I have a morning ritual. Bruce the Cat wakes me up at 5AM. While the kettle boils he and I go outside for a breath of fresh pre-dawn air. When he completes his ‘check of the perimeter’ (and after he is thwarted in his attempt to munch on a nasturtium leaf) we come back in, I make a cup of coffee or tea and sit down at my desk to begin my day. I write a few words in my journal and then open all the emails that arrived while I was sleeping.
Last Friday, in between taking the New York Time’s Weekly Quiz (I scored 10.67!) and watching Seth Meyers’s Closer Look (his impersonation of Mike Lindell the Pillow Guy is hilarious!) I opened my newsletter from Medium and scanned the page with my finger ready to ‘delete’ until I saw this quote from the actor Wil Wheaton: “Whenever possible be the person you need(ed) in your life. Do it on purpose.”
On the surface it reads like one of those sickly sweet pseudo-inspirational phrases that show up on our Facebook feed. The ones written in a graceful, italicized font over a soft focused image of a field of flowers or the sun setting over the ocean.
It’s the second part of Wheaton’s message that struck home for me: do it on purpose.
What the little guy from Stand by Me is talking about, I think, is intentionality.
Back in the day I was in an acting class taught by Ed Hooks in the basement of a local church. Each week we’d perform a short scene with a partner which would be followed by critique. I can’t act my way out of a paper bag (I’m way too self-conscious) but I remember the question Ed posed to us again and again about our acting choices we made for our character: What is your intention?
In the pre-pandemic Before Times, when I found myself contemplating something new, I often asked myself the same question: What is my intention? Knowing why my choices mattered to me helped me commit more fully to the process.
But the shut down changed all that. My spirit grew as soft as this new roll around my middle. I lost sight of my purpose. I forgot how to live on purpose. I forgot how to choose with intention. Did you?
As we begin to stretch our legs and make our way out of the den after a long COVID winter we might remember Wil Wheaton’s words: Be the person you need in your life. Do it on purpose.
Live with intention.