My first introduction to understanding the true impact words can have on our lives was in Ms. Sobiak’s freshman year semantics class. She standing only 4’10” and me towering over her at five-foot-four, I looked up to her. I admired her for her contagious enthusiasm and her unwavering passion of the English language.
She sparked my love affair with the way humans construct meaning, igniting my fascination with how words have the power to shape our experience, our actions, our beliefs, and ultimately our lives. Her teachings would launch me into two careers and 20 years later lead me to Peru where I’d learn from yet another amazing teacher.
I will never forget the day I met him, the mystic poet–don Americo Yabar, taking shelter under a hand-forged canopy from the light winter rain that had begun to sprinkle across the valley. He sat quietly, looking off in the distance with a sparkle in his eye as if he might be watching the towering Andes before him perform a sacred dance. You could see this man was wise, and sweet, and jolly just by the way he looked with such wonder and reverence, as if there was no difference between him and the mountains he sat watching.
That day was the first day of five intense and yet liberating lessons. As we traveled throughout the Sacred Valley visiting ancient Mayan temples, meditating among cows and llamas in high mountain meadows, Americo initiated me into what he calls Salka–the undomesticated wild energy–teaching me no matter how “domesticated” we become we all have a wildness within us that yearns to be set free.
Beauty. Grace. Love. Aliveness. A pull. A call. An enticement to encounter life with our whole entire beings. This is Salka.
Being a Colorado girl, I was over-the-moon thrilled to connect with my own wildness while galavanting through the Andes. And as a new-aspiring writer I quickly became enchanted with what it meant to be “undomesticated”. The raw and innate enthusiasm sparked by Ms. Sobiak quickly returned and I began to revel in how the use of language could ignite an energy that so often lies dormant in so many of us.
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It was there I suddenly realized an amazing truth – that a simple choice of words can carry with them a deep subconsciously felt energy. One that either reinforces the analytical and logical of the domesticated (or what Americo refers to as the ‘side of the dog’), or invites the deeper truth of the heart, unleashing the undomesticated Salka (the wildness inherent in the side of the wolf).
Since returning home from a trip I will forever consider to be my “life ignition switch”, I’m constantly aware of how Salka and the wildness of the wolf softly hums below the surface of my modern urban and rather domesticated life. I’ve begun to notice how even the most subtle shift into my own wildness not only has great impact on my life, but changes the way I write and how I fill vast, open blank pages with my stories and their words. These subtle and yet hugely impactful energies are inherent in every single word I choose to think. And speak. And ultimately write.
And there are no two words where I’ve found this to be more true, nor more important, than in intent vs. intention.
Intent and intention are indeed the rocket launchers of our desires, our dreams, our wants and even our needs. They set our dance with desire in motion. And because I now know what I know about energy and Salka, I realize I’ve mistakenly used them interchangeably.
As I’ve sat with full “intention” to write articles, books, and even what might be considered a simple social media post, I’ve learned intention lives squarely in the domestic world. It is the language of the mind. The logical and rational of where we hope our desires will meet our actions. Intention can be filled with such aspiration and optimism, and yet at the same time be completely and totally empty, void of integrity and follow-through.
But intent. There’s something different about intent. Just speaking the word out loud, “INTENT!” I can feel it in my bones, radiating from my heart. This is the Salka which Americo spoke so passionately. Intent is not just a simple meeting of desire and action. Intent is the heartbeat. Intent is how action transforms desire into something realized.
To have or even hold an intention, that is an honorable and good thing. But to intend, this should not be taken lightly. To set an intent is like making a pinkie swear with creation. To renege on an intent feels like it would be letting inspiration down, falling short of a promise made to take a leap towards possibility and one more step towards fulfilling potential.
Today I rarely use the word intention. Choosing instead to write, to live, and to love with the wildness of the wolf. Working from my heart more than my head, acting rather than hoping, realizing instead of merely wishing, approaching life with my whole entire being, and creating more with each and every word.
Melissa Mizer is the CEO and Creative Director of MoreSeekers, a global lifestyle community and life enhancement studio for the successful and ambitious who want to courageously pursue a life of MORE. Believing in the power of MORE to transform our desires into realized, MoreSeekers offers the practices, provisions and adornments for living a life of MORE. Melissa writes weekly at MoreSeekers about abundance, being your fully expressed self, how to ignite your imagination, nourish body+mind+soul, trusting your intuition, filling yourself up with all the good stuff, and reveling in the endless possibilities that are the key to being more alive, whole and complete. You can find MORE advice, inspiration, and ideas on living this amazingly fulfilling and inspiring life @moreseekers just about everywhere in the digital world.
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Every month we select at few writers to help us explore what it means to live a life of reflection and intention. Reach out to Helen, our editor at Helen.W@holstee.com to learn more