The Practice of Intentions

You have probably heard about intentions, right?  Especially at the beginning of a new year, it is quite the buzz.  I am all for people setting new year goals, visions, intentions, or whatever you want to call them, but I am talking more about a daily focus on something you want to create in your life.

Over the years I have worked with intentions and affirmation on a daily basis. I have seen first hand when they work, and when they do not work.  They work when you truly feel what you are saying, when you visualize it often to the details,  and the same holds true when they don’t work.  Feeling it is key. You can’t expect results just by just repeating it. The more you speak it, the more you feel it, the more you feel it, the more you speak it, and the cycle continues.

Positive affirmations require a consistent and regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes.

The good news is that the practice and popularity of positive affirmations are based on widely accepted and well-established psychological theory, –yes, science backs up the new agey, hippie feel-good vibes. Pretty amazing, right?

Practicing positive affirmations can be extremely simple.  You pick a statement that is positive and you repeat to yourself.  Over and over.  You write it down. You sit with it.  You believe it.

You can choose intentions to motivate you, encourage positive things in your life, or even boost your self-esteem. The subconscious patterns of negative self-talk can be eliminated by a regular positive affirmation or intention practice.

Here are the steps I follow to living my intention with affirmations:

  1. Get clear. Sit quietly without distractions and think of one (or two) areas in your life that you would like to be different. Some ideas include generating more income, finding true love in a partner, having a healthier body, or increasing self-esteem. I also love to use lime and rosemary essential oil when getting clear.  These two essential oils are powerful when it comes to the brain and can bring a sense of focus and inner knowledge.
  2. Create a powerful statement. Whatever you choose, having a very clear and deliberate statement, preferably spoken in the terms of I AM_____ (healthy, abundant, happily in love with a loving partner, surrounded by supportive friends, confident and strong). The two most powerful words in any language is I AM, so start by speaking in those terms versus I want, or I need.  I AM is ownership.
  3. Incorporate your intention into your daily life. Write down your affirmation and put it in a place where you will see it often.  Or even better, invest in sticky notes and put throughout your home. Mirrors, refrigerators, planners, cabinets, your car, etc. are great places.  I also like to may a simple photo and make it my wallpaper on my phone.
  4. Affirmations as a practice. Recording your voice on your phone and listening to yourself speak the affirmation is a great way to reinforce your intention. There are also some awesome apps you can get on your phone that remind you throughout the day to pause and listen to your affirmations.  Setting aside five minutes each morning to get still, quiet, and then repeat them in your meditation practice is also wonderful. If you want to incorporate the mantra/affirmation into your japa meditation practice, this can be incredibly powerful as well.  Basically, find a way that works for you to repeat the affirmations as often as you can.
  5. Be deliberate with your actions. Setting an intention is an amazing way to create the life you want, and deserve, but sitting back and expecting the Universe to plop it into your lap is a set up for a big-time disappointment. Manifesting and creating also take effort on your part.  Let’s say you want a healthy body.  Speaking about it but continuing to be a couch potato and indulging on cheeto’s probably isn’t going to make that happen.  Expecting or desiring to have a steady source of income while absorbing yourself in leisure activities (TV, video games, reading novels, going fishing), isn’t going to make a lot of financial deposits. The truth is, whatever you desire in your life,  you first have to FEEL you deserve it so begin sort through those common feelings of not being enough now because it’s blocking your flow, FEEL it in every cell of your being when you speak it as if it has already happened, and FEEL so strongly about it that you begin to take mindful and deliberate actions steps towards making it happen.  That is what we know as co-creating.
  6. Gratitude. Without a solid a practice of gratitude all the affirmations in the world aren’t going to make a difference. And by solid, I mean a deliberate and consistent sitting down and acknowledging all the good in your life. Remember, what you focus on is what you’re inviting in. So, the more you focus on your abundance the more you will have. So simple.

Now, it is time to get busy. What do you want to create?

When a person really desires something all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.

Photosensitive Essential Oils

When I first started using essential oils I had no idea that some oils could cause a burn. Crazy, right?

As we head into warmer months and more outside time, remember that some oils are photosensitive and cause a reaction that is uncomfortable when combined with sunlight.

Be mindful when applying the following if you plan to be in the sun. You can still use them, just apply on the feet or a covered area or take internally (I only ingest pure, certified therapeutic grade oils that I am positive have been tested).

Check out this gorgeous ebook for the basics and be sure to drop me a message if you’re not sure which oils are safe  I’m happy to help.

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Freedom

We have all heard of the metaphors of feeling stuck in a cage and not able to be free to fly, or the imprisoning walls that have been built around us. The brick and mortar is often what we place around ourselves that create our own version of prison.  These can include negativity, questions of worthiness, regrets of the past and worries of the future. Similarly the key to the cage that we so often feel trapped in resides in our own hands. It is our choice to stay in the cage or take the key and unlock it.  No matter what circumstance we are in, we ultimately have choice in what we do with it.

We are not our circumstances, instead we are our possibilities. 

As I was planning this month’s classes around the concept of freedom and being liberated, I received a message from a dear friend whose young daughter was just diagnosed with autism. Heartbreaking as those initial words were, I saw within a few short days a woman take on this experience like that of a true champion.  Sure, she cried her eyes out and felt fear for the unknown.  We all do when we hear those words.  The first thing I did was send her the Welcome to Holland Poem.  Then we talked awhile about what may lie ahead as she leaned on my experience to help her navigate the first few steps on this new and scary journey. Then she got busy.

She certainly could have felt like this news was a giant reason to give up and stay stuck.  Many do.  She however, in her warrior spirit, immediately saw a need to advocate and start asking questions about services and community integration for her sweet little girl.  She took this as a chance to make a difference in the lives of her daughter and others.

That is what freedom is.

Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. My friend refuses to feel imprisoned by this diagnosis and she will use the power of her light to act and speak without restraint.

This is just one of a million examples of how we can feel stuck, trapped, locked in, or caged.  Whether it is a relationship, a job, a location or a belief you have about yourself, WE have the power to act, speak and think without restraint and hindrance.  We are in control of what we do with our circumstances.

Do you feel imprisoned?  Are you the one laying the bricks down and filling them with mortar?  Do you hold the key in your hand and refuse to unlock the door?

What would freedom feel like? This month we are going to chisel away the beliefs and fear that build a wall around ourselves.  We are going to slip the key into the lock and learn to fly. We are going to feel free.

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The Joy

I want to know if you can be with joy, 

mine or your own, 

if you can dance with wildness

and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your

fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful, 

to be realistic, 

to remember the limitation of being human.

This week on the mat (or in the chair) we will be looking at joy and the choice we have to feel the smallest and greatest moments of joy in life without cautioning us to be realistic or careful or limited. To actually FEEL the joy that is within and who we are.  To say yes to the moments in life that bring complete joy.

Are you paying attention to joy? Tell me about a moment of joy in your life.

The moments of joy that stop you and pull you from the daily tasks that have become mundane and automatic.  Those moments that fill you with ecstasy and consume your entire being.

“…..Moments of mystical union can tempt us to spend our lives searching for those peak experiences and leave us unable or willing to receive the same joy where it is offered in the simpler experiences…” (Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

Joy finds us in the moments of elation when we feel a connection; to another, to ourselves, to the world and to the greater Mystery of life.  When we touch that part of ourselves that brings us directly into the face of our purpose.

And yet, as humans we so often deny our joy.  Our lives have so accustomed to feeling pain in the form of disappointments, resentments and past hurts.  We have lost the connection to the inner joy that is who we are. And what is our divine birthright.

For me, I want to cultivate and grow a deeper sense of joy in my life.  If it comes in the beauty of the sunrise or the sensation of another person’s touch, I don’t want to miss a second of joy.  I want to savor the moments of joy and fully embrace the pleasures of being alive.

I also know for me one source of  deep joy is found in my work.  Somehow we have been taught that to have too much of sense of greatness we will not have the concept of humility.  I disagree.  I choose to not diminish my abilities and my gifts.  I refuse to shrink back again.  I refuse to play small.

Small and joy do not coincide.

Sometimes we find that we expect too little joy in life and we settle for less.  In doing this, our soul is stifled.  Our soul becomes submerged in the litany of excuses that make up reasons as to why we can’t, or shouldn’t.

But life is so incredibly short.  And ultimately joy is a choice.

So tell me about a joy in your life.  Maybe one that came unexpectedly. A moment that you did not know was coming. The joy that caught you by surprise.

This is the work of the soul.  To find those inner caverns of ourselves and be willing to seek how we fit into the world.  It is searching to find that which we are made for and to say yes to joy.

The Fear

“…it doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive..”

Our age defines how long we have walked this earth but not what we have done with this precious time. Being alive isn’t enough.  Truly living and taking the risks for our dreams and for our longings is our divine responsibility.  Fear is part of being fully alive.

The longing must be larger than the fear. The desires must be more than the risks to look like a fool for your dreams.

Part of facing the fears is that we must also learn to let go and surrender.

Are you willing to surrender the way you have seen yourself and how others may have seen you?  You know, those labels and temporary identifiers that we have inherited over time; mother, friend, employee, father, etc.  Although we value these, their dominance in our lives can sometimes not allow us to live out the other aspects of our lives.  The calling of the soul is not particularly concerned with the day-to-day responsibilities like packing lunches, paying bills and cleaning the house.

All of our deepest desires are our soul’s way of calling us back to simply being who we are.  To move forward with our desires we have to allow ourselves to stumble and to fall. If we are truly awake, we can catch glimpses of profound wisdom that gets lost in the daily experiences and that may lead us back to ourselves.

Think of something you deeply desire. Feel what it will feel like to have this.  Touch that place in your that knows this desire.  Now, look at the fear that takes up space from where you are now and where that destiny is fulfilled. Feel that space filled with fear and identify what it is.

For me, I desire freedom.  I desire connection.  I desire living my purpose.

I fear failing.  I fear letting people down.  I fear loss.  I fear instability.

Are you willing to look like a fool and risk moving through the fears to get your desires? I am and gladly walk alongside anyone willing to do the same. Consider joining me this week in my yoga classes to explore this on the mat.

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How Fast Do Essential Oils Work

The power of essential oils is so incredible. In my personal use and in my yoga business I see this over and over.  A simple sniff of an essential oil can quickly bring a desired benefit. Since a part of our brain known as the amygdala responds to aroma and is essentially responsible for our emotions, state of arousal and memories smelling something can send a natural hormone response in the brain to produce certain hormones that can influence our moods. Think dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. 

Your sense of smell is much more accurate than any of your other senses. Your ability to smell comes from sensory cells called Olfactory Sensory Neurons, found in a small patch of tissue very high in your nose. Those cells connect to your brain.

Each of those sensory neurons has one odor receptor – and molecules released by substances around us stimulate these receptors. Once your neurons detect your molecules, they send messages to your limbic lobe of your brain.

Our sense of smell is 10,000 more sensitive than our other senses. Scent travels faster to the brain with smell than it does with sight, or even sound.

The limbic lobe is a group of brain structures that is below the cortex of the brain – it includes the amygdala and the hippocampus. Your limbic lobe (system of brain structures) is directly connected to the parts of your brain that control many aspects of your body – hormone levels, stress, memory, breathing, heart rate, and more.

The only way to stimulate the emotional brain is through your sense of smell – which is one of the reasons why Essential Oils can work so incredibly well. Feelings of depression, fear, anger, happiness, joy and even anxiety all originate from the limbic lobe of the brain.

Essential Oils can help alleviate symptoms at a cellular level through their therapeutic properties–because that stimulation of hormones and chemicals can drastically affect physiology and behavior.

Essential Oils can be stimulating (Peppermint), calming (Lavender), sedative (Cedarwood), balancing (Frankincense, and so much more.  

Look at how fast essential oils work in the body.  Remarkable, huh?

Enjoy this free ebook on essential oil basics. Enjoy!

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