Creating Change by Leveraging the Power of Intention

“Our intention creates our reality.” ~Wayne Dyer

I got divorced a few years ago. It wasn’t pretty. We started out saying it would all happen amicably.

But we owned a business together. How much the business was worth at separation, we each contested. It dragged out. We finally got it done with after much pain and suffering.

And it just confirmed what I believed: Where money is involved, things get ugly.

I remember while I was living in Spain, it happened then too. I was living with a group of men and women who were working for social justice in a poor community. I was there as a recent graduate from the Jesuit Seminary, helping out at the summer programs for kids.

We lived simply and ate simple meals. I chipped in where I could for food. I kept offering to give more toward the groceries and other household expenses, but they politely declined.

After the summer program for kids was over, I set out to backpack around Spain.

In Toledo, famous for its sword making, I bought my dad his birthday present—a finely made full-size replica the King of Spain used to hold in ceremony. It cost about the equivalent of $100. My father had given me some money to travel with as a graduation present. So, I wanted to bring him back a nice gift from Spain.

I returned to the little community in Madrid where I was living. As soon as they saw the sword, they wanted to know how much it cost. It was immediately divisive. Their entire attitude toward me shifted.

They suddenly demanded I pay rent for the entire time I was there, even while I was away backpacking. They told me that the suitcase I left with them was taking up too much space and I should pay rent for that also. The situation was tense.

I left for a daytrip towards the last days of my stay there and when I returned, they had turned out the lights and locked the door on me. It wasn’t pretty.

That was 13 years ago. But, like I said, I’d noticed a pattern. Where money is involved, things turn ugly. That’s the reality I told myself.

And that could have been the final word, the fatalistic view, to realize that’s the way it is: Money makes things turn ugly.

More recently in my life, however, I’ve learned about the power of intention. I’ve learned the reality of the law of attraction, in a way I didn’t know during my divorce.

So, a few months ago, my ex-wife and I started having differences of opinion about child-support payments and other medical expenses for our children. It got to the point that we each separately filed a motion in family court.

And I thought, “Here we go again. When money is involved, it turns ugly.”

But in the back of my mind a new voice said, “Hey, you know about the power of intention. Why don’t you intend a new outcome and attract a new reality?”

As I sat with that new thought, I realized something:  The reason I didn’t want to intend a new reality is because I wanted her to suffer. So, I was willing to endure suffering as well just to spite her. Wow.

That was a biggy. And not one that was pleasant to accept: To realize that I did not want to intend a peaceful, easy relationship with money because I wanted suffering instead.

And I thought back to my childhood and yep, there it was. In my childhood, there was intense suffering and pain around money. I was carrying that same “reality” with me. And guess what: I was unconsciously intending it every time.

I made a decision.

I texted my ex-wife and I said, “Let’s meet and talk in person. This is silly to go to court and waste time and money. Let’s sit down and talk about this.”

She agreed. We picked a time and place.

I was incredibly nervous about meeting with her. My stomach was doing somersaults.

And I realized something else. The reason I had a hard time choosing a good relationship to money is that I was afraid of confronting people about it. So I avoided it. And that led to a buildup of unspoken, divergent assumptions around money.

So, in all, I had two big realizations.

1. I was unconsciously choosing suffering each time around money because that’s what I wanted.

2. I was afraid of any confrontation about money, so I avoided it, which only made the situation worse, and caused more suffering.

I made another decision.

I set my intention to have a wonderful, productive conversation with my ex-wife in which we could come to a mutually agreeable conclusion about our differences.

And I decided that I would show up to the meeting and start off by reminding her of the good times we had together. My intention was that by starting off with that, I would set the tone for the rest of the conversation.

I had a week to set my intentions. And, nervously, throughout the days leading up to our meeting, I continued imagining a good conversation and a good outcome.

I showed up for our meeting at a coffee shop. I was still very nervous. She saw me outside and came right up to me with a smile on her face. I was taken aback. It was not what I expected, based on past conversations.

I honestly didn’t know what to do with it. Her demeanor surprised me.

Taken aback and now a little suspicious of why she was so pleasant, I decided to stick to my game plan.

I told her what I wanted to share with her—how I was grateful for all the good times we had, the ways I grew from the relationship, and the beautiful children we had together.

And then, amazingly, it was smooth sailing in the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, my stomach was still doing cartwheels. But the conversation was going well. She was right there with me in the same intention.

And I thought, “Wow, was my intention that powerful?” My shift in energy contributed to a completely different reality. She was smiling pleasantly.


But, like I said, I almost didn’t even know what to do with it. I was so programmed for pain and suffering around money conversations, that to have a smiling, good conversation felt really weird. I was like a fish out of water. It was a whole new reality for me.

It took an adjustment.

And another realization: I was addicted to the pattern of pain and suffering around money. Breaking the addiction was liberating, but disconcerting. It pushed me outside of what was “comfortable” for me. I was more accustomed to the pain and suffering.

Ultimately, we were able to reach an amicable settlement without going to court, and I almost couldn’t believe it. That’s the power of intention, and the reason why we don’t intend a new reality.

We are pre-programmed to want the familiar reality even if it’s a reality of pain and suffering. 

If we want a new reality, we can intend to create something different. While there are other factors that affect the outcomes we experience, our intention is one of the most powerful indicators. But we have to want a new reality.

Now, I have the starting point for a whole new experience of reality, one that I have consciously intended. It’s an ongoing process—fun, scary and liberating all at the same time.

Is there some part of your reality that you’re not happy with? Are you ready to experience something new? What would it look like to shift your intention?

Photo by Janicskovsky

About Alexander Dunlop

Alexander Dunlop is a Spiritual Life Coach. From an ordinary deck of playing cards, he can layout the blueprint for your life. Discover the life you were born to live. And get the life nourishment you need.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Ginny

    Excellent post. 🙂

  • I’m almost there. I can almost create new realities. The only thing holding me back? The assumption that it won’t work. And then, of course, it doesn’t. So I get all disappointed & bitter. A cycle of self-sabotage. But I want to break it. So I’m trying. I’m almost there. 

  • Shaec

    Alexander, this made a great deal of difference to me today, for a lot of reasons.  Thank you.

  • Sarah

    Thank you, Laurie, for posting this … and thank you, Alexander, for the living example of changing intention!  How incredible much this helps me look at my intention and how ready I am to change that NOW!  Continue on your path, because it is certainly enriching my life! Thank you!

  • JD

    Good post. Very good post. I have a question: why didn’t you make an intention to not divorce from that point, work with her and keep the family together? It seems that is a logical outgrowth of this fantastic progress you made in keeping the divorce smooth.

  • Universalbliss

    I really needed to read this today! My thoughts, patterns, and habits concerning money have led me through a endless cycle of worry, avoidance, and frustration. This post really made me see my own addiction to struggling through life when it comes to money, avoiding discussions and confrontations… I can see that. Every moment we can choose our intent and attitude, we don’t have to perpetuate the same money mistakes every paycheck!

  • Alexander Dunlop

    Hi JD,
    The divorce was finalized a few years ago.  And we have both moved on, and it’s for the best for each of us.  What we’re doing is co-parenting our children with mutual love and support.  We do things together like have dinner together and play games together.  I come over to her house and help put the kids to bed, things like that.

    However, living together under the same roof was just not working.  And we did not want our children to grow up in a tense, bitter household.  So, we made the decision to get divorced out of a desire for holding a safe space for our children.  Ironically, splitting up means that we can together hold a better space of love and support for them.

    And then too, like I said, my awareness of the power of intention is more recent than the divorce.  But, I do not think it would have made a difference to our divorce anyway.  We are all better off, our children included, with us living separate, but together lives. 

    Does that make sense?

  • Jaden_and_rylen

    This is such a great reminder and exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I have read about the power of intention but going to the familiarity of pain and suffering is so ingrained in me. Its like having anxiety about possible anxiety! I do that! This is awesome and I can’t thank you enough.

  • Joy

    What a lovely post and it came at the right time for me. My hubby and I are going through a divorce and we also agreed to make it amicable. I was on Sabbatical during the two years when we were married and I have to go back to work now so that I will be able to support myself. I have been worried and anxious about the unknown because I need to get a job and a place to stay. All I am going to do now is to hold an intention that everything will work out well for good and know that God will supply for all my needs just in time. Thank you.

  • JD

    Hi Alex, that makes a lot of sense. I can absolutely respect that. I am a traditionalist myself and I don’t understand ‘divorce’ and I think its because I am lucky to have a wonderful woman in my life (who puts up with me more than I would).
    I respect you and your wife and would only add that I wish other couples had the same attitude, respect, work ethic in putting their kids first even if there is a divorce. The irony, as you pointed out, is that this way you are able to provide a better space of love and support. 
    Thank you for replying.

  • Gabriela

    This is so true. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • It seems to me that many of us don’t know there is an option to do otherwise, so “choose” the familiar.

  • Lv2terp

    Fantastic post, thank you!!! 🙂

  • Alexander Dunlop

    good luck in your transition.  if you want additional support, I do coach people through transitions in their life.  you may also find clarity in the Card readings I do.

  • Alexander Dunlop

     you’re welcome

  • Alexander Dunlop


  • Alexander Dunlop

     exactly.  we don’t realize that there are infinite options to choose from.

  • Alexander Dunlop

     you are most welcome

  • Alexander Dunlop

     ha.  i know all about anxiety about anxiety.  🙂  and, then there was another way.  it’s possible.  i promise you.

  • Alexander Dunlop

     yes.  if only we could recognize the stuck patterns for what they are.  instead of just assuming that it is reality, we could see it as an ingrained habit that we could shift with attention and practice.  🙂

  • Alexander Dunlop

     thank you Sarah.  thank you for encouraging me to continue on this path.  i appreciate it.

  • Alexander Dunlop

     hi there.  perhaps i can help you.  would you like to set up a consultation with me?

  • Alexander Dunlop


  • Jennifer

    “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear
    of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

    Great article. A good reminder that we each create our own realities and have the power to change them if only we’re willing to take the risk. And, really, what do we have to lose?

  • Habibanazeera

    Thanks for the great post. I needed this article at this point of my life.
    Even a simple intention of realizing that a person need a change is enough to make a change in that person’s life

  • Kyle

    This really struck home for me. I always seem to find ways to drag myself down into the pattern of pain and suffering that you described, but I am ready for a change. I know what I want and am working on focusing on that goal and being positive. Thanks for this reminder!

  • What would that entail?

  • Alexander

     here’s the link to explain what it entails.  🙂

  • Alexander

     Hi Kyle, perhaps I can help you make the change.  Let me know if you’d like some support.

  • Alexander

     yes. absolutely!

  • Alexander

     “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ”  ~ FDR

    “the only thing we have to lose is fear itself”  ~ AHD


  • Joy

    Thank you Alexander, I will visit your site.

  • Thank you Alexander, you’ve given me a ‘light bulb’ moment and I can now do something about it…I too have been “addicted to the pattern of pain & suffering around money” but I just didn’t realise it until I read your words – wow!  Thank you!  I’m sick of the struggle and repeated patterns that leave me so frustrated and filled with fear of lack…now I have an idea of where it’s coming from and can work towards changing it – THANK YOU!!

  • Amzirk

    Thanks for this post. I was drawn to it and think it can help me reframe some of my victim mindset around my own family disappointments. But I feel like the trap for me is that I did think I had the power to create a better outcome. In fact, I believe I have tried just about every approach there is to create a more connected family – but it feels like I am the only one interested. Maybe thats just my excuse for not trying anymore and thanks to your acticle i am willing to look at how i may be secretly intending this outcome – but at what point do you give up trying?

  • Alexander

    Amzirk, you raise a great question…  And “trying” is never the answer anyway.  If you are “trying” you may have already failed.  It’s always about our Awareness.  What beliefs are we holding on to.  There are ways to help with this, to see clearly and understand what may be secretly sabotaging us.  I can help you with this if you like.  And there are others who can too, of course.

  • Alexander

    *tears in my eyes*  you are most welcome Paula.  your words have just inspired me to continue offering what I know.

  • Jef flong

    I went to a father’s group in Texas (just north of Fort Hood) where some ex-military west pointer gave some real eye-opening comments. He basically said that the current Divorce process, legislation, court system and military is all one scheme that was put in play around early 1960‘s. It was put in place for the Vietnam War, that’s when the divorce’s started to sky-rocket across the country (Google statistics). That in addition it was also designed to be one huge cash-cow to lure greedy lawyers to facilitate and destroy more families on the civilian side to get enough statistics to make it comparable to the military statistics. However the military numbers are still much higher. That is why they then modified the scheme to use on police nationwide to raise the civilian stats. It is designed to send single male soldiers to war and deny ex-wives any financial support that was initially and may still be coming from the military/ pentagon’s money pockets. To the military, the soldiers wives are expendable as are the soldiers and also their children! Less money the military spends on wives, kids, ex-soldiers, etc the less they have for their drones, guns, or bullets. The scheme is very very complicated but based on very slow very subtle psy-ops brainwashing tactics. He said that any Freedom of Information request will gradually reveal key pieces of data that when analyzed together with confirm all this. This the reason why the pentagon does not want to release documents related to divorce. Part of the even bigger Military-Industrial complex.

    Basically makes wives and soldier fight and hate each other. The scheme basically exploits women’s emotional traits to spread itself to other victims. The media contributes to the fear mongering and makes things worst. Fear (PTSD etc) makes women fear for their safety thus they then go pleading to the oh so willing authorities who provide them with military issued cookie cutter divorce packets to take to a civilian lawyer. They do this to hide where the process initially starts.