Illuminated Parenting

The Game of Intendo

Here’s how I’ve made it to 31 years of marriage.

Relationships are up and down, here and there, full of fun and laughter, but not always an easy road. One of my main assets in having successful relationships is being aware of the Story Maker, the voice in your head that will mess you up in a blink of an eye. Snuggle up with a cup of tea and I’ll clue you in.

I love to play the game of Intendo, no typo there, not Nintendo, but Intendo. I created this name years ago when I was teaching this concept to my game loving kids. Intendo is imagining what you want, colorful, bright and clear, releasing that vision to the stars and settling back so unseen Loving Energy (Universe, God, Source) can pull together the necessary circumstances to make it happen. I make my intentions specific when possible, vague when I’m not sure and let Love fill in the blanks. Call it dreaming, planning, focusing, positivity or visualization, it’s a fun game and always amazing to me when what I want materializes before my very eyes whether it’s a parking space, a successful new work venture or the perfect person at the perfect time.

I was playing just such a game when my husband, Jack, and I set off last Sunday in search of the perfect campsite. We both were looking forward to finding a quiet, secluded spot on a river or lake with excellent access to the water. We hoped the weather would be sunny and dry. I had it clearly in mind and let the image go.

We drove through the few campgrounds we had picked out and didn’t find anything close to what we wanted, so we forged onward, carrying on down the highway, unsure what we would find but hopeful. We came upon an intersection we recognized as a turnoff to a place we had camped twenty years ago with our kids. We had a vague memory of this campground and that it had a site on a river. Tires screeching we hung a right.

There were stops and starts and junctions in the road where we had to figure out which fork to take. No cell service to help, we were lucky to find a 1999 book of state sectional maps crammed in a crevice in the back of the car, or maybe not so much luck but the magical synchronicity that makes dreams come true.

When to Listen to the Story Maker

Persevering on to what turned out to be quite a long road, I began to hear that familiar voice. You may call it the ego or the worrier but I call it the Story Maker. This voice is all about making sense of the world, especially looking for danger and avoiding trouble. The Story Maker creates beliefs based on past events and projects into the future what the problems might be. I envision my Story Maker as a stout little gnome with a Scandinavian flair, long beard and pointed hat. This makes him less serious to me and easier to deal with. He is always spinning stories to anyone who will listen. His goal is often safety but the results are usually quite the opposite.

In this case he was saying, ‘You are making a huge mistake here.’ and ‘You’re going to get too far out, there won’t be any campsites’. The tension in the car was beginning to rise as the road went on and on. I sensed the strain emanating from the driver’s seat. The Story Maker declares my husband irritated with me because I’m the one who suggested this crazy idea which blossoms a familiar anxious feeling in my stomach.

Now, as a regular practitioner of self-awareness, I’m very familiar with the Story Maker. I know when the Story Maker is getting a foothold because I feel badly in one way or another. The signal is sadness, irritation, anxiety, anger or any other emotion you can name that brings you down. I take a step back from that voice, smile, breathe and refocus to the present moment.

We find a campground about 12 miles in, not the one we had in mind, but thought it worth checking. There was only one site on the river and it was just taken. It wasn’t the perfect spot but it would have been okay. Disappointed, we get back on the road to continue our search.

The road turned into dirt and gravel with the biggest potholes I’ve ever seen. As we slowly bounce down the long, dusty, teeth jarring, washboard road, my husband pulls to the side to let a car pass. The Story Maker yells. “Oh no! He probably just let the person by that will take our campsite!” The Story Maker strongly suggests I start telling my husband what mistakes he is making…out loud… and ensure that I will not be seen as the problem. Story Makers are very bad advisors and lousy decision makers, running on emotion so they are not logical or rational. Follow the advice of the Story Maker at your own peril. I give the little gnome a sincere thank you for trying to help, trying to keep me safe, but I’ll pass.

Recognizing Fear and Making a Choice

It’s easy to see the underlying issue is fear. Fear I will be blamed and should deflect responsibility now. Fear I can’t have my dream. Lack of faith in the good nature of the Universe and all it provides. Years ago the mantra I taught my kids was “Everything is working out perfectly.” That statement requires faith and trust which the Story Maker just doesn’t have.

There is a choice here. I can jump in with both feet to the Story Maker’s point of view, allow the anxiety and worry to take hold and I will soon be crosswise with my spouse. I’ll be making him the bad guy for losing us the last camping spot. I’ll be throwing him under the bus to preserve myself. If I stick with this Story the tension of the long, crater-like road will compound and an argument is bound to erupt. Or I can breathe, relax, and realize it’ll be what it is and it’s still possible to have a good result here. No need to blame anyone. There is no right or wrong, so far it’s just a Story. The reality is we are on an adventure to find a campsite. Why not stick with the Intention of what I want as my focus. As I do this the anxiety and irritation fade.

After what seems an eternity (17 miles all told) we find our long lost campground, the one we had been at years ago. I’m relieved to see lots of campsites are open but none are on the river. We come around a corner and there it is – the perfect site, just as I imagined, except, the people my husband let pass, are there. I notice the Story Maker is hit with huge disappointment, then anger at Jack, but I’m not joining this roller coaster ride. I am aware that these people don’t appear to be setting up camp. I slide out of the car over to where they sit and ask, no, they are just there for about 20 minutes more and we are welcome to use the site.

And there it is. Good living by not listening to worry about the future or the erroneous assumptions dragged in from past experiences. Neither have any impact on the now unless we give it to them. By not acting blindly to the Story Makers’ advice, I avoid trouble before it even starts.

And how about that Intendo?

This site was made to order, surrounded by bushes and trees, mostly secluded, in fact, there were no other campers at all in the whole campground by later that afternoon. We had a large beach just to ourselves right on the river, a flat space for our big tent. Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it. This was manifestation at it’s best. By letting that car go by, the Universe ensured they got there first to enjoy their visit in the perfect spot. If we had not let them by, we would have already been in it. It turned out to be a win/win. Everything is working out perfectly.

Teaching Your Children

What could be better than to teach your children about their beliefs revealed through their thoughts and emotions? To stop and consider the Story before acting on it? Is it true?

What is the best focus –

  • The past? No, learn from experiences and let them go
  • A scary future? No, plan for outcomes and then envision your dreams
  • The present? Yes, observe and connect, it’s where all the fun is.

For your children, the Story Maker is just barely getting going since they are young and they haven’t had a chance to develop beliefs based on experience from the past or worry about the future. Many debilitating beliefs are often passed on from generation to generation based on a past that doesn’t exist anymore. Think carefully before you teach a belief to your children. Make sure it’s something you want them to live by – because they will.

What could be better than teaching them to play Intendo and watch their dreams come true? To know that they have the ability to manifest their plans and goals. That the negative Story is often what gets in the way. That the world is a friendly place where anything can happen and they have what it takes to accomplish their goals. I realized that I had a wish twenty years ago that I would come back to this campground and have this very spot which was taken the last time we were here. I had forgotten this, but the Universe hadn’t.

As I write this I am aware of the rush of clear water filling my ears as it bubbles and eddies spilling over dark brown, gray and golden rocks, sliding its way to join another river, and another until it flows into the big, blue ocean. Warm sun highlights the new, lime green growth on the tips of the evergreen trees rising from the edges of the stream. Birds sing in a chorus of voices. My dog digs for sticks in the dirt. Jack sips his tea. Calm fills my every pore. I feel blessed, full of gratitude and my marriage lives peaceably for another day.

One Commment

  1. Melinda, this is beautiful! I especially enjoyed your words about working with the Story Maker, who is trying to be so helpful.

Leave a Comment