On this day seven years ago I sat on the edge of Tan Nguyet Lake (Lake of the New Moon) in the grounds of the tomb of Minh Mang in Hue, Vietnam. I sat meditating, looking for answers to a question I’m not sure I knew. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. But, I knew something had to change. I felt empty, directionless, and terrified of what or where to do or go next. In that moment I unintentionally set myself new intentions. I knew that the direction of my life needed to change. Although, I wasn’t quite prepared for the lessons the universe had prepared for me.

Today is another type of New Moon. And seven years later I’ve learnt the importance of setting clear intentions. What we think and the language we use to talk about our dreams and goals is vital to set clear intentions. Too vague or unclear and you’ll end up with a few surprises (thanks, universe!!). And if what we say or think doesn’t match our actions, well then, the universe will help you. But, it definitely won’t be in the way you want.

Are you paying attention?

My friend Jeremy used to ask me if I was paying attention. Like, constantly. To the point that it used to piss me off. Partly because I was mad at him for seeing things/messages/signs in my life that I couldn’t. And partly because I didn’t understand what he was talking about and how to find the clues that I was so obviously missing.

Like the day sitting by the Lake of the New Moon. I asked the universe for help. With no idea what I wanted help with. Later that day, my bank card stopped working. Three days later, I hopped on a bus in the middle of the night only to arrive 6 hours in the opposite direction of where I wanted to be. I had no money left to purchase a new bus ticket but managed to get a seat on the aisle of the bus for free. Then went 12 hours back in the opposite direction. In Ho Chi Minh City I managed to fix my bank card error. And straight after met the family who invited me to their house. Where I wound up in a Black Jack Poker game and promptly lost $5000 USD.

I was devastated. I felt like a massive failure. But, there was a method to the madness. The universe had a grand plan. I’d set my intentions and asked for help. And as a result, the universe was about to deliver.

When the universe has other plans…

I returned to Bangkok to collect my luggage from storage. And sitting at a computer next to the reception area was Jeremy. He was supposed to be in Nepal. I was supposed to be in Vietnam, on my way through the Mekong Delta into Cambodia. Neither of us was where we had planned to be. He asked me why: Why did I give them my money? I didn’t know. I lamented over my failure. I was going home. I wasn’t going to see him again for a very long time. Jeremy was from South Africa and I was broke and not likely to leave Australia again anytime soon. I was only three months through a four-month trip. I had failed in so many ways. Why had the universe dealt me this hand?

On the morning I left Bangkok, Jeremy reminded me to pay attention. Pay attention to what you feel, what you say, what you do. Pay attention to others, to the seasons, the signs. Most importantly, pay attention to what you want from life. We hugged. I cried. We said goodbye. I left, mad at myself and mad at the universe.

Three weeks later, I was sitting in the car park about to go into work. A message popped up on my phone:

Hi Emma, Please send me your number, I have bad news. Jeremy died darling girl on his way to Everest. I’ll phone you in the morning. xx

When you aren’t clear on your intentions the universe works with what we’ve given it

Three weeks after learning of Jeremy’s death I boarded a plane bound for South Africa. I’d scraped together every last dollar I had, borrowed from family, whatever I had to do to make it to his memorial services.

Through my grief I came to realise the lessons the universe had sent me…


Although, over the past seven years I’ve learnt many more lessons. Sometimes I think I’m clearly paying attention. And other times the universe gives me a swift kick up the arse to push me back on course. Sometimes I set clear and precise intentions. And other times I still don’t know what I want. But all of these events and life lessons have shown me the importance of knowing who you are, knowing what you love, and asking the universe to support you to live the life of your dreams.

Tips for setting clear intentions

  1. Choose your words wisely. Use clear, concise, and proactive language in your thoughts, when talking and writing about your life. Use active voice: “I will” instead of “I wish.”
  2. Repetition. Repetition is key. Write your intentions down every day. Repeat them to yourself. Post them up where you will see them.
  3. Be active. Do the work. Don’t worry about the how or why. Rather, trust that the universe will have your back.
  4. Be patient. Everything comes at the exact right moment in time. If you are clear on what you want and why then it will happen.
  5. Revise. If something isn’t working, take a deeper look. Maybe you are resisting part of your intention, maybe fear is getting in your way. It’s perfectly okay to rewrite your intentions.
  6. Trust in yourself.

The new moon is a time of fresh beginnings. A time to set new intentions for the coming lunar cycle. So be careful what words you use today, as the universe might just be paying attention.






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