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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pause, Reflect, Recommit


Why commit one’s self to intentional aging? (Why commit one’s self to the discipline of intentionality?) Why “intentionality” and not something else?

How does practicing intentionality allow us to think and feel? What do we think and feel and do from the basis of intentionality?  Does intentionality function most optimally in balance with other capacities, other modes of consciousness? How does intentionality connect to critical reflection and mindfulness? How does intentionality connect to praxis?

(What other strong ideas might be nested with “intentional”: Critical? Contemplative? Reflective? Playful? Radical? Improvisational?)

How do we know we are “intentionally aging”? How would others know (and does it even matter if others know?)? Another way to ask this question: How do we know intentional aging when we see it?

To put the question yet another way: How does intentionality – and intentional aging -- feel from an embodied standpoint?

Is intentionality a characteristic? Is it a capacity? Is it a sensibility or a commitment that can be learned? Is intentionality an individual-level phenomenon – that is, does it reside mostly or exclusively within an individual’s consciousness?

And/or, perhaps is intentionality also a communal characteristic, capacity, sensibility, commitment?  How might we harness the power that comes from being a part of a web of inter-dependence in order to support each other in our intentionality, specifically in our intentional aging (which is, in actual fact, intentional living)?

And what are the potential limitations of intentionality? Of intentional aging? (And why is it important to inquire about limitations, as well as opportunities and openings?)

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

For me, intentionality is the difference between being Me ... and just playing the construct called Me in my own life.

It means being brave enough to get dirty, make mistakes, and even find the oddball and uncontrollable a bit delicious. It means being awake to the way things are, and knowing that can only know how things are for our own selves.

And, I think I am seeing intentionality when there are laugh lines in a face and a generosity of spirit.

It's not that there was a necessary set of circumstances or particular experiences along the way, it's that the intentionally aging human person took whatever was at hand and made something satisfying of it.

Paul said...

I like Stephanie's answer about intentionality being the difference between being Me . . . and playing the construct called Me.

So it's about being conscious of the world of choices available to us (despite the messages our culture gives us about aging) and having the courage to make choices that seem true to our true selves despite the lack of a clear road map as to where that will lead us.

Jenny's question about the collective aspects of intentionality are particularly fascinating. As more of us choose intentional aging, can we create a collective mindset, a tipping point if you will, that creates a new paradigm in our culture?

I believe (and hope for the sake of the world our grandchildren's grandchildren will inherit) the answer is YES.

Paul Severance, www.neweldercenter.com