Intentional connections

Living with intention is more than just setting goals, and visioning exercises, it is living in the moment – making intentional connections to people, places, self. Starting a new year is often a time that we consciously consider our lives, perhaps even take stock, and consider what we’d like to have/do differently.

I’ve been on this journey of self-reflection for a long time. Things have changed over the years. Some changes have been somewhat radical while others have been the natural consequence of days, months, and years passing – changes that we have little to no control over (i.e. children growing; getting older, etc.)

Some changes come about without me  putting much thought or effort in – that my have resulted in “life” deciding for me – about choices that I could have had more say about – had I been living more intentionally.

This is true of the connections I’ve been thinking, learning and writing about – whether they be connections to self, place, others, etc. If I am not intentional about what connections I make, and how, my connections are less abundant and lower quality/depth.

Intentional social connections

For instance, a long-time friend and I get together every week to let our dogs play together, and then walk them. If we were not intentional about doing this regularly it would likely happen far less frequently if at all. For a few years after I moved back to the community, we meant to see each other much more often than we did – but it was so easy to let weeks and even months pass by without seeing each other.

The decision to connect while walking the dogs came about when I got a puppy who needed a LOT of exercise and stimulation. The choice to walk together also allowed for us to connect meaningfully. We talk about what is happening in our family, personal and professional lives. We talk about the latest books we’re reading and often times we “solve the world’s problems”.

Sarah & I, along with a couple of other mutual friends get together occasionally over coffee/tea or a meal. Last winter we started a tradition of making wreaths together for Christmas. Both of these examples have things that work as well as our weekly walks – but tend to be less effective ways of connecting.

Our tea dates are fun, and we usually catch up on things of importance to us all. We’ve known each other for thirty plus years, long enough that we care about and understand the back stories involved in our day to day. But we’re not very intentional about making these dates happen. Sometimes we see one another fairly regularly. Other times months will go by without even talking about the next tea date.

Intention AND authentic connection

Our wreath-making workshop has been more intentional, in that we plan ahead a month or more to decide on a date/time/location and what we’ll do. We have a lot of fun. I wouldn’t change anything about it. But we don’t really get to connect more than the immediate what is happening around us. We’re occupied with the tasks at hand, eating lots of good food, and enjoying the company of some other friends, including some of the kids. I wouldn’t change a thing, but it cannot replace our tea dates and those conversations.

If we became as intentional about the in-between coffee dates as the annual wreath-making, our wreath-making would be what it is – the change we all crave. Now, don’t get me wrong – we get to have a fantastic time together – and leave with a beautiful fresh wreath that lasts long after Christmas, thanks to Rachel’s tutelage!

There are many things that I could do differently with intention. Connecting with friends is one of them.

What would you do differently if only you were more intentional?  


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