Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
What you have been saying about intent reminds me of a sculpture I saw in the Hirison Museum sculpture garden in Washington D.C. It depicts a man trapped between two doors. Part of him is out and part of him is in- as if part of him is in the future and part of him trapped in the past. His form appears different on both sides. I realize that unless I make a choice (intent) to either walk through to the future or stay behind in the past, I can’t find my happiness, I will be torn between two worlds. I must choose only one. What happens to the individuals who have not defined their futures? How do they define their intent? What happens if a person has no intent?
Intent is your vision. Intent is the answer to the question: what kind of person do you want to become? It is how you wish to be remembered; it is how you affect others. At a marriage or funeral, the Quakers perform a rite called Witnessing. Each member of the congregation stands up and states how the individual who is getting married, or whom has passed away, has affected them. This speaks to who that individual was as a person. This is intent- you ARE how you affected others.
Intent is synonymous with common sense if you live an intentional life. If you could look at yourself 20 years from now and essentially live your life backwards, it would be easy to see what you needed to do, learn, and whom you had to be with in order to become that future self. The past contains only one’s current tools. Our past is our past. It can also be our present and our future, but that would mean that we did not learn or grow. The world of our past was shaped by everybody and everything else. For the most part it is irrelevant to our potential for the future. We are all born into a story, one that we did not write but was written long before we got here. You must realize this story is not your own, you are capable of writing your own story; then you must claiming it, and live it. You begin with the ending (intent) and work backwards. Your life is like MapQuest. In order to get directions, you need to enter a destination AND a starting point. Your intent is your destination; your past is your starting point. Follow the directions and you will get there. It’s common sense.
-Dr. Brilliant Cliché
But Dr. Brilliant,
Is it not your past, and what you know, that shapes you? Either you change it or you continue to live with it. My past, despite being what some might call “mean”, is a comfort to me. I have made myself strong, independent and not reliant on any man. It is friends that are most important to me. I look for stability within my friends because when I grew up there was no stability within my family. However, I tend to pry into people and get overwhelmed with their issues. I am dependent on others for my emotional comfort. I try to understand other people’s backgrounds to determine whether I can relate to them. This is also how I understand myself. Isn’t this valid?
This is an example of what I call “living the past as the present”. It’s a surefire way to insure that the future is just more of the past. Your life’s timeline is lacking intent. You don’t have a destination, only a starting point. There is no future self only past and present. You are still looking for grounding in others rather than in yourself. Yes, perhaps you have succeeded on some levels, and you feel independent; yet at the same time you have literally built your castle on sand. I call this phenomenon “the half assed rebel”. The Half Assed Rebel seems to go his/or her own path, and makes their own independent decisions, yet there is no personal certainty that these things are right.. The Half Assed Rebel is always looking for approval/validation or acceptance from others. They do not want to be rejected by their families/friends or to disappoint them, but they want to do it their own way. Fear and anxiety typify such a person. They make decisions, but the results never materialize. Their feet are in both doors- need for acceptance, desire for independence. The problem with this scenario is that such a person’s family or friends have not the skills to validate them and the person requires that validation to continue. Thus the Half Assed Rebel tends to travel in no direction, just around and around in a circle.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Dear Dr Brilliant Cliché,
Why do you refer to me as a half assed rebel?
Free will is defined by the first act of defiance:
Breaking the cycle of the past is the first act of defiance. It is against this redundancy that you should rebel.
-Dr. Brilliant Cliché