Four years ago, I realized that I don't wanna go through life simply accepting the most common decision as the only option. I want my choices to be informed and deliberate. And so began a journey, a journey that has taught me a few lessons so far, a journey that has no end in sight because it is the journey itself that matters most anyway.
Know where you're heading
When I first started The Hippie Housewife, I included the tagline "...leaving the mainstream behind." It was, at the time, a very accurate description. I was walking away from the unquestioning path of just doing what was normal and expected.
Over time, though, I learned that walking away from something wasn't enough. You have to know where you're heading instead. Thus began a more focused leg of the journey. I dropped the tagline and began heading towards something: an intentional life. These past few years have been a journey intended to lead me towards a more intentional way of living.
There is only this moment
While having a purpose and direction is good, it is the moments themselves that matter. A life spent living from one moment to the next cannot co-exist with a life of past regrets or future worries. My journey towards a more intentional life has forced me to choose between the two, and I choose the former: I choose a life of presence and gratitude over regret and worry.
There is only this moment.
Every moment presents a choice.
Those choices shape our character.
I am in this moment and it is all I have. What can I do to bring peace in this moment? How can I fill this moment with joy - or find the joy already present in it? What can I do in this moment to live the life I desire to live, to be the person I desire to be?
Shape your habits
But living every moment with intention is exhausting, if not impossible. Being continually aware of what you are thinking and doing and saying is hard! Which has lead me to what I believe to be the foundation of an intentional life: habit.
"...whether you choose or no to take any trouble about the formation of habits, it is habit, all the same, which will govern ninety-nine one-hundredths of [one's] life. We are all mere creatures of habit. We think our accustomed thoughts, make our usual small talk, go through the trivial round, the common task, without any self-determining effort of will at all. If it were not so––if we had to think, to deliberate, about each operation of the bath or the table––life would not be worth having; the perpetually repeated effort of decision would wear us out. But, let us be thankful, life is not thus laborious. For a hundred times we act or think, it is not necessary to choose, to will, say, more than once.
Charlotte Mason, Volume 1: Home Education, page 110
Like it or not, our lives are governed by our habits. The habits that already exist in our lives are often the things that are most detrimental to living an intentional life. But if we intentionally create desired habits in our lives, we will have created sustainable change.
Habits are created through doing. Pick a new habit and just start doing it, consistently, until it's simply "what you do". Once the habit has become an easy part of your daily routine, move on to the next habit. In this way, you will have created intentional, sustainable change in your life, one habit at a time.
Continuing the journey
These are the lessons I have learned thus far: Have a purpose and work towards it through the development of intentional habits. But this is only one stretch of my journey. There is so much more to learn on this path towards a more intentional life. I look forward to those lessons, knowing they will come in their own way and at the right time. In the meantime, I will continue towards my destination, seeking to live in the moment through the deliberate creation of habits.
What have the past few years meant to you? Where has your journey taken you? What lessons have you learned along the way? I'd love for you to share a few words with us!