The Nature of Intent

Intent has always been one of the bare bones of the School of Lost Borders’ way with the vision fast. ​ When someone signs up for a vision fast, or for that matter any of our offerings, the first thing they are asked to do is write a letter of intent. The question of: “What is my intent?” is asked not to define some ultimate purpose, outcome, or goal, but to allow the question itself to inform and guide. At its simplest, intent is saying yes to what life is asking and offering us.

The impulse and decision to undertake a vision fast often comes in response to a major life transition. Brought on by both gift and loss, these are the times we get to practice dying to what no longer serves in order to give birth to the life that awaits us. Confusion and pain are natural aspects of transformation ​and our indigenous nature carries an understanding, even appreciation for, how life shapes us. We instinctively breathe into the birthing contractions and reactively kick out to break through the shell baring our emergence. Like the flower turning to always face the sun, or a bird showing it colors and singing its song, there is in our humanness an imperative to thrive and offer our beauty.

At some point in our human evolution we began to believe that we were separate from nature, and through this “lie of separation” we began to question and analyze the natural cycles of our dying and rebirth. Fortunately we still hear “call” and invitation, but to respond fully many of us have to turn into an intense fear of change and face the shadow of unworthiness. David Whyte once said, “We are the only species that can refuse our own flowering”, and in navigating our way to intent we often hear in ourselves: Why me? I can’t say yes, I need more time, I’m not perfect enough. If I say yes, how will it come about, what will I have to give up? Who I’m to be or do this?

It is a mystery why the lie of separation became a part of our human evolution, but easy to feel how it has fed our refusal, and added greatly to the suffering in our world. ​The state of our modern world, and the deep grief that we all are feeling, is cracking us open. Many are now finding words for, and ways to point to, a re-emerging knowing of our essential humanness. In “A Return to Love” Mary Williamson asked “Who are you not to be?” and in these few words one can hear a kind of antidote to our dis-ease, with offering our yes to life. They can help us to remember and realize ​that the gifts that we are born with are not ours nor ours to horde. The question we are now hearing is: Is it too late? And the prayer we live each day is that this dark night has brought us to a place where we are finding the compassion and the courage of heart to let go of the “great lie” and say yes to the beloved.​

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