• Barbara Dickinson

Clarification of "I" is for Intention

Fellow Wish Makers:


We have recently received a comment from one of our dear readers asking for more about the connection between intention and transforming your to-do list into a wish list. In response, we offer the following expansion on the topic.


As we see it, wishes are intentions. They are the expression of what we want for a more fulfilling life. That is the very definition of intention! I intend to have this in my life, which is the realization of my heart’s desire. The feelings that come with the arrival of that in my life - and the feelings I hold while I am waiting for its arrival - are feelings of joy, satisfaction, wonder, love, and a host of other positive emotions.


A to-do list is also a list of intentions. I intend to accomplish the items I have listed here. The feelings that come with the accomplishment of each of these items - and the feelings I hold while I am in the midst of these accomplishments - are feelings of joy, sometimes relief, satisfaction, perhaps pride, wonder, sense of purpose, and a host of other positive emotions.


Can you see the same parallels we see between these two phenomena? But there’s more!


Just now, we talked about the feelings we hold while we wait. This is an important notion related to the concept of “How do I want to feel after…?” In our Focusing practice, we use this question to help us find inner wisdom when we are solving life’s problems. The more we are consistent in holding positive feelings, the healthier we are, the more productive we are, and the more accomplished we feel in our lives. For us, this is a fact, and this fact is why it made the most sense to us to take a look at the aspects of life that might best be described as “duty” and “drudgery” - the classic to-do list.


If it doesn’t feel good, we are all about transforming it in keeping with the principles of our wish practice. A to-do list is an itemization of intentions we have to get stuff done. We want the positive feelings that come each time we strike something off that list. It’s not too much of a leap from there to wishing those things are done. And from there, it’s almost no leap at all to transform each item on that list into a wish, even if all the wish says is, “I want this item to be over with, done, accomplished!”


But let’s take one further step to dig a little deeper into the intentions underlying each of those items. Take “preparing my income tax submission” as an example of a to-do list item. Duty? Or drudgery? Or a little bit of both, perhaps? The truth is income taxes have to be filed to be in compliance with some important “laws of the land.” We may not like it and we may not want to do it, but we definitely want the feeling of relief that comes when it’s done. Is it so hard, then, to expand upon that just a little and say we want the feeling of satisfaction that comes with performing successfully in our responsibility as citizens? There! That is the process of transformation from “drudgery” or “duty” to “wish."


We hope this helps clarify the point that intention is an integral part of both to-do lists and wish lists, and the further point that transforming your to-do list into a wish list is an important part of a more fulfilling and a more joyful life.


Until next time,

Margie and Barbara

The Wish Mavens