Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe. – Mark Victor Hansen
What Purple Flowers Taught Me About Setting Intentions
I set the intention to see purple flowers.
I was reading, E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Change Your Consciousness. I was in the second experiment which called for me to test the power of intention. The experiment required that I actively look for something, anything of my choosing.
As soon as I set the intention, I began to panic. After all, it was wintertime in the city. The predominant color was gray, surrounded by more gray. It would be nearly impossible to find any flowers at all, let alone the prized and rare purple ones.
My cascading doubt created a lack of clarity, and I started setting competing, inferior intentions. Perhaps, I wouldn’t choose purple flowers. Red might be better. Or maybe leaves instead of flowers, Maybe it would be easier to call forth other things, more obvious things. I started feeling anxiety about the experiment. I thought of a million different things I should try to manifest that were more practical than flowers. I left the house without a clear sense of what I was actually intending.
Not surprisingly, I didn’t manifest any purple flowers that day. As I reflected on the experiment, I realized I lacked intentional integrity.
A couple of days later, I was able to start over with a clear mind. Once again, I set the intention to see purple flowers.
The outcome was overwhelming. I saw them by the Pittock Mansion in Portland, at the airport on the way back to Chicago, and then again in a teacher’s classroom at school. Each time I saw them, I smiled to myself and recognized the power and importance of maintaining the integrity of my intention.
How to Go Far in Life: Setting 5 Effective Intentions
This experience helped me understand the difference between wishy-washy hopes and great intentions. Here are five tips for actually manifesting what you desire:
Probably the most important key is to have clarity about what you want. If you are uncertain about your manifestation power, start with a vision that will be relatively easy to achieve. This will help you build confidence in yourself. Choose something that is not particularly heavy for you, like my purple flowers. Then work up to larger goals, like that trip you have been dreaming about or a more fulfilling career.
Write down every aspect of manifesting that vision. Be as accurate as possible. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to create or experience?
Who will be involved?
If it is an object, what is its color? Shape? Size?
If it is an experience, what is the temperature? The quality of the light? What are you wearing?
And most importantly: How do you want to feel?
Manifesting something we desire takes a large amount of courage. We convince ourselves that we don’t deserve it, it’s selfish to ask, or that our dream is so large, it will never happen for us.
Often we are asking for things beyond our wildest imagination. It may require an evolutionary leap to creating something we had thought impossible. We must gather the courage to say, “I believe this will come to pass,” and even more, “I feel that I have the power to make this come to pass.”
We say we want to manifest something and then we slowly (or rapidly) lose our commitment to it in the day-to-day operations of our lives. We begin to settle for less than our vision because we are addicted to comfort and convenience. We stop working towards our goals.
Living congruently means that we align our lives in such a way so that we are swimming with the tide instead of against it. When you are in congruence, things seem to flow. There is an overwhelming sense of synchronicity. People, circumstances, and experiences seem to appear out of nowhere to support you along your journey.
Synchronicity is blocked by doubt and fear. If you are feeling anxious, doubtful, angry, inadequate, or any other negative emotion, it could indicate that you are incongruent in some way. This is an excellent time to examine the motives and desires behind your intentions, as well as any blocks.
Some examples of incongruence:
You say you want something you don’t want (obligation, societal or familial expectation).
You say you don’t want something you do want (lack of self-worth, conditioned pessimism).
You say you want something and you act in a way contrary to that desire or you sabotage yourself (lack of self-awareness).
Being congruent requires eliminating actions and behaviors that are not in alignment with our intentions and taking consistent action towards our goals. Setting an intention is not a passive practice. It’s not something you do and then sits back and wait to reap the benefits. You must be willing to act on opportunities that will move you closer to your goals.
One of the tools that help me is to break down my large ideas into smaller, actionable steps. Ideally, I can complete one or several of those steps each day. In the mornings, I write these down in a notebook designated for that purpose only. I draw a cute little box next to each task, so I can check it off when I’m done.
This practice serves the dual purpose of keeping me from becoming overwhelmed by the lofty goals I want to achieve and helping me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot at the end of each day.
For each goal, write down every action that comes to mind. If you start to feel anxiety when looking at a particular task, it might be a sign that you should break it down into even smaller, more comfortable pieces.
As you accomplish each small task, you may realize that other things need to be done.
Don’t become frustrated. This is a good sign. It means you are getting clearer and clearer about what you need to do to accomplish your goal.
We must learn to forgive ourselves for falling off our path. We must remember we are human and will struggle, especially in the beginning. If we take an action that is inconsistent with our way, we need to release the unhelpful urge to beat ourselves up.
This will only create an aversion to believing that we can manifest things in the future. Watch out for the rough inner voice that tells you “you will never get it right.”
Not every intention will manifest the first time fully around, and that is okay. If I had fallen into my critic when I did not find the purple flower right away, I would not be writing this now. Sometimes living our dreams requires perseverance, and determination only comes when we can be compassionate with our shortcomings.
Treat yourself like a child just learning a new skill. Set a clear intention about something you truly want, stay focused on your goal, and do your best. Then let it be okay if you fail, even multiple times. Love yourself through the whole process. And when you finally see your own version of the purple flower, enjoy the earned gift of a fulfilled intention.