I’ve been thinking about how to enrich my life in simple ways.
Yes, I’m the kind of person who keeps lists, reads self-help books as needed, and generally considers what kind of person I am and if I’m living my life well enough (for my own personal standard).
I’ve started with simple things, like learning something new each day. I installed an art history and education app on my phone. I’ve looked into taking lessons on various hobbies that I find interesting. I’ve committed to learning new recipes each month. I’ve started doing yoga at home instead of just a weekly class. I even wrote an article recently about a morning meditation.
But it occurred to me that I could be doing more to enhance the life I lead.
I want to be more mindful, more joyful, and to make each day count. Even on the tough days when my hair is a hot mess, my children are behaving outrageously, my boyfriend is grouchy, and I can’t get a moment’s peace and quiet, I still want to be fully present in my own life.
That’s when I realized that a morning meditation for peace just isn’t enough. What I really need is to bookend my days with positive intention.
We can start the morning with positive thoughts and intentions, utilizing the softness of each morning to ease into what we want for our lives. We can end the day in the same way. We can create a practice for positive intention each evening.
As we prepare for bed, we can remember to express gratitude to the universe or a deity (God, or Allah, or Goddess) for all of our many blessings—or just the fact that we’re alive another day. We can shower and cleanse ourselves with love and body positive self-talk. We can slip into our beds and breathe deeply while we focus on what we want for our lives. We can visualize all that we dream of actually coming true. We can use this quiet time at the end of the day to remember all we have to be grateful for, how far we’ve come, and what we truly want out of our lives—not just for the future, but for each day that we live.
We can bookend our days with positive, loving thoughts and intentions for ourselves and others. If we need to forgive, we can lean into that each morning and night. If we need to let go, we can bookend our days with that intention. If we need to make a change, we can focus on that at least twice daily. If we have a big dream, we can focus on that. If we’re looking for love or freedom or travel, we can work on that, too.
Whatever it is we need, we can take a few minutes each morning and evening to clarify those intentions and to visualize them. We can make our intention practice the thing that sets the tone for each day and serves as a gentle reminder of who we are and what we need.
I feel that if we practice this sort of intention daily, as a ritual, it might make it harder for anyone else to convince us that we lack worth or that our dreams are impossible.
Simply by nurturing ourselves, we can become stronger, more resilient, more in touch with our own intuition, and hopefully more compassionate to others as well. It’s amazing what positive self-talk and focusing our intentions can do to elevate our mood and help motivate us to take the small steps needed to reach the big goals we have in mind. I’ve been thinking that truly big goals need more than just a once-a-day thought while we’re waiting for a coffee infusion.
I like the idea of our intentions being on our minds first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. We can visualize the kind of lives we want to lead while still being absolutely, completely grateful for the lives we have right now.
I can only think that this bookend ritual is just the ticket to enriching our lives in the simplest of ways. Just positive thoughts for a few minutes at a time, morning and night.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Ben White/Unsplash
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Travis May