Manifesting decade-old intentions

I’ve been setting intentions for some time. I don’t know when I very first began the practice—maybe around 2004—but I do know that in January of 2010 I founded a small Google group (remember those email lists? Apparently that service is being discontinued as I type) called “2010 Intentions”. There were four or five of us in the group, and it continued in one form or another through 2014. At the beginning of each year, we would write a post to the group describing our intentions for the year. Then at the beginning of each month, we would write in and update the group on our progress toward our intentions. We would reply to each other’s shares with encouragement and celebrations, and occasionally share resources, such as books or websites to check out, or introductions to relevant friends or colleagues, to help each other to manifest the intentions.

I really enjoyed the group, and got a lot out of it.

As I’ve been planning this upcoming bike trip, I had a sudden flashback to some early intentions I had set at that time. I went back in my email box to look, and lo and behold, my very first post in that group contained the following intention I had remembered. I am going to paste it here verbatim, because it feels so powerful to me:


I want to begin traveling to at least a few of the North American cities I will list below. My intention is go there for a specific purpose, as yet unknown to me. The purpose will be one that will be joyful and satisfying to me, and that will also contribute to the greater good. I will spend probably 3-4 days in each city. I might travel there by train; not sure. I might travel in a sort of tour, or I might visit them piecemeal. When I arrive in each city, I will be met by locals who will be very excited to have me there for my purpose. They will help me to partake in most, if not all, of the following in their city: 1) vegan restaurants and/or gatherings, 2) karaoke, 3) ecstatic dance events, 4) touch- and/or sex-positive events, 5) probably a bike ride or two, 6) any other cool attractions–natural or otherwise–of their particular city. They may also host me in their homes, but this is not a “requirement” of my intention. 🙂 At the end of my stay in their city, both I and they will feel joyful and satisfied to have met each other and spent our time together in these activities as well as any related to my as-yet-undiscovered purpose for being there.

The cities (in no particular order):

Asheville, NC
Boston
New York
Atlanta
Someplace in Florida–not sure where yet
Nashville
Denver and/or Boulder
Chicago
Austin
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco
Minneapolis
Montreal
Toronto
Vancouver
Victoria

I’m open to others as well, but those are the ones that came to my mind.


I mean… wow, right? I get chills re-reading that.

It’s really worth setting intentions. Doing so in front of witnesses is even better; when people can help you to hold an intention, it’s all the more powerful. Sometimes intentions take a long time to come to fruition—one might consider 11 years to be a long time, for example, in this case—but sometimes they stretch out over time, so that you get parts of them all along the way.

In this example, I began to fulfill that intention the following May, in 2011, when I visited Minneapolis over the Memorial Day weekend. (The pic is of me in Minnehaha Regional Park.) I had a wonderful trip—and a wonderful tour guide in my friend Nate—and I felt so excited to begin crossing these cities off my list.

And in the intervening years, I have visited all of the above cities—some as many as three times!—with the exceptions of Atlanta, Nashville, Boulder, and Toronto. I will probably miss Boulder and Nashville on this trip as well—they are just too far outside of the route I envision—but Atlanta and Toronto are definitely on the itinerary!

I set several other intentions in that debut email as well, of which a few important ones have come to pass:

I have managed to reduce the hours worked at my day job by about half, while retaining my full pay and most of my benefits.

As I also stated in my intention-setting, I used much of that extra time to focus on photography and filmmaking. (I did complete a short inspirational documentary film in November of 2011, and my tree-photography Instagram account is now nearing 5,000 followers.)

Looking back at this old document helps me to feel proud and joyful about my achievements, and also even more excited about how the coming two years are going to unfold, under this new dream and set of intentions.

Do you set intentions? Do you feel proud and joyful about having reached them? Are there some you are still working toward? Are you able to set new ones even during this scary and unstable time?

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