had no value or your husband who thought more of a summer home (himself) than your dream of an education that would help others.

    Sreejit had it right. There is value in the strife we endure over time. It contributes to who we are and helps us to understand others.

    Many of us take the scenic route that you describe because we are either afraid to fail, or afraid to succeed. Usually because we take it to heart when someone we respect professionally or personally invalidates what we desire. We think that we cannot succeed, or if we do, it will somehow alienate those we respect or make us selfish.

    While there is sadness, there is also beauty in your words here. Follow your heart, it may lead you to places you didn’t expect to go, but it ultimately will never lead you astray.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have really been looking forward to reading your post on this event. Many thoughts came up as I read.

    – While our process may seem delayed by taking the scenic route from time to time, I’m wondering if in reality they are a necessary part of getting us where we need to go.

    – I remembered a book that I have loved: Longing for Darkness: http://www.amazon.com/Longing-Darkness-Tara-Black-Madonna/dp/0140195661. It is an incredible book for many reasons but in part it is about how she healed her relationship with the Catholic church. I think you would love it.

    – Pamela Levin once created the 7 Laws of Creation, a process for creating one’s vision. I don’t remember all the parts right now but the ones I remember are that in order to create your vision you have to: 1) have one 2) keep it in your mind’s eye in each moment 3) be totally accountable for what comes up, 4) continue even when you “don’t know”, 5) when you achieve it be willing to accept it rather than discounting it and moving on to something else.

    I look forward to seeing where your life path takes you and am glad that our separate paths have come together on part of that journey.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you, Sreejit, for this wonderful opportunity of self-exploration as well as learning from others. I know I learn best by doing, so perhaps I needed to “do” for a while and I have no doubt it has helped me along the way to not only recognize but appreciate my blessings. I remember in college, during a 6 month counselling course I had to be in counselling to be accepted into the programme. I had a terrible experience with my counsellor and learned so much more on what NOT to do and how fragile the human soul can be. I learned by that cousnellors’s mistakes so much more than if things would have gone smooth sailing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I relate so deeply with you. There are so many similarities in our pasts. My imagination and heart created so many picture-perfect dreams for me in my youth. All of that faded away when I met my husband in college. That relationship separated me from focus, common sense, my parents, myself and my faith. It took me a total of 12 years to realize the rest of my life was worth more than settling for a façade of love and contentment where there were none. The following several years were a process of breaking away from the dependency of my heart on the validation of others; a process which brought me back in fullness to my faith. Like you, however, family struggles and work challenges have pulled me into a less engaged space. But that’s okay. I believe when you feel close to God and you get torn away by distractions, it is because evil is jealous of your spiritual passion and hopes to derail you from your course. That is what our beautiful angels in all their many forms are for… to help restore us… and encourage us… and re-center us to our peace in the Holy Spirit. This blog and the many friends here are truly a blessing.

    Most certainly, some of us take the longer route to discovering our purpose and achieving our dreams, and baby it’s not always scenic! Lol… but the journey is part of the lesson and makes you a better you going forward. I’m excited about your journey and where it will lead you next!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I enjoyed meandering through this scenic route of your journey. What you shared about the Catholic church and the priest who married you brought back vivid memories of growing up in that environment. The pain and the absence of self acceptance it brought. I am left wondering once again about how I view the detours, wanderings, blind groping in the dark, of my life journey. As if there could have been different paths to lead me to this point, to today. I get that the paths i chose to walk were exactly the ones i was meant to and they got me to me, moi, yo, today. A me i could never have imagined as i walked the paths over the years, last week, yesterday.
    Thank you Oliana for the stroll and the image of wet leaves on a dirt path bordered by deliciously green grasses

    Liked by 2 people

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