The Prepositions of Intention (a 5-step practice)


There is no bypass when it comes to living an engaged life. No bright red Staples “easy” button.

Sometimes it can be easy to think, looking from the outside-in, that someone else’s spiritual life is better, easier, more mature, or more “arrived”. But we are all always beginners. We all wake up each day unaware of what awaits us, and meet what comes either intentionally or not, toggling back and forth between conscious and unconscious responses. This is the human journey, and we walk it side by side.

The key, I have found, is in the practice of intentionality. We enjoy moments of awakening as we grow, suffer, love, make mistakes, and try again. It is in the meeting of life’s invitations– through challenges and surprises– that we have the opportunity to live into the wholeness that God desires for us.

Meeting these moments on the journey toward wholeness means engaging in a five-step process:

  • moving toward

  • entering into

  • remaining with

  • continuing through

  • growing beyond

Our conflicts, our intense (not “bad”) emotions, our reactions and mistakes, have much to teach us. It takes courage to notice what arises and choose to move toward it, rather than sweep it under the rug or avoid it. Entering into swirling emotional discomfort is not easy, but once we take that step we can ask our deepest selves, “What is here that I am afraid of?” and ask the feeling itself, “How can I be open to learning from you?”

We might find that our emotion only needs to be recognized and held, and that once we welcome and remain with it, it dissipates and leaves behind something of value. Then we are able to pick up this gift and continue through to the other side. Growing beyond our fear, anger, and sources of conflict allows us to be changed at a core level, and then to meet future challenges with a heart ever more open to transformation.

Christine Hiester