I want to talk about the power of setting intentions, and the importance of the words we choose in setting them.

I’ve noticed that we always get what we ask for from the universe, pretty much exactly in the way we ask for it. It doesn’t always appear the way we think it will, it usually doesn’t come without some commitment and work on our part, and it doesn’t always come at the speed we want it to, but boy does it show up in the way we ask for it.

When I did my first ceremony two years ago, I was in a pretty dark place, and so I stated that my intention was to “detox, to purge the darkness and hit a reset button” – and what ended up happening was the darkest purge of my life, the most painful experience I had ever been through. Sure enough, I purged my darkness and pain, but purging literally means to bring something up before getting rid of it, and it’s usually not a pleasant experience.

Since then, I’ve been a lot more careful about how I state my intentions. Casting a spell to heal from trauma (which I did around Halloween) sounds like an awesome thing to do, because who doesn’t want to get better, but I also forgot how difficult and draining the trauma healing process is. It didn’t show up as just magically being cured; it showed up as an intense workload. Casting a sigil for “I am in the vibration of my soul’s fulfillment” sounded super positive until I experienced such a rapid expansion that I felt like my eyeballs were melting out my skull.

When in the last two months I realized that I kept thinking I had hit the bottom of my healing process and would be done soon only to discover more and more work to do each time, I stated a new commitment to the universe: Fine, I said, I have no idea how long this is going to take, and I’m going to stop trying to guess when it’s going to be finished. But I am stating a commitment to the process and I am making a request. I am in cooperation with you, I’m not cutting corners, and I want to learn every lesson you have to teach me – but let’s speed it up and please make it painless. I promise I will immediately implement every lesson as soon as you show it to me, and I don’t mind hard work but I don’t want any more pain. Please don’t punish me when I’m trying to work with you. Let’s just get this done.

(And every time since then that I have helped someone and they have thanked me, I have asked them, “Pray for me. If you want to return the favor, pray for my healing journey to be swift and painless.”)

Since then, as you can probably tell if you’ve been following my writing, the process has sped up a lot. New teachers offered to work with me, multiple modalities are being tackled at a time, and returning to ceremony three times in a month has allowed me to make quantum leaps forward in my self-examination. New friends are coming forward to teach me new ways of seeing and being seen, people in my life are showing me the blind spots where I wasn’t seeing the joy that was possible. And what’s more, lessons I’d been told I would have to go through that I feared would be painful have presented themselves to me in ways that exactly meet my needs and boundaries – I’m able to experience the teaching without feeling any of the pain or anxiety that often comes with difficult learning. I’m getting everything I need to know without feeling destabilized. ::knocks ardently on wood::

Setting intentions is powerful. And it’s also literal. So now when I want to heal, I no longer say that I want to purge the darkness – I say that I want to embody the light. I no longer say that I want to release toxicity – I say that I wish to embrace my sovereignty. I no longer say that I want to learn from my mistakes – I say that I want to fall in love with my own beauty. I can choose for this work to be harsh and difficult or I can choose for it to be joyful and loving, and I choose for it to be joyful and loving.

So long as I’m in it, I might as well enjoy it.