I got an email from a former client the other day.
It has been a while since our professional relationship wrapped up and while I always really liked and admired her, there wasn’t a real reason to stay on top of our regular correspondence once life moved us along on different paths.
She reached out to say that since we last spoke she has been a regular reader of this space, popping in and out quietly as she navigated working motherhood with her first and then second baby boy, taking in various topics that stuck with her along the way. She felt compelled to send me a note after all this time to say hello and share her feedback and I thanked her so much for getting in touch, for taking the time to read, and apologized for my “sporadic” random posts and writing habits.
“Sporadic means you write when there’s something to say, not just to fill the space,” she replied.
I have been thinking long and hard about intention the past year or two. And I know a lot of you are as well. What it means to live a life with intention, especially when so much of it is anything but, by nature. Is it watching less TV and reading more? Eating farm-to-table and foregoing fast food forever? Promising to put down your phone the minute your kids walk in the door…every single time?
And then Kate’s comment got me thinking. Maybe living with intent has nothing to do with what you do do and everything to do with what you don’t do.
Leaving some spaces empty once in a while. Some moments untouched. Some days completely blank.
Maybe it’s less about the choices you make and put out into the world and more about the ones you make and keep for yourself.
Maybe living with intent means filling your space and your time with things that matter to you, and only you, regardless of how the Insta world defines it. Or, better yet, not trying to fill your world with anything beyond what feels good to you in that particular moment, at that particular time. And sometimes that’s a whole lot of absolutely nothing and that’s just perfect.
I think I was struggling with trying to chase this life filled with “intent” while I was actually already living it in my own personal way the whole time. I just needed to define it for myself.
Taking in more sunsets and more deep breaths. Listening to the world around me and not saying a word. Practicing kindness in ways big and small and looking for it in other people I meet along the way. Teaching my kids to do the same; not through words, but through actions. And when I feel like it, fast food. Or a ridiculous reality show. Leaving some spaces empty and some moments undocumented and some hours completely blank until they are ready to be filled.
Here’s to more of those. To living with empty intent.
Thanks for the note, Kate. And for spending some of your blank moments here with little old me.
*originally published in April 2017