#4: Intentions

Good morning, and Happy Sunday!  Today, we are going to talk about the power of intention.  So, I will start with a story.

My grandmother is 94 years old.  Her name is Elma, and my whole life I have called her Elmee, as she always told us she was too young to be a grandmother... and still is ;)  She lives about eight hours north of Los Angeles, and we talk on the phone every couple of weeks.  As a child, I remember thinking of her as the "proper" grandmother:  well-educated, a touch particular, and always very appropriate.  At 94, I see her a bit differently.  She is quite funny, rather straight-forward, pretty sassy (similar to my late Grandma Jackie!), and while she remains very socially appropriate, I get the real behind-the-scenes version of her thoughts, for which she has sworn me to secrecy!  She keeps very busy writing books (by hand!), reading, and playing classical piano for "all the little old people" (as she calls them) who live in the assisted living facility with her.  She told me a few months ago that her goal is to learn all 32 of Beethoven's sonatas... she only knows 17.  I told her to get to work.

Just before Easter, Elmee ended up in the hospital with sepsis... with a lactic acid of 8 (not good).  As it turns out, I'm not the only "go big or go home" type... maybe it's genetic!  ;)  I spoke with her the second day she was in the hospital, and she didn't sound amazing.  She didn't have the same high spirits and laughter that is so normal for her.  This was both concerning and unacceptable to me.  I asked her how she was feeling, and she said, "Oh, I don't feel so good.  I'm so tired and I just feel really depressed.  I hate being sick, and I'm just so tired."  Having been an ER nurse for a handful of years, I know that being 94 years old with a lactic acid of 8 and soft blood pressures, combined with negative emotions (however justifiable) simply does not paint a great picture for a successful outcome.  Elmee knows that I call things like I see them, and she loves it... so after allowing her to share her feelings (always important!) about her circumstances, this is what I said (don't judge, I knew it would be therapeutic for her!):  "Well, Elmee, I'm really sorry you're not feeling well, and I hope that you get better soon... but, I'm going to tell you what.  I told Stacey (my older sister) that you are a strong and tough lady and that you would be fine... and you know I don't like being wrong.  We have that in common.  So, don't make a liar out of me.  You need to focus on getting better.  When you're feeling frustrated and tired, shift your thoughts to positive things, to improving and wellness.  Positive thoughts only!"  She laughed and said, "Alright, dear, I'll do that, positive thoughts!"  She really meant it. 

On Easter Sunday, she had a CHF setback (they flooded her to reverse the sepsis; it happens, it's a balancing act), but after a couple of days, she was transferred to a rehab facility to get her energy back before returning home.  I have spoken with her a few times since then, and each time, she sounds better.  The last time we spoke (a couple of days ago), she had just met with the head chef of the rehab hospital to discuss reducing the large portion sizes and serving food that she likes (now there's the feisty Italian I know!).  She said the meeting was successful.  She told me she just wanted to go home and that she felt fine to go home, but the doctors wanted her to gain a bit more strength first.  She said, "So, I am watching what I eat and exercising.  How do you like that?!"  She laughed and then told me she was riding the stationary bike a lot and waiting to meet a new Physical Therapist that afternoon.  Before getting off the phone, I told her we were going to set intentions for ourselves.  I set one for myself (which has already come to fruition), and we set the intention that next time we spoke, she would be back at home.  She said, "I like that!"  I'm calling her in a few days... I'll let you know if she's home!

So, a few lessons here: 

1.  Elmee is 94.  She is exercising and eating right.  She is making her voice heard.  She is being positive, working hard, and setting intentions.  If she can do that at 94, so can you.

2.  The intention I set for myself manifested... not in the way I had hoped, but it did.  Next time, I will be more specific.  The point is, that when you set your mind to something and focus on it, and more importantly, truly believe it... it will happen.  If it doesn't, you can look back and figure out why (the answer is always there), then learn from it and try again.

3.  Look at what Elmee has in her life:  healthy food, exercise, music, writing, friends and family, community, religion (she's Catholic), education (she has two Master's degrees and continues to learn through her reading), goals, and intentions... a pretty well-rounded and full life, don't you think?  Although she is recovering from a rough illness, Elmee is thriving.  Do you see a pattern here?  Whole health?  Full, happy, and well.

I will leave you with that for today... let me know your thoughts!