Intention, Attention or is it Connection?

June 16, 2023

For a long time I’ve had an interest in magic, particularly in connection with manifesting our will and realising our goals. The Law of Attraction and the magic of manifesting is a topic that we are occasionally asked our opinion on by our The Way of The Buzzard community too.

Up to now though I’ve not had anything of real relevance to share as I simply didn’t understand, had no opinion on and to be quite honest was wary of the topic of manifesting by means of intention and gratitude. It all felt too simple, too woo woo for a night walker like myself!

But I never could discard the idea as pure fantasy as so many respected friends spoke highly of the power of manifesting. It would be hugely disrespectful to discount their opinion, even privately, without some deep reflection and understanding.

So, I sat with this idea while reading around the edges of it. I even tried a simple practice recommended by one of our online tutors. He said to think of something I wanted to ‘manifest’ (that word even gives me the wobbles!) but make it something I believe I can achieve. In other words don’t try to manifest a Ferrari by teatime! Choose something you really think is possible today. And put your whole attention into this. Think about it until you truly feel in your body that it’s already happened.

So I did. I thought ‘what would it feel like if my picture agency sold two pictures of mine today’. This already happened a few times a month so it wasn’t a big stretch of the imagination to believe this could happen. In fact I pondered on this until I really began to feel that it had already happened. Later that day I checked the online portal and yes! I’d had two sales!

I knew there was something in it, but how did it fit with my own understanding of life and all things? Or did it even need to?

Energy flows where Attention goes.

This saying is bandied about so much isn’t it. So much so that it’s perhaps become meaningless in many ways. Note the detail of this though. It doesn’t mention ‘intention’. Rather it’s ‘attention’ that gets top billing here.

Thinking back personally, Nicola and I can recount numerous times when things have begun to happen as we’ve given our undivided attention to the topic. Perhaps we’ve been mindfully harvesting twigs for the Ogham staves that Nicola makes, and we note that coincidentally, while doing that we’ve sold a couple of Ogham sets! Or we’ve been out for a wander, pondering deeply together on an upcoming retreat only to find more bookings had magically happened as we gave it our attention.

Could there be a connection here? Energy flows where Attention goes? Why should this be? Through my recent studies, journeys and contemplative times out on the land ideas began to solidify as to how this may work. Maybe I’m wrong in my assumptions here but bear with me. I think it matters.

Animism in all things.

Observations of nature have helped me to see the total and unequivocal interconnectedness of all things. From the way that mycelial threads link every cell of everything to every cell of everything else to the way magicians (not the stage type!) speak of the power of Will in manifesting, I began to see a link.

When I’m out catching the stories of the land with my camera and notebook I allow myself to be totally consumed by the process. I even have an ongoing dialogue with whatever is around me, asking for cooperation, explaining what I want and why, offering libation and gratitude to all the beings who could choose to support me. Far more often than not my communion is rewarded with a story in one form or another. It might not come as a photo or film, it could be an idea or a solution to a current creative conundrum.

However, when I’m distracted by ‘stuff’, when my mind is all over the place I struggle to hear and see the tales of the land. Even though my intention is the same my attention is elsewhere. So, I began to surmise that there was a real link between the quality of attention given and outcomes achieved.

I’ve long known that there is a universal language understood by all things. This is a core principle of animism. It’s a wordless language, one that isn’t articulated even by thought. No, it’s far deeper. It’s based purely on emotion and I’ve read that it comes from the heart which emits bio-resonant energies that are felt and understood in the body of others (’others’ being the beings, the clouds, the rocks or the land around us). It’s a felt language that speaks to a deep and subconscious part. Maybe this is where intuition comes from? Inner guidance which comes from the outer being?

In a recent Mystery School journey circle we explored the topic of total and absolute interconnectedness and examined, with the support of our otherworldly guides, the entwined and entangled connective network that links all beings together as one. Slowly, in the mists of my mind, one thought sought out and joined another and another until I had the beginnings of a theory. And I soon had an experience which gave weight and form to this random being that was evolving in my head.

Roots and Pavement

I visited a woodland with the intention of photographing the interplay of Yew roots and limestone pavement. I wanted to contrast the flow of roots, which took place over hundreds of years, with the flow patterns of waterworn limestone which took perhaps hundreds of thousands of years to form. I went to the right place at the right time. But search as I may it just wasn’t coming together for me.

Giving it my full attention I searched and searched, deeper and deeper into the wood. Then I spotted a Roe Deer buck no more than fifty feet from me. I raised my camera and caught a blurry shot only to see him wander ahead. I followed him for a few minutes hoping to catch a few shots along the way. I soon lost sight of him but when I looked around I found myself in an area full of Yews growing out of limestone pavement! Almost exactly what I was seeking, but not quite.

I thanked deer for taking me there and began to shoot the roots. However, he came back! He came to within about twenty feet and turned his back on me. Looking over his shoulder I felt I was being asked to follow. So I did, right into an area that was just what I’d been seeking. Then, again, the Roe Deer melted into the woodland, but not before I got a couple of shots.

It would be easy for me to think that the deer, knowing my heart’s desire, decided to help and guide me but that feels patronising and is a huge assumption to make. However, thinking back to my knowledge of ancestral hunting techniques, especially the way indigenous hunters felt (knew) that their prey had given themselves up to the hunt, I came to another conclusion which is all about universal balance.

If everything is indeed connected in the way I think it is, it can be compared to a single, sentient being. Much like me. Much like you. As I wandered through that woodland I brought with me imbalance. I had an unmet need. Things were not well. I had a pain point. I was plugged into the wood-wide web and had become a part of it due to the undivided attention I was giving to my experience of the land there. Hence my problem became a problem for the place. One which it had the means to fix and the Roe Deer was the vehicle, an integral part of the whole being that the place used to fix my lack and thereby return to harmony and balance.

It’s like when I cut my finger while cooking tea. Something was instantly out of balance and I used my other hand to stick a plaster on the wound. It’s not as though my good hand felt a surge of empathy for the other and was consciously drawn to fix it. No, the bigger being that is me directed the fix to bring my whole body back into a healthy balanced state.

Perhaps the bigger being, which was the woodland, saw my need to be healed (by giving me my story) and subconsciously directed the deer to apply the sticking plaster by directing me to the right place! Am I making sense here?

Perhaps I’m way off base with these presumptions, however it does kind of make sense in the tangle of my mind. I’ve no doubt that we are indeed all connected and so must belong to a greater whole. If a part of something is not working quite right then surely efforts will be made to rectify this if it’s at all possible.

Playing our part in bringing balance.

This also shows how we have a huge part to play in this master plan of total balance. We must be striving for an overarching state of wellbeing too. We need to play our part. If I’d gone to a peaty moorland with the intention of shooting Yew roots over limestone it simply would not have happened. The ingredients for a fix were missing. I had to do my part by researching and getting myself out into the right place where the medicine was.

I don’t think it’s fair to ask for a particular outcome but then hamstring the universes attempts to meet us half way. We need to play our part too. Our guides expect us to do the work, to show up, to do our best. If we do that, magic can happen.

Let me end this with a recent experience of ours that, for me, firms up my sense of interconnection. We were taking a few days break on a campsite in Langdale and, as always, we positioned our van on the edge looking out at the land and the nature that thrived there. A pair of Meadow Pipits had chosen this spot too. As we sat watching the swell of the evening light they would come and perch uncommonly close to us and sing.

Nicola and I got quite attached to them. We spoke of them, spoke to them, smiled at them and felt a deepening connection. Each day was topped and tailed by this pair of little brown birds and we gave them our full focus.

One evening, as dusk fell, I was walking back to the van when I noticed a right fuss of feathers and fury as a large female Sparrowhawk was pursuing one of ‘our’ Pipits around the edge of the meadow. It was too dark for me to see if she had a tiny brown bundle in her talons when she powered off over the hedge. Nicola had already gone to bed and I didn’t have the heart to tell her. After a fitful night I broke the news to her and we spent the day worrying about our little friends who we saw nothing of.

The following day one returned and the morning after they both returned and resumed catching insects for the nest of young they were caring for. Both Meadow Pipits were noticeably subdued and quiet, watching the edge of the wood warily for the return of the hawk. We were elated that both of our Pipits were ok and this sense of great relieve and love must have radiated from us in a language the birds felt. We were dumbfounded when one of them flew over and perched on Nicola’s knee!

This was the ultimate expression of connection. A moment of full trust and communion from one of these tiny, vulnerable, shy little birds, a moment we will never forget. This single memorable moment underlined to me that when we truly pay attention our desires, feelings, needs and wants radiate out into the world in a way that our fellow earth beings can understand in a bodily way.

Honouring our Desires

Our upbringing, conditioning and patterning so often tells us not to dwell on our own desires, to put everyone else first. But how is the world that we are so intimately entwined with to know what we want if we don’t allow ourselves to feel it first.

It’s vital that we give voice to and pay attention to our wants, our needs and our desires. And work to do what we can to open space for the magic to happen. In turn all those myriads of sentient souls that we are plugged in to cannot but help turn their attention to us and strive to give us the medicine we need to bring the greater whole back to balance.

About the Author


Jason has been a visual storyteller all of his life and follows an animistic, shamanic path from his ancestral lands of Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors.
Formerly a professional photographer and film maker he now uses his art to help others fall in love with the land that little bit more.

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  1. Thank you, Jason. Such a good reminder to put our full attention, which I think means “with all our heart” towards our creative endeavors. Love this line: “Our guides expect us to do the work, to show up, to do our best. If we do that, magic can happen. “ As a writer and photographer, I am always looking for the magic! Thank you again for the encouragement. Great stories in this piece, too, to illustrate your points and make it fun to read and easy to remember.

    1. Thank you for this Melanie, interesting to hear you too are a photographer and writer, a path I've been on for some 35 years!

  2. "This also shows how we have a huge part to play in this master plan of total balance. We must be striving for an overarching state of wellbeing too. We need to play our part."
    Love this….
    This piece is very helpful bringing some random musings I've been having into clarity.
    There is a nature reserve nearby I'm involved with that is developing fast, too fast, and attention to this is forming an intention in connection with the land spirit herself, for a balanced outcome for, and from, The Whole.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here Suzie. Yes, I’m convinced we each have the power to play a bigger part in the rebalancing of our land. As we each bring ourselves back to centre, perhaps this will enable a greater settling too.

  3. WOW! I'm stunned by this, in a very good way🙏 Everything you say makes total sense to me. It's taken me over an hour to read because I keep stopping and remembering all the times I have had encounters like yours and Nicolas. Thank you, you have giving me lots to think about.

    1. Thank you Jacinta. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my thoughts here. I thought long and hard before writing this as I found it difficult to formulate my thoughts into cohesive sentences! I sense there’s more explorations to dive into on this topic.

  4. Hi Jason, thank you very much for sharing your insights into manifesting. It explained a lot to me that I felt for a long time but couldn't quite make sense to me. I appreciate Nicola's & your work very much. May you have a blessed day.

    1. I’m pleased you found it to make sense Bee. It took a while for me to find the right words for this. Best wishes, J.

  5. Thank you for sharing your musings upon intention and attention. Direct experience in nature to answer your confusion or enquiry. Pure magic

  6. Wow, that was a profound read first thing in the morning. Just came in from communing with my garden, telling my roses how beautiful they are and thanking them for bringing beauty into my world, ears atunned to birdsong, skin sensing the air. Such wisdom in this and it reminded me of this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson "The only thing you can grow is the thing you give energy to".

  7. Thank you 🙏 you give words and understanding to my own tangled web of thoughts as I walk my own path with the land.

  8. Thank you Jason, what a beautiful and thought provoking read. Beautiful pictures too.
    I’m feeling quite distanced right now from my spiritual connection and have been feeling low and been ill this last week, culminating in needing a course of antibiotics.
    We’re on our way for a week in Anglesey with plenty of coastal walks planned and lots of nature connection too, so hopefully this will put me back on track and I’ll be more able and ready to pick up the work I know is calling me to do rather than resisting it like I have been doing. I’m really struggling with the motivation to even pick up a book and write or do the 5 minute poems in the morning.
    Hoping our week away will recharge my batteries and help me get back on track so that I’m able to pick up my studies once more x

    1. Thank you Fae, I hope you find your motivation again soon, I'm sure it'll return in it's own good time. One thing that helped me, and is a practice that I MUST return to right now, is a weekly Artist's Date. Just me and my Muse (or Inner Child if you prefer) out to enjoy some creative input rather than creating. A gallery visit, a show, a wander round Waterstones, live music, comedy, whatever tops up your well.

  9. I love this Jason, and I totally agree. It's also like when you cut your finger – all the healing cells know how and where to go without anyone telling them – and the healing work begins – magic happens. I also think you're right about attention – I struggle with intention firstly because I struggle formulating it or knowing "my purpose", so now I'm asking myself why more, why am I doing this, what is the outcome I'd like – think I'm more likely to succeed that way. I don't like the word "manifest" either, I rather use, create, I get a great sense of satisfaction when I produce/create something. Had the realisation in my garden this morning that when I "garden", I am working with all the elements, sentient beings and elementals to produce some thing – be that a flower, tree, fruit – we are working as one in unison and entwined with the turn of the wheel, her cycles and seasons. Love the magic you create – I am also creating time and space to allow the magic to happen – and taking back time by doing "my real work, this work" before the hum drum hamster wheel stuff begins at 9.00 am. Have a great day – see you on the Edge or Ledge tomorrow 🙂

    1. Thank you Paulina. I enjoy what you share here about gardening too. It's so fitting. Life on the Ledge was quite something wasn't it 🙂

      1. It was Jason an amazing day, so incredible how it also begins to unfold afterwards too. How the insights begin to unravel and another piece of the jigsaw fits. I'm making sense now of the guillemots and razorbills support each other on the ledge- that being an edge dweller isn't lonely when we find our clan. Nicola's poem at the end nailed it! #weareus!

        1. Absolutely Paulina, as we approached the end I had a sense that I needed to mention the great community of us edge dwellers. We are not at all alone! We just need to find our clan. Yes! #weareus!

    1. Thank you Jo, much appreciated. It was a conversation with Andy that helped me find the right words for this. x

  10. Beautiful. Thank you Jason. Your story and understanding truly resonate with me. You express so well a level of connection for which I have not been able to find words. I currently have the luxury of being away from home in the back of beyond in the middle if France and can be quietly with Nature for hours. Your words lead me to a deeper understanding of what I am experiencing here

    1. Thank you Vivien, that's very kind of you to say. I hope you are enjoying your time out in France. Spending quiet time on the land is so restorative.

  11. Very interesting and very profound, Jason. I think you are definitely on to something here. Quite amazing and no wonder we are so disconnected from nature and making such a mess of the planet when most, if not all of us, have lost this ability to tune into the harmony and balance of life. No doubt you will be pursuing this line of thought in the future and sharing more of your experience and understanding.

    1. Thank you Jill. If my mind should tease out any more comprehensible thoughts worthy of sharing I'll be sure to speak them out. 🙂

  12. I think this is a very thoughtful article and presents the case well. I totally agree with your thoughts and feel a bit relieved that someone has neatly written them in a clear way. Thank you.
    I saw a little buzzing insect hovering stationary near me “drone” style. Just hanging in the air. I said hello and sent it some love and appreciation as it was hovering so skillfully. It turned right around and faced me and just hovered seemingly looking at me for a minute. Then flew off. I felt we had just had a lovely hear to heart interconnection just because we could.

    1. What a great observation and moment for you Susie. Yes, we 'know' when something is special don't we, whatever the interaction is. Thank you for your kind comment.

  13. Thank You so much for this, this special message! It made so much sense hearing it in your words and has given me much to consider. Thank You. It came at just the right time. 🙏

  14. Oh wow totally love the thinking behind this and the amazing deer and meadow pippit stories….what amazing connections your attentions brought your way …..thank you for sharing your stories as always and thank you for the gentle and timely reminder to focus our attention to create the magic….bright blessings one and all🦌🕊️🙏🏻💖🤗😘xo

  15. I really resonate with your process and findings, and thanks for striving to put it into words, and succeeding. I much appreciate your stories from nature as they connect me
    with it more too, since I live in a big city and pay attention to nature 'in the cracks' so to speak. I have had these communications of the heart with foxes sometimes, in my area, and trees which I hug and connect with through my gratitude for their existence in my life…and thanks so much for your beautiful and poetic photography which makes my soul sing!

    1. Thank you Claire, this is kind of you. I love catching the stories in this way and it's something I always strive to do more of.

  16. Beautiful… i love the natural , unassuming way you piece this all together with the help of our wonderful web. i’m walking the coast path at the moment, i will be much more attentive tomorrow 💙

  17. Everything is connected, connection is everything. As you'll remember, from my TEDx talk this time last year, this is a topic close to my heart. I struggle with the idea of manifesting, to be honest. If you have a go at it and then don't get what you asked for, it's like, well, I mustn't be doing it right. I'm not believing enough. The idea that we manifest everything that happens in our lives – that doesn't sit well with me either. Say that to a parent whose child gets cancer. It doesn't take into account inequalities. It's all too individual – too hooked into personal wants, into outcomes. For me, it's about connection – creating, collaborating, seeing what arises. Dropping a stone and making ripples. Giving things attention but as an exploration, an experiment, seeing what happens. Trusting the unseen. Like you say, we can't hamstring the universe.

  18. hi Jason.
    Wonderful inspiring post. Went to a lovely river spot for a solstice ceremony, and felt quite different after reading your words just before I went; kept my focus intently before, and during, and got into a space of absorption with the surroundings like never before – so thanks for the words, it really helped me!

  19. Thank you for sharing this. It is so beautiful. My head is often scattered. I would like to try being more attentive and bring myself peace of mind.

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