When I wrote last week about honing in on the words that best describe who we are and what we want to share with the world, I mentioned my intention circle – a group of women I meet with monthly. I heard from lots of you who wanted to know more – what is it? who’s in it? how does it work?
My intention circle grew out of a day-long workshop I took from my friend Maryanne O’Brien, founder of Live Dynamite. She coaches people on the power of positive thought and how it affects the outcomes of our dreams and goals. To set your intention is to visualize your ideal outcome, feel what it would feel like to have it, trust that it is coming and let go of how it’s going to happen. Though I have done this for many years, it helps immensely to focus on your greatest desires in a group setting, with tons of tools at your fingertips.
The first time I went to a Live Dynamite Circle, I was focusing on increasing my income. I had written down on one of Maryanne’s intention cards (also circle-shaped) that I intended to joyfully attract another $1,500 of income into my life each month. She leaned over my shoulder and whispered, “You can do better than that. Double it.” I cringed at first, wondering where in the world $3,000 would come from, but she encouraged me to just let the “how” go and trust that it would happen. That evening, I drove home and went to the mailbox. I kid you not: inside was a check for $3,000 from a former copy writing client who had never paid me for work done long ago (and I thought never would). Holy crap, right? I felt like the powers that be made that happen for me that day to convince me of the power of my thoughts, the sheer force of positive intention.
At the second workshop I attended in 2009, the people at my table were all fascinating and wonderful. One businessman was there to focus on improving his family relationships. A woman next to me, who worked on her husband’s family farm, wanted to clarify on her own ambitions. Another was feeling stressed and overworked. Each person envisioned, planned and celebrated their ideal futures that day; the energy in the room was amazing. The eight of us around our table talked excitedly about getting together after the workshop to keep each other motivated.
But a couple of weeks after the Live Dynamite Circle, there were only three of us able to commit to meeting regularly – and we trusted that was the way it was meant to be. Turns out we had a lot in common, from our paths as small business owners to shared values. We eventually welcomed two other like-minded members who were searching for a sense of community and came to us totally serendipitously. I think this is critical when forming an intention circle: be very mindful about who is part of your group and what they bring to the table.
We’d all participated in networking groups that didn’t fulfill us in rich, meaningful ways. I remember being in groups where I felt worse leaving than I did walking in the door! We agreed from the beginning that this group was not about surface stuff, but about soul work – digging deep, providing support and honest feedback, being okay with any and all feelings that came up – as we navigated our ways through personal and professional challenges and opportunities.
We also knew we needed structure for our time to remain purposeful and beneficial to everyone. We meet in a private room at a local health & wellness center and stick to a schedule. We can arrive up to a half hour before lunch to shoot the breeze and order food. Then, at noon, we start with a 10-15 minute personal growth exercise (we have a rotating schedule for who is responsible for this each month). After that, each woman has 15-30 minutes to share a particular situation, struggle or issue while the rest of us provide honest feedback and support. It is all completely confidential. And there’s little room for complaining, whining or gossiping because we all agree none of that is productive. At the end of each woman’s time, she crafts an intention – a sentence that defines what she’s gained from our talk and how she envisions moving forward. Our intentions have ranged from “I fully intend to spend 10 minutes a day in quiet reflection every day for a month” to “I intend to specifically define and attract my ideal clients in the next week.”
Sometimes, one member needs more time than usual, while another might need less. It’s a dance – different every time. And we’ve certainly experienced growing pains and missteps. For a couple of months, our meetings disintegrated into surface chatter. A couple of exchanges and misunderstandings left us each feeling defensive and uneasy. I think that’s bound to happen when you’re digging deep. We all felt it and noticed it and didn’t want it to continue that way. So, we spent most of one meeting going over specifics, sharing our concerns, grabbing Kleenex, celebrating what we loved about our circle, building our trust back up and clarifying our intentions as a group.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have this circle of wise, wonderful women in my life. They want me to thrive and shine and I want the same for them. As one of my circle sisters said at our last meeting, “we have accomplished in a year what some people don’t accomplish in a lifetime!” It’s so true. And, if an intention circle is something that sounds beautiful to you, create it! Rather than say “Oh, man, I wish I had that….” try changing your tune to “I am in the process of finding and building my own intention circle! Wahoo!”
RESOURCES! Want more information on inviting the magic of intention in your life?
The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way by Wayne Dyer. A life-changing book for me. I recommend it to EVERYONE!
Watch this video by creative coach Christine Kane about the amazing impact of living with intention. She’s also hosting a free teleseminar on the subject on 2/23!
Mike Dooley’s TUT.com is an awesome site. Be sure to sign up for Notes From The Universe – a daily email that lifts my spirits and reminds me that my thoughts, indeed, create my reality.