Intention is such an important and often overlooked factor. When we make a choice about anything, how often do we really think "what's my intention"? It's a question I try to ponder frequently. A major intention of mine is to spread as much peace, health and happiness as I can through what I do and who I am. Of course, I am not always peaceful, healthy an happy - I'm only human and sometimes my intentions aren't good. But I try to live with kindness not only for other people, but also for myself. I have learned through experience that the more good things I do and put out in the world, the more of it that comes back to me. I really do believe that! The same can be said for doing and saying bad things - it attracts more of it to your life.
Another question I have been asking myself recently is whether I am basing my conversations and decisions in love or fear. When I have a disagreement with someone and realize they were right and I was wrong - do I get mad and stop talking to them? Or do I allow my old beliefs to fall away so that I can learn something new? There is a choice here, and the first one is usually based in fear. Someone wise once said "we have to live today by what truth we can get today, and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood." I don't disagree with them.
There is an entire world out there that we are barely scratching the surface of. It's easy to think sometimes that we have it all figured out, but that just can't be true. We are, as a whole, constantly learning new information. There was a time when people didn't know that smoking was bad for you, there was a time when everyone thought the Earth was flat. We've been learning all throughout history and with what the world currently looks like, I don't think we've quite figured it all out yet. Humanity is not always the nicest thing to look at. I like to think that one day we will finally figure it all out and live in (mostly) peace on Earth together. If we're ever going to get there, we need to learn how to be compassionate and kind towards others, even when we don't agree with them.
All of us are just here learning how to live the best we can with the information and tools we've been provided with. It's very easy to get caught up in the desire to be right. In this desire to be right, we've gotten very good at trying to make other people wrong. Just look at any person's social media newsfeed, there will be at least a few outspoken people with negative comments who have this desire to be right. There's nothing wrong with healthy debate, it's when the intention is to be right rather than simply share and learn that it starts to become an unhealthy debate. Which usually just turns in to personally attacking and putting other people down. It's something that's in all of us though, this desire to be right. How many people like being told that they're wrong? Who even likes telling other people that they're wrong? I don't really like either of those things. But it's necessary sometimes, if you want to grow as a person. I have a few amazing people in my life who will tell me when I'm wrong when I need to hear it. And although I may not always like it at the time, I appreciate it after because it helps me realize where I can improve. It still comes back to intention - am I telling someone they're wrong to help them improve, or to make myself right? I want to be right, but I also want to be continually growing and evolving as a person and for me I don't feel the desire to be right is helpful. Wanting to be right can also be looked at as a fear of being wrong and it can stunt our personal growth. If we are so caught up in our fear of being wrong that we don't listen to what another person is saying, we miss out on learning something new. So we remain stagnant instead of taking the opportunity to grow.
But what does it look like when we make our decisions based on love instead of fear? When I come home at the end of the day, my pets are waiting to greet me. I usually crouch down to hang out with them for awhile, just to enjoy their presence. That decision is purely based in love. Those are always some of the most beautiful moments of my day. But life isn't always cuddling with dogs of course. Not all decisions are easy to make based out of love. and sometimes we can base or decisions on both fear and love. Like vaccinations - they can be looked at two ways, from a point of love or fear.
1. I want to vaccinate my child because I love them and want them to be healthy, or I want to vaccinate my child because I'm scared Jimmy Kimmel will call me stupid on TV and I don't want my neighbours to judge me.
2. I don't want to vaccinate my child because I love them and want them to be healthy, or I don't vaccinate my child because I'm scared my 'new age' friends will judge me.
That is a very difficult call and one I am happy I haven't had to make yet, but it's also one that I don't understand all the controversy around. If we are upset with other people for vaccinating their children or not, perhaps we need to stop and ask ourselves why. Whatever choice we have made for our child should protect them from anything that can hurt them shouldn't it? So what does it matter what other people decide? We're all just doing the best we can and no matter what stance you take on the subject of vaccinations, you will find studies and articles to back you up. So, we are free to make a personal choice about this. No matter what you do to feel that your child is safe and healthy, I support you. If your intention was to protect your child then you are a great parent doing the best you can with the information and tools that you have.
I know this is a very sensitive subject because it involves the safety of children. It is the subject of much controversy, a very easy to pick out issue as an example of how divided we are becoming, and how afraid. There's a reason that you stay away from a protective mama bear in the wild. Mama humans are equally protective, but in a different way. My mom always tells me that there's no other love than that you have of your child - I believe it. As a non-mother, I can still get caught up in fear of what's happening in our world today. As a parent, you have to think not only about your own safety but about your children as well. I can see why it's a touchy subject and so controversial. There are many topics similar to this in the controversy they spark: chemicals, war, oil, pipelines, presidential debates, religious points of view. We seem to argue about a lot of things.
We have so many things in our world that can make us fear for the safety of ourselves and our children - if we have them. What kind of food should we eat? Should we use essential oils or pharmaceuticals? What about anti-bacterial soap, is it good or bad? Is my toothpaste going to kill me? Do all apples have a coating of wax on them? Is this going to give me cancer? Is that going to give me cancer? FEAR! It is all so much more simple than we think. Especially when it comes to food - just eat food that makes you feel good and gives you energy! After all, it's your body. And when you think of the wax coating on apples the intention is equally as important as the apple. If you think that apple is going to give you cancer then it just might. But if you eat it thinking about how delicious it is and leave it at that, what you're doing is taking away the fear. Apples are delicious so if you're going to eat one at least enjoy it! It's crazy that we've gotten to a place in our history where it's plausible to think eating an apple could give you cancer though. It's a huge sign that we are making way too many decisions based on fear - come on, it's an apple! But some of this fear is justified. There really are things that happen to our produce that we aren't made very aware of. The spray in the grocery stores - I used to think it was just water, but there is a lot more to it than that. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but some things just can't be ignored. To learn more about what happens to our produce after it's harvested click here - or not. It is another thing to be afraid of.
Some fear is justified. But we need to be reasonable about our fears, and compassionate towards others at the same time. One person's fear of a waxed apple might make another roll their eyes and laugh. It's okay to be wary of wax on apples if you want, and it's also okay not to be. Every decision another person makes, so long as they are not harming another, is simply that - one person's decision. What's the big deal? It circles back around to our innate desire to be right. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in ourselves and our knowledge, we can't all just be agreeable all the time. There's also nothing wrong with a healthy debate and an exchange of differing opinions. That is also part of how we grow and evolve as humans, by learning from the experience and wisdom of other people and by being challenged sometimes to alter our views. What's wrong is when disrespect comes in to play in these situations. We should all be allowed to have different opinions, we all have different experiences and different ways of looking at things. It's all part of the beautiful experience of being human.
Most things in my life eventually circle back around to finding balance, which is what I've found through writing this blog. It's okay to be fearful sometimes - some fear is justified. If you're being chased by a lion, your fear is justified. It will likely give you adrenaline to help you through the situation so in that case fear is healthy. You're probably not turning around to hug that lion and that's okay. But if you're scared that eating one apple is going to kill you, perhaps your fear is getting the best of you. None of us are perfect, I know I've eaten a waxed apple before. If our bodies are healthy, they can handle a waxed apple every now and then. There are likely even people, alive right now, who eat them every day. We are all simply doing the best we can to navigate through this crazy experience called life. When we choose love, the experience gets a whole lot nicer.
What's my intention?
Am I making my decisions based on love or fear?
Try choosing love as often as you can!
**Note: Wax on apples - it is actually a real thing, and it's usually petroleum (oil) based. All conventionally grown apples have this wax coating, and some organic do as well although their wax is required to come from natural sources like bees. My advice - plant some apple trees! You'll get to enjoy home grown apples for a season and your bank account, your taste buds and your body will thank you!