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Invitation: Intention

The Invitation: The Intention

Where are you? How did you get here? And what direction do you want to go? It is with these questions we can start to formulate an intention for your upcoming year, your time in therapy and your motivation for the day. Without making it more complex than it needs to be your intention will need to be created by you, for you and in honor of your process.

In resisting the diving down the rabbit hole; first, we need to have the courage to go into the grief, anger or trauma that is often lodged between us and real transformation in our lives. Moving into these unknown places, and resisting, is another way of setting up an intention.

Giving yourself space to “know,” “to not know,” or “maybe to know later,” can help guard against self sabotaging your process.

The invitation of creating an intention is important because it clarifies your motives and may also address what you are going to rather than running from. The following is a brief activity that invites you to give life to your goals, healing path and intention.

Observe, Open, Obtain

I spend a great deal of time helping people unpack experiences. I find it important to begin by teaching people to become sacred witnesses of their own story. In some psychological or spiritual systems, this is called developing an observer self.

This is a developing part of you that becomes increasingly good at witnessing your emotions and reactions. Over time your intentions become clear do to the honing of your observer self.

When working on something that you want clarity around, the first step is finding a way to observe what is before you. Really observing what is there involves separating from your emotions and reactions, as well as from the story you may have already developed. These stories are often unconsciously formed as a defense in order to avoid a sense of shame or judgment from another part of yourself. It helps if you can learn to move past the defending part of yourself long enough to see the charged issue with some distance. Observe your motivation and the intention:

Some questions to observe around creating an intention.

What are you wanting to change?

How strong is the motivation to look at it or do something with it?

Once you have a handle on observing, you can work on being open to what may actually be present. I have found there is always more room to be open to cultivating what can come through or what has “shown up” in your experience with healing, grieving and tranformation.

There comes a stage where I encourage people to become open to different vantage points on the events or experiences giving them charge. Almost by definition, many of the experiences we have in therapy and in life arise from the places of charge percolating inside ourselves. These charged places are probably the places where we have a tendency to shut down, project out, or “go into story.” By this last phrase, I mean starting to explain or justify or even “give meaning” rather than just feeling and allowing something to be.

When approaching these charged places, it is very important to develop a practice of being open to consider what may lie beneath or around or above these experiences. Give them space.

Some questions to be open to as you develop a stronger intention.

Have I considered looking at it from another angle?

Do I need to be more open to being comfortable with “where I have gotten?”

What would it look like to be open to this change?

To put this simply, when we approach an experience during therapy, we detach from it enough to observe it and then find enough space to be open to what it may be bringing forth that is different from what we already know or say about ourselves, our life, or the cultural story out there.

By obtain I mean gaining information or “take-aways” for working with—or clarifying –the parts of your experiences that continue to have energy.

Think of it this way:

You have observed something that is part of you, you have opened to what else might be there, and now you hold onto what is emerging from this piece in order to let it develop. Sometimes some piece will just disappear if it does not have the energy or focus to keep going. Or sometimes there is continued “juice” that turns up a whole path that you will follow.

Feeling into the difference between something that has run its course and something that opens a new life path is a valuable skill to continuously explore because it gives rise to understanding what is important in your healing, transformation and intention setting.

Please reach out and let me know how the process is for you.

Dr. Ryan Westrum is a licensed therapist that specializes in detoxing from digital devices, pornography addiction, sex addiction and transformation. Please contact him at or


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