On Purpose

Musings about intention, energy, and direction

Few things hurt quite so much as realizing that a hurt or harm was perpetrated “on purpose.” We forgive accidental inflictions far more easily than those delivered knowingly, intentionally. With good reason. (I’m sure the Bible addresses the topic, though my education is lacking in that respect, so I can’t point to where or what it says.)

Kids rapidly figure it out, too. Indignation is high in a child who complains that “so-and-so hit me! And he did it ON PURPOSE!”

It’s one thing to be wounded. It’s quite another to know the person wanted to wound.

But intentions are murky, aren’t they? It’s not always clear what another person intended. Could it be carelessness? obliviousness? ignorance? Hard to say, and excuses come easily to some. “I didn’t mean to!”

Two things:

  • Presuming positive intent. This is a concept I first came across in my leadership courses. It is an orientation by which you presume (until proven otherwise) that those you interact with — be it an employee, coworker or supervisor — make decisions and act out of good intent, even if the results you observe or experience are far from good. Presuming positive intent is the opposite of presuming ill intent. The outcome may not be good, but that does not mean the person meant to create a bad outcome.

  • Presuming intent based on evidence of outcome (especially in a pattern of conduct). A person who repeatedly acts in a way that produces a certain outcome can be seen as intending to cause that outcome. They may deny intent but the repetition of the action is evidence of it. Otherwise, they would take a different action, change course, cease and desist. This is not “the ends justifies the means” but rather “the ends betray intent.”

These are complex philosophical questions. I’m not about to attempt to unpack them; I’m merely musing and picking at threads.

This weekend, husband and I spent a not insignificant amount of time indirectly exploring the topic.

Intention has also come up in other ways — from my efforts at focusing my mindset, to my interactions at home and to the online messages, posts, and comments that catch my attention.

Earlier this year, I learned of the Schumann resonances via this feed on Twitter and these stunning images. I commented that I would love to know more about them, and Susan Inspired suggested I start with her beginner’s playlist.

Susan’s energy readings will not be for everyone. They are somewhat like tarot readings: a little woo, but plausible and general all at the same time. They usually conclude with insights of some kind and musings on how to live and interact with others. What I find fascinating is that this chart is a visible rendering of the invisible yet measured energy that envelopes us and the planet. It makes the invisible visible in interesting ways.

To loosely summarize, we are swimming in energy, and we give off our own harmonizing energy. The Hertz range of the Schumann matches that of human brainwaves, stretching from an unconscious to highly aware consciousness. Here’s an explanation of how they align. As that author states:

“The Schumann resonance is a tuning fork for life, it acts as a background frequency influencing the biological circuitry of the mammalian brain.”

As Susan points out in most of her videos, given that our brainwaves occupy the same range of frequencies, it is entirely possible that we — collectively, all nearly 8 billion of us — have an effect on the Schumann resonance. If so, these charts might in fact give us insight into the collective human experience during a given period.

In her video “The Zero Point Solution for Your Political Aggravation,” Susan talks about how putting energy into one side of a duality empowers and gives energy to the other side. She proposes that a zero point perspective is the way to “recover sanity and live together in wholeness.” Zero point is a centered state, a place of stillness within, found through prayer or meditation, and a connection with the soul, the higher good, God.

A duality needs two opposing parts. From a zero-point perspective, we shift away from focusing on difference, which is a projection of our own personal pain, to wholeness — and healing the pain.

See what I mean? It’s a little bit woo.

Regardless, from these ideas, I have come to reconsider some of the ways I have been engaging with the world. It won’t be news to most of you reading that I am deeply upset by world events, and that I feel an urgent need to resist, to speak up, to do something to stop the evil forces herding us to our impending doom. I spend far too much time scrolling through Twitter and reading about terrible events.

It’s a tricky thing, but what I have experienced is that by putting my energy into reading and watching and retweeting the terribly egregious wrongs and evildoings, I have merely become more miserable and scared. I have not produced a change for the better — not by influencing opinions or helping people to see the danger; not by persuading the government or health officials to do anything differently. What I have done is create for myself (and by extension for my family) a state of constant dread, fear and alarm. It’s not fear of dying from a virus. It’s worse. And it threatens to become all-consuming. I may believe I’m fighting the good fight, but from an energy and duality perspective, I have been feeding the beast.

Husband and I spent this weekend at our duplex, which we listed for sale in December when we were hoping to buy the fairy tale property in New Brunswick I’ve written about previously. The quick sale we expected didn’t happen. The New Brunswick property sold. I’ve licked my wounds.

Selling the duplex is still the first step in whatever adventure we embark on next. It’s a decision that comes with a certain amount of heartache, as well. When we met, husband had just undertaken to gut the place and fully renovate it. He hired workers to do much of it, but we too poured our sweat into creating this charming, beautiful home, and only lived there together for a couple of years. We took so much pride in it, in our choice of fixtures and furnishings, the beautiful warm home we were creating.

After 12 hard years as a rental apartment, it’s worse for the wear. We were disappointed and angry to see the true condition of the place. The butcher block counter is ruined; there are splatters of dirt and grime on the walls and ceilings, cobwebs everywhere, multiple holes in all the walls, and astonishing accumulations of parrot feathers and poop behind the radiators and under the floor grates. The original red pine flooring we sanded, stained and varnished, has been badly abused in several places. We keep asking ourselves “How could someone live like this?”

We’ve undertaken to freshen it up with a cleaning and a coat of paint. We’ve replaced light bulbs and light switches, and will soon clear the snow and garbage off the back deck. It means spending time in reflection working on our old home.

A couple of thoughts came from this.

The first is this idea that keeps bubbling to the surface that the tenant left a mess on purpose in retaliation for being asked/made to move out. On the deck, there was a cast iron pot full of meat stew. (Sure, the temperature last weekend was below freezing, but temperatures will be up to 15 C this week. Nice way to create a putrid time bomb.) The electric lawnmower (which belongs to us) is buried under a couple of feet of snow at the far end of the backyard, as is a propane tank. Was this passive-aggressive retaliation? We’ll never know, and it doesn’t matter.

I navigated the apartment swinging back and forth between resentment and acceptance. The task at hand was to patch the holes and paint the walls, and I focused my energy and effort on that. Moving about the house came naturally. It feels, still, like home, and I will be sad to see it go. My memories of taking pride in our beautiful apartment contrasted with the current state of neglect — was it ignorance, disrespect, or simply that this tenant never learned to take care of things? It doesn’t matter.

I negotiated that line of energy all weekend, trying not to sink into resentment and to concentrate instead on lovingly making the space shine.

I barely looked at social media. I barely thought about terrible world events. I went with purpose from hole to hole and room to room, from one taped edge to another, dunking the roller again and again, squinting at the coverage, trying not to drip. I remembered inhabiting these rooms, and the joy I got from living there. I noted the damage and the wear with dismay, commented on it aloud from time to time, and tried as much as possible to let the fact of it drift away, off of me.

Perhaps my feelings arose from seeing the difference between my recollection and reality, as if my memories had been tarnished. But that isn’t the case. In one sense, seeing it this way will make it easier to let go when the duplex finally sells. I don’t mean to give the impression that I am reluctant to sell it; I’m not. I believe it’s the key to our next chapter. Rather, I’m sentimental about the places and things marked by history and family stories. This is the place where husband and I started off. We chose and decided everything in it, and I felt I was living a charmed life for the short time we were there.

This weekend, I worked hard — on purpose and towards a purpose — and I put the whole of my energy, aligned to the highest good, into it. By Sunday evening, I was tired — physically. Mentally and emotionally, I felt renewed and at peace.

We have reclaimed a space that had been occupied by negativity and aggravation. I also reclaimed a peace of mind, and found calm in purposeful action. Rather than taking a position of opposition within a duality, perhaps I found a way to reach a zero point of sorts, to unify past and present, to prepare a path for the future, and importantly, to stop (if only momentarily) feeding the beast with my own energy.

Our direction isn’t clear, not yet, though we aren’t without ideas and dreams and goals. I’m thinking that by directing my energy, consciously and with determination, toward a centered, zero-point state, we will be that much closer to figuring out what the right direction is, and to taking it.