In conversations with others, I often find myself talking about two opposite states. On one end, there is the feeling of potential realized, and on the other end is that feeling I often describe as smallness or lack. The terms “smallness” and “lack” have always felt — well, small — and I have been looking for a better descriptor. Yesterday I found it. I was listening to Laura Day speak at the online Embodiment Conference, and she used the word “impoverished.” I felt it land and knew this was the word I had been looking for to describe this debilitating state of being.
I see “impoverished” not as a lack of monetary wealth, but as a state of deep personal vacancy. A life that is not fully realized and could stand a serious upgrade in its occupancy rate.
So here is my question: Why do we choose to live impoverished lives? When we hear ourselves say we want everything to change, and we simultaneously hold the idea that we don’t want too much to change, we set ourselves up for no change. Perhaps we live impoverished lives when we are just not willing to take big enough bites.
When our bites are small, we don’t get the flavour explosion. Women especially are taught to believe that we cannot choose the big bites and, when that happens, we don’t get to enjoy the living abundance that is up for grabs.
When the intentions we hold for ourselves amount to small bites, we lose interest in doing what it takes to make them our reality. Setting our intentions for ourselves too low results in losing track, getting distracted, and the deadliest of all — getting bored. Small bites just don’t keep our attention, and they lead to minimal results.
When we find the courage to imagine our wild potential and create wonderfully big intentions for ourselves, we start to get interested. The bigger the intention, the bigger the possibility of getting hooked. When we get hooked, we get results.
To illustrate what I mean by holding big or high intentions, let me give you an example:
If you have a sense of feeling too busy and time-crunched, you may find yourself setting an intention to create more time for yourself. In response to your intention, you may try a few new strategies like setting your alarm for 30 minutes before you need to get up so you can have some time to yourself in the morning, or deciding that Sunday afternoons are all yours, no matter what. After a great first week of enjoying your extra time, you may find yourself hitting the snooze button (twice) each morning and letting your alone time on Sundays slip when the needs of others arise. The result is you back in the same place of craving more time.
If instead of focusing on the small bite of wanting more time to yourself, you explored what you really want, you may find your intention growing. If it starts with an intention to create more time for yourself and you reach for a higher intention, you may discover that you would actually like to create a life with more flow. If you then take some time to reach even higher, you may discover that what you truly want is a life of boundless expansion. This is your big bite.
Holding an intention for a life of boundless expansion means you will start to see yourself differently. You may see yourself in a new location, in a new career or with new people. This will create the space you need to start making different choices. Those new choices will inevitably lead to a new set of beliefs about yourself and your world. Those new beliefs will trickle down and allow you to easily and without effort create new strategies that stick. Suddenly, you will find you have all the time you need to create exactly the life you desire. The trickle down from the big bite is what makes it work. It works because it never gets boring. It works because you take ownership for your biggest desires – and in doing so reclaim yourself.
When our intentions are massive and make us quiver in our boots and salivate with excitement, then we have something worth investing in. Taking bigger bites creates the fuel for discovery, and it activates us in ways that culture — with all of it’s empty promises — never could.
What are you hungry for? What is the highest intention you can hold for yourself in this moment? Name it, and then take it one level higher. Sit with that and see if there is room to take it one level higher still. Keep naming higher and higher intentions for yourself until you know you’ve maximized the intention. After you’ve done that, celebrate as you sink your teeth into your well deserved big bite.