The Strange Pull Of What You Really Love

One of the benefits of having taught yoga for so many years is that I can almost always pluck a poetic and highly applicable 13th century Rumi quote from the ethers when needed.

In thinking about this month’s theme––The Power of Intention, new meditation HERE––several spring to mind.

Perhaps most notably:

“Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.”

Rumi’s message is indeed quite inspiring––and I particularly like the acknowledgment that the pull might be “strange”––but I can’t help but wonder if he’s overlooking part of the situation.

Namely, sometimes following our passions can take us into some very uncharted territories.

Indeed, as I shared in last week’s newsletter, Vlad experienced that himself when, mere hours after learning to swim, he was inspired to “rescue” his friend in the middle of the lake.

Another kind of risk, however, applies more directly to those of us still on dry land:

The dangers (and joys) of sharing our intentions.

There are two distinct schools of thought about the matter.

One says that publicly proclaiming your intention––whether that’s finally finishing your screenplay or becoming Salesperson of the Year––is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards accomplishing it.

There’s some solid reasoning behind this strategy.

First, “going public” often means transcending a self-imposed layer of resistance you might have towards your goal.

Trapped in old self-definitions, people are often surprisingly hesitant to declare themselves in a new way. 

Interestingly, I’ve sometimes coached newer writers who have a harder time telling people they’re writing than they do with the actual writing itself.

Ironically, they might be taking one piece of the classic writing advice––Show, Don’t Tell––a little too far.

More importantly, sharing your intention creates Accountabilitywith a capital A, something that can be highly motivational and terrifying.

Close to 100% of my various coaching clients have at one point or another said some variation of “I waited until the last minute but since I knew we were meeting today, I finally _______.”

Indeed, issuing a bold public declaration of intent is like climbing up to the high diving board.

Once you’re standing on it, fully exposed to the crowd and 75 feet above the ground, it’s hard not to feel that changing your mind and climbing back down the ladder is anything less than a great embarrassment, a public failure.

And, on the other hand, there are some mystical heavy-hitters who believe that it’s wiser, even necessary to keep your intentions private.

In his classic self-help book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill proclaims:

“Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it. 
This is the equivalent of saying that ‘deeds, and not words,
are what count most.’”

In other words, talking about your goals can give you a false sense of accomplishment, reducing your drive to actually achieve them.

Keep things inwards is thus a way to avoid Premature Satisfaction.

In a similar way, for centuries mystics have often taught that sharing one’s intentions can disperse the energy needed to manifest them on energetic and practical levels.

Rather than scattering it through idle chatter, in other words, one needs to conserve psychic force and target it towards action.

Or, as another coach of mine once said, through self-containment, you want to create a kind of pressure cooker effect, one where intentions simply have to burst forth into manifestation.

Most interestingly, perhaps, is that one of the strongest reasons for sharing your intentions is also one of the strongest for not doing so.

It all boils down to the inarguable fact that human beings are a tricky audience. 

On the positive side, support can be truly invaluable.

Besides the practical advantages of networking and knowledge, on an emotional level it’s often the most vital element that keeps us committed to our journey over the long haul.

On the negative side, however, the doubts, criticisms, and even outright negative energy from other people can undermine anyone’s confidence and motivation.

I wonder just how many works of genius have been shot down by friends and relatives with the most heartfelt good intentions.

In fact, I know of two individuals––one a creative artist, the other someone who wanted to enlist in the Navy SEALS right at the cut-off age limit––whose families more or less scheduled ambush-level career interventions.

In both cases, each person held to their own vision, ones their relatives were strongly discouraging, going on to remarkable success in their respective arenas.

Although others tried to lead them astray, neither has ever regretted being led by that “strange pull” of what they really loved.

When it comes to sharing our intentions, knowing that other people can both elevate us and knock us to the ground creates a tremendous, never-ending challenge.

I’ve often shared that every morning on the baseball field, Vlad––in a method known only to him––goes around to pretty much each human, offering them a chance to play fetch.

In the same way I pride myself on being a good host, he adheres to some kind of Puppy Etiquette––one I certainly never taught him––whereby he makes sure everyone gets a turn.

I’d say that 90% of the time, the human delightedly fulfills their part of the exchange, tossing or kicking the ball into the outfield.

Occasionally though, someone might be distracted by a phone call or a text-storm, or rarer still, just not interested in fetch with a dog who is not their own.

Once another dog owner actually apologized to me, saying that she didn’t want to get her new sneakers dirty.

(We can only pray that her other fashion/lifestyle choices are better thought out than that morning’s poor decision.)

In any case, in these rare moments Vlad––having clearly declared his intention by dropping the ball directly in front of them, even reinforcing the offer with a yelp if left waiting––is unfazed.

His passion completely untarnished and entirely undiminished by the encounter, he simply moves on to the next candidate.

That’s the level of commitment I aspire to, one where the Power of Intention is so strong it’s unshakeable.

Like Vlad, I want to live in a world where the joy of playing the game is so great it moves everything else into the blurry background. 

Indeed, it’s a world of such complete commitment and confidence that one’s intention will be met, that––with just the rarest and most minor of delays––it always is.

Namaste for Now,

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