Non-Intention In A Tense World

Beautiful and Copperhead-filled. The property we returned to after a year and a half away.

Right now I’m working part-time from home, hoping it will become fulltime. And I’m enjoying spending time with friends in Georgia I haven’t seen in a year and a half and who I might not see for all of 2022. I am writing screenplays that may not sell. I’m doing an internship that I dream of seeing develop into more but it may not. Everywhere I turn, I am having fun but unsure what the future holds.

And right into that mix I found this quote about non-intention —

‘We are more likely to appreciate chance if we stop trying to control what happens, and one way to do that is to cultivate non-intention. To do it totally is to realize how fully the world is already happening inside us and around us, as if by magic.’

It’s from the extraordinary book Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde. 

It’s an interesting idea because a lot of my life right now is about hard work and intention. I have three big goals for the summer, as well as an Ambitious Goal for the next two years, ten New Year’s goals and so on. 

I have currently given up news, streaming services, TV, most games, 90% of the items I once owned, and my steady retail job — all for the idea of intention and dreams.

I’ve always liked the saying, ‘100% intention, 0% expectation.’ Meaning you can put in all you can do toward a task of situation, but you shouldn’t expect a certain outcome from the world. I like being intentional, about life and about goals. But here and now, I come to a place that calls out for a powerful kind of non-intention.

Perhaps we should call it trust, but trust still seems to suggest a desired outcome, a finger on the scale of hope. Here I find myself far beyond it, and into a world where I have no idea what will happen next.

A fig tree in a pot, left on its own for 20 years, has rooted and now begins to fruit.

I still have plans, dream, even fantasies, but I am trying to be completely unattached to the outcome. I am doing my best, and trusting in the world’s best.

It is almost a walking blind, this trying to both be involved in a moment — with a friend, a screenplay, or a property beset with some uncomfortably close copperheads encounters –and just standing there, loving that moment, that sentence, this green morning, all without trying to capture, force, or control the experience.

I want — long, desire, hope, dream, and work toward — an amazing future. But I am also in an amazing now. The beauty of an unforced world is hard to describe. When we stop pushing so hard, we start to feel the pull of all life, ushering us toward a grander and greater story than what we often haphazardly construct in the amber light of fear. Instead, this is faith as mastercraft.

Days are more beautiful, adventures more glorious and more parilous, love more shaded and more dear — all things mean more in a world of their own choosing. I used to long for certainty but now I long for the beauty of an unknown moment — and it’s transcendent outcome.

And so I’ll keep showing up, to love and work and hope and live. I keep trying to show up as my best self. But it this moment, I’ll also try to stand somewhat apart from the outcome, to allow the magic to seep into seconds and flow through my veins. And to allow chance and fate to stretch their transformative reach out a little further than human fingers can ever touch and draw their unique viewpoints’ down to the dirt, and to my days.

A random Georgia sunset in a beautiful life.

Published by katherinecerulean

Novelist, founder of The Athens Writers Association, and enthusiast of all things awesome and magical. Need my help with ANYTHING? Just ask!

One thought on “Non-Intention In A Tense World

  1. To dare for “the beauty of an unknown moment” without our “finger on the scale of hope.” It sounds impossible, reckless even, but undeniably compelling. Thanks for giving me something beautiful to ponder.

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