The Concept of Intentional Living

February 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM | Posted in Psychological Wellness | Leave a comment

I have not posted anything new in a long time. The time I have devoted to my blog has been spent editing older posts. I am trying to whittle down my ranting and “extras” so that the remaining content is of higher value to the reader. It is an on-going process.

I recently have had the pleasure of meeting new people who have changed my life in a big way. One of these persons was a particularly entrancing young woman who introduced me to the term “intentional living.” It was one of those rare moments in life where you realize the validation of a life-long philosophy. I’ll give a humorous analogy.

In the business of engineering, I often edit technical documents that have lots of big words. Even I don’t know what they mean because most of them are the brainchild of the author. Another thing the author might do is to try to sound impressive and smart to his or her audience by doing things like using “utilize” in place of “use.” This sort of thing drives me nuts – especially since those two words actually have different meanings. In my free time one day I was thumbing through a technical writing handbook (yes, I know…my free time). I ran across “affectation.” From Google: behavior, speech, or writing that is artificial and designed to impress. For years this practice had annoyed the shit out of me as an editor. Finally, I had a simple, concise way of referring to it: affectation! Stop that affectation in your writing!

So this was a very similar experience. A while back I wrote a post on the concept of presence. I think that the idea of presence is akin to the idea of intentional living. Intentional living is taking things a step further. If you are present, you are aware of your surroundings as they currently exist – you aren’t distracted by some immaterial thing or some thought that is preventing you from focusing on the now. Intentional living is taking the next step – taking charge of your life. If you live intentionally, you are consciously making choices. It seems very simple in concept, and it is. However, very few people practice it. It might seem odd at first but the proof is all around you. I’m sure that you can think of someone who appears to be simply “drifting through life.” Some people really do drift through life. Their lives are completely subject to the whims of another person or the company they work for or something like that.

My blog has been sort of an “extension” of my life, if you will. The posts I have done over the course of the blog’s existence have reflected a lot of my philosophy about life and the things that I was going through at the time. I think that this is simply the result of any writing – no writing, as they say, is innocent of the author’s intent. But without knowing the formal term for the philosophy that has driven my life for over a decade, I was unable to concisely, clearly convey my meaning to others. The term “intentional living” captures everything neatly and succinctly. Therefore, I have updated the name of my blog to reflect that. And my sincerest thanks go out to the wonderful people of the Pacific Northwest, and especially to the aforementioned young woman – not only for introducing me to the term and the lifestyle, but for being the community for which I spent my youth searching, and for accepting me into that community.

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