This category contains the intention-setting ideas from the monthly newsletter.

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Support Your Overall Wellness

National Wellness Month!

August has most of us experiencing “the heat” of summer, which makes us humans a little edgier and more prone to irritability, even more so during a pandemic that just won’t go away!  Heat, of all kinds, makes us uncomfortable.  Physical heat has been shown to elevate levels of cortisol in our bodies.  So what might we “do” to make ourselves more comfortable this summer – and perhaps for a lifetime?

National Wellness Month encourages us to focus on our self-care. When we do so, we are actively participating in reducing our stress and keeping us aligned with our authentic self, the one that reflects your inner strength through vulnerability and open-heartedness.  Unfortunately, many of us have been told that self-care is selfish, so we put ourselves last on our list of responsibilities.  When we don’t prioritize our self-care, we disconnect from our authentic self and expose ourselves to toxic stress, making us uncomfortable in our own skins.

To honor August as National Wellness Month, below are intention-setting ideas for you to consider that might support your level of comfort in your own skin, even in the heat, by reinforcing the connection to your authentic self:

  1. Find Your Passion.  Many of us might ask, how do I recognize my authentic self?  Well, a simple place to start is to identify what energizes you.  We engage in a lot of activities, by ourselves and with others, but don’t check-in with ourselves afterwards.  So perhaps taking some time to simply sit with yourself and check-in with your energy level after “doing” something.  Each time you do so, you will begin to identify activities and people that either leave you feeling “up” or “down”.   Consider starting two lists – one to track the uplifting and one for the draining.  Once you have identified several uplifting, energizing activities, perhaps see if you might find a common thread between them.
  2. Find Your Tribe.  I read once that the only difference between ‘illness’ and ‘wellness’ is moving from ‘I’ to ‘We’. To stay connected to your authentic self it is important to build your social support system.  Once we better understood that humans are wired for connection, the culture of independence has been questioned.  We are an interdependent species, so consider taking inventory of your social circle and put a plan in place to surround yourself with supportive people who energize you by encouraging your authentic self to shine. Perhaps find a group to join that represents your core values or set healthy boundaries around how much time and attention you give people who are naysayers.
  3. Find Your Peace.  Our culture of striving – to do more, for perfection, to be accepted – keeps us in a place of unease and disconnected from our authentic self.  Accepting our limitations as the flawed human beings we are is a starting point for attaining more inner peace.  Consider giving yourself more patience and compassion, acting like you are your best friend, talking to yourself like you are talking to your best friend.  Try it for day and check in.  Then perhaps try it for week and check in again.  Take note of what holds you back from being your own best friend.
  4. Find Your Flow. What are some simple daily self-care activities you can add to your schedule?  Perhaps it is drinking more water or making sure to eat breakfast.  Maybe it is to do a 10 minute yoga or meditation practice in the morning.  Consider keeping it real simple and adding just one practice to your day to start.  Check in.  If you are feeling more in the flow and more connected to your authentic self in those moments, consider adding another one the following week.  Take it slow and don’t forget to give yourself patience and compassion during the exploration.
  5. Find Your Purpose.  When we are able to challenge the belief that self-care is selfish, we can begin to hear our supportive inner voice guiding us forward.  Often times it is our inner critic that is so loud we can’t hear our authentic self speaking in our ear.  Creating those self-care opportunities allows for our supportive inner voice to be heard.  We need opportunities to hear that voice to identify what motivates us from the inside, those desires that reside in our hearts.  If you considered Find Your Passion above, perhaps you were able to identify a common thread in those activities and people that energize you.  Your heart’s desire is what it longs for most for you in this world.  When we can align our decisions and actions with our heart’s dream for us, we can find our purpose for getting up each morning and doing what it takes to stay connected to our authentic self.  Once aligned and connected, wellness is found in abundance all around us!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Celebrate Our Differences

July is Disability Pride Month!

President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990.  This law is one of those major milestones in our history as it prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.  It is the official recognition that valuing and respecting each individual uniqueness is our collective strength.

In order to continue to raise the collective consciousness around diversity and inclusion, July presents an opportunity to continue the celebration coming off the heel’s of June’s LGBTQA+ Pride Month.  It is only when each of us can truly honor all differences as normal, natural and beautiful that the soil in which we grow becomes richer, where the seeds of acceptance, belonging, compassion and connection are able to blossom in all their glory.

Therefore, below are intention-setting ideas for you to consider as you reflect on your relationship with disabilities and how you might honor and contribute to the elevation of the collective consciousness:

  1. NOT ‘Special’ Needs.  All humans have basic needs, whether abled or disabled, so saying someone has “special” needs feels shaming, similar to the feeling that arises when suggesting someone is “needy”, like they are a burden.  To reduce stigmatization, consider embracing “disabled” or someone “having a disability” moving forward.
  2. A Different Perspective.  For those that travel to other parts of the country or world, reflect on why it is you enjoy travel so much.  For me, it is, in large part, the opportunity to experience a different culture that enriches my life with new perspectives or views of the world.  I learn so much in those moments.  Well, considering doing an “immersion” into a disability to learn how people with such a disability see and experience the world.  Not only might you learn something new, you might just find that you are forever changed!
  3. Awareness to Ableism.  By leaning into (and not away from) becoming more aware of the myriad of disabilities, it grows your own awareness of systemic ableism, which is simply the discrimination that people with disabilities experience.   Abled body-mind people take so much for granted, without much thought.  Consider trying an exercise, perhaps alone or with your family, where someone in the family selects a disability to experience for a few hours or even a day.  Afterwards, journal about what you experienced, including how it made you feel and share it with each other or someone else.
  4. Attend an Event.  Consider attending a Disability Pride event this month.  If you can’t find a local event, perhaps a parade, to participate in, virtual opportunities are available.  Increasing visibility by adding your able voice in the demand for equal access for all is mission critical.  Becoming more actively involved supports the growing counter-culture that respects and values the worth of all people equally.  Easterseals is hosting a virtual parade on July 26th to celebrate Disability Pride.
  5. Read Up on the Experience of Disability.  Perhaps the most energy and time you have at the moment is simply to read a book to expand your consciousness this month.  Consider Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong.  Then perhaps recommend it to a friend or two!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Support LGBTQ+ Communities

June is Pride Month!

This month we all have an opportunity to reflect on and perhaps learn more about the challenges endured by our LGBTQ+ communities and show our support.  To kick off this journey, perhaps start by reading the POTUS’ Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month, 2021.

According to the American Psychiatric Association‘s Mental Health Disparities data:

  • LGBTQ individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexual men and women to have a mental health disorder in their lifetime.
  • LGBTQ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals.
  • The rate of suicide attempts is four times greater for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and two times greater for questioning youth than that of heterosexual youth.
  • Transgender individuals who identify as African American/black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Multiracial/Mixed Race are at increased risk of suicide attempts than white transgender individuals.
How might we support these communities and more actively align with our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.?  Below are some intention-setting ideas for your consideration:
  1. Act as a Scholar.  Educating ourselves is always a good first step when venturing into spaces of diversity.  And when interested in engaging in conversations, it is vital to understand any unique terminology that might impact our ability to effectively communicate.  If you don’t know where to start, The Trevor Project created an online glossary to help us out with the rapidly expanding terminology.  Consider taking a look at this glossary and perhaps sharing the link with others.
  2. Take and even deeper dive.  Perhaps consider watching a documentary or series that presents queer history and current struggles to connect to the LGBTQ+ community.  Below are a few suggestions:
    • Before Stonewall
    • Stonewall Uprising
    • Pride Docuseries
    • Disclosure
    • Tongues Untied
  3. Display a Pride Flag It not just the rainbow anymore.  There are a multitude of flags that can be flown in support of the LGBTQ+ community.  Not familiar with them?  No worries, this USA Today article will bring you up to speed.  After reading the article, perhaps intentionally buying one of choice and putting it out to increase visibility and build the momentum of this movement.
  4. Join a Pride March.  Consider participating in a Pride March this month as an opportunity to show support, to observe, listen and be educated.  You can do a simple Internet search to find one in your local area.  Perhaps invite a friend or two to go along with you!
  5. Be a Confidant.  As an Ally, when someone from the LBGTQ+ trusts you enough to have the courage to share a part of their story with you, listen with the sole/soul intention to understand.  Be curious and ask questions when someone describes an experience you have not had.  Don’t follow up with your own story that you think might be similar to try to demonstrate your understanding.  Instead, simply believe their story and thank them for sharing it with you!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Support Your Transition Back Out Into the World

As Mother Earth is re-emerging from her cold winter slumber, I too am beginning to explore how to reenter the world during this season.  I have found this process more challenging this year, due to so many unknowns.  Yes, we have learned a lot about Covid-19 over the past year, and yet there is still so much to learn.  And, although vaccinations are rolling out, we are learning that a booster shot will be needed before the end of the year and yearly vaccinations might be in our futures, like the annual flu shot.  The safety guidelines continue to evolve as do the variants of this virus!  So it is no wonder that many of us may be feeling some relief while also continuing to feel confused and anxious.

There is no ‘right’ way to navigate these unchartered waters as the storm is still brewing all around us.  Each of us must discern for ourselves and our families what is the best course to take based upon your tolerance for risk.  I sometimes think it might be compared with how you use money to build wealth.  Some of us with a low tolerance for risk (Me!), consider options such as stuffing our savings under our mattress, putting it into a savings account or perhaps investing it into low-risk bonds through a investment firm.  Others with a high tolerance for risk might consider investing in high-return stocks or even trying their luck at the casino!  There is certainly no one-size fits all when it comes to mapping out a course forward.

Therefore, below are intention-setting ideas for you to consider as you begin to explore the next part of your journey that might have you venturing out a bit further from your home this season:

  1. You’re not alone.  Sometimes we feel – or even believe – we are the only ones thinking and/or feeling this way.  Know that it is normal and natural to experience some level of fear when facing the unknown, as fear is protective.   What we don’t want is for fear to immobilize us, disconnecting us from our authentic self and the ones we love.  So, perhaps the first step on this journey of re-emerging is to simply remind ourselves that we are not alone in our hesitancy to take steps when it is uncertain where those steps might take us.
  2. Be gentle with yourself.  There is no need to force yourself into spaces that feel uncomfortable or beat yourself up if others appear to be moving forward with ease, yet you are finding yourself still holding back.  For those who know me, you have heard me say often, all in divine time.  Perhaps set an intention around an activity that you would like to participate in, yet are not sure if you are quite ready to venture into that place.  Spend some time visualizing yourself being engaged in the activity, seeing who will be there, and where it will occur.  Also consider exit strategies, ensuring you have options for extracting yourself should you decide to leave early if it does not unfold as anticipated.  Then, if you still decide to not join this time, remind yourself that if it is important to you, there will be a next time.
  3. Wade into the shallow end.  There is no requirement to jump into the deep end of the pool, returning to life as you knew it before the pandemic.  Start small and then check in with yourself.  Perhaps you haven’t eaten out at a restaurant since last March.  Instead of being seated inside, insist on a table outside and in the sunshine.  Instead of planning to meet several friends, invite one friend that may also be willing to explore the shallow end of the pool with you.  Discuss ways that you will behave to ensure your safety, such as how you will greet each other, bringing alcohol wipes to clean the silverware, glassware and your hands, and mask wearing.  Be sure to check in with yourself – mind and body – afterwards, to sense into what it was like for you to take this step.
  4. Identify new ways of being.  I know there are some ways of being that I am grateful will not be returning (at least for me), such as the handshake.  I also know there are some ways of being that I am grateful the pandemic has reinforced, such as hand washing and 6-foot personal space. Now is the time to discern new ways of being that feel integrated and supportive as we take those steps forward in our return to greater social connection with others.  So consider which behavioral changes might have been forced upon you in the past year, like wearing face masks, and decide which ones you might want to continue into the future, perhaps forever.  My plan is to wear face masks whenever I travel again, as it reduces the likelihood of me getting sick (no matter if it is from a head cold, flu or worse) period.
  5. Seek greater meaning.  Perhaps spends some time before venturing out to consider what you may have learned about yourself during this past year, “due to the pandemic”.  These four words have become the (perhaps dreaded) go-to excuse for why things have changed, so why not consider how this past year created change within you.  Perhaps it allowed you to accept your introverted part more or your ability to tolerate uncertainty grew stronger.  All of us have been changed in some way, now is the time to honor those changes.  As many of us lost loved ones, perhaps you embraced your resilient part that tapped into the collective belief that all is as it should be, it is not all bad or all good, that good things do come out of tragedy.  Perhaps spend some time out in Mother nature, being inspired by all of the changes around you this spring season, and write down at least one (but if more arise, don’t stop) area of your life where you experienced personal growth “due to the pandemic” that fills your heart with gratitude!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Cultivate Compassion

More and more research is suggesting that compassion is the antidote to what ails us as humans, both individually and on a larger societal level.  So, if the answer is simple (yet perhaps not so easy), how might we contribute to the healing of the world that has such a compassion-deficit at this time?

We must first acknowledge that as humans, we experience fear and pain, which open the door to suffering.  Whether the fear and pain are experienced physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and/or spiritually, they cannot be avoided.  It is part of the human condition.  Suffering, on the other hand, is something that can be avoided.  Suffering is a response – or choice – to the fear and pain.  The practice of compassion has been shown to trigger the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the happy hormone.  Any increase in happiness reduces the experience of suffering.

Next, we must consciously tap into our heart space and exercise our compassion muscles to keep them active and strong.  Therefore, below I provide intention-setting ideas to help support the cultivation of compassion in your own life, so that you can spread the happiness around.  I hope you will consider trying one!

  1. Practice a loving kindness meditation.  With the expanding research base around the health benefits of compassion, many sites offer loving kindness or compassion meditations.  Simply set an intention to establish a regular practice of finding yourself in a space of comfort and quiet and listen to one.  When listening at first, it might seem awkward or unnatural, especially when offering yourself compassion.  However, remember that it is a practice and, with time, the effects begin to show up in your everyday interactions.  Don’t give up!
  2. Soften judgment.  The natural human survival instinct creates judgment.  Therefore, it takes work to transform judgment into discernment.  Judgment grows from a perceived power differential.  It is unconscious and reactive.  Judgment is a reaction from fear, insecurity, jealousy or ignorance.  On the other hand, discernment grows from a conscious and more thoughtful garden, where the seeds of clear perception and insight grow.  The flowers that bloom guide us to distinguish what is appropriate and inappropriate, healthy and unhealthy and the choices we make are not only good for us, but often for the good of others.  Through the clear perception of discernment, we can make good choices without having to label ourselves as better (or worse) than anyone else.  So consider the next time you catch yourself making a judgment (He’s such a jerk!), reflecting on a time when you too may have acted in a similar manner.  Sit with the experience and see if you are able to identify why you acted that way.  Was it out of fear or insecurity?  Or something else?  The more conscious you can make the unconscious motivations behind our judgments, the softer they become, opening the doors wide to compassion for others that are suffering, as well as for ourselves.
  3. Listen deeply.  Listening to others deeply is a tool that opens the gate to compassion.  When you allow someone to be fully heard, without interrupting or planning a response, you create a sacred space for them to truly witness themselves, perhaps for the first time.  Most of us, when engaging with others, allow our unconscious, reactive judgment (see above) lead us in the conversation, jumping to a solution to fix what ails the other; however, that simply implies that something is broken (or even that they are broken), often putting them on the defensive and perhaps even shutting down the conversation.  When we listen deeply, we begin to see ourselves in the other, recognizing the common pain we all experience as humans.  When we are able to hear our common humanity, with all of its limitations, we are more easily able to lean into the softness of compassion.  Consider trying this the next time a friend calls and is suffering.  Challenge yourself to simply sit with the suffering and perhaps acknowledge the pain by saying something like “Wow, that sounds really painful.” without offering any fixes and watch what unfolds.
  4. Heal your trauma.  As the majority of the world has experienced trauma of some sort or another, most of us have some work to do in this area.  Be open to the idea of allowing your warrior part to guide you on the journey to discover the parts of yourself that have been shut down or out, allowing them to have some conscious air time to express their need to feel connected.  Until we heal our own internal conflicts from our past traumas, we are likely to hurt others, even if unconsciously or unintentionally.  This work can be hard, yet amazingly beautiful.  So if you might want some support, perhaps consider reaching out to a spiritual or life coach or therapist.  Through this work, we invite compassion for those parts of ourselves that carry the burden of our past traumas, like we would offer compassion to another.
  5. Practice radical self-care.  So many of us were taught that if we take care of ourselves first or prioritize our needs over others, we are selfish.  I’m here to debunk that myth!  It is my experience that most of us don’t even know what are needs are because we are in a mind set of taking care of the needs of others.  What happens if we don’t identify our needs and focus instead only on the needs of others?  We become exhausted, irritable, anxious or shut-down.  We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves first if we truly want to take care of others.  When we experience powerful negative emotions, it is typically a sign that our needs are not being honored.  Therefore, I recommend exploring and identifying your needs as the first radical self-care step.  Or perhaps consider looking up the definitions of selfish and self-care to gain a better awareness of the differences.  When you are able to understand that you can be thoughtful of others AND prioritize your needs first, you are paving the road for compassion to replace fear in your heart!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Build Courage This Spring

The fear that this pandemic has created is palpable.  It is impacting all of us in some way.  It is tapping into our primal sense of survival and bringing up stuff we thought was resolved long ago, but was perhaps simply hidden from view.  Well as the days begin to grow longer, the light and warmth of the spring invite us to move through the darkness, face our fears and step into the light.

But how do we gather the courage to do so?

Below I provide intention-setting ideas on how to exercise our courage muscle (think your heart) in a healthy way to reduce the control fear has on your life, inviting in more confidence, joy and peace.  I hope you will consider trying one!

  1. Give fear a voice.  Remember when you were little and you were afraid that there were monsters under the bed or in the closet?  Well, they were scary because we couldn’t see them.  So, consider writing your fears down, giving them a name such as “failure”, “success”, “death”, “rejection”, “abandonment”, “vulnerability”, “dependence”, “emotions”, whatever it might be that stops you cold or wakes you up in the middle of the night.  Simply by identifying the fear with a name shines a light on it, taking it out of the dark and zapping it of some of its strength to hold you back from living your life more fully in the present moment.
  2. Observe fear.  When we can sit with our fear for a few minutes, get curious about it.  Perhaps pose one or more of the 5 Ws and H questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How) to this fear.  For example, perhaps ask it “Who gave you to me?, What do you want to tell me?, Where was I when I first remember recognizing you? Why might I need you? and/or How did you protect me in the past?”.  Fear is a normal, natural part of being a human and it does serve and protect.  It is when it leads our life that it hinders our ability to experience confidence and joy, which are also normal, natural parts of being human.  The more you are able to befriend your fear, again the less dominant it will be.
  3. Share.  Another powerful way to reduce the impact of fear is to share your fear with another person, whether it is a friend or an objective counselor.  By verbalizing your fear to another, you take back some of your power that it has taken from you because you now can call it out – it can no longer hide in the dark.  It reduces any shame that might be present from experiencing fear, because it challenges the belief that there must be something wrong with us if we have this fear.  Remember, fear is a normal, natural part of being human.
  4. Visualize.  Another tool to reduce the amount of power fear has in our lives is to visualize what it might look like to be fearless in the face of your fear.  To support your visualization efforts, consider creating a vision board that will contain images and words that challenge your fear, that reflect your inner courage and strength to face your fear.  Once created, remember to place your vision board somewhere you can see it everyday.  I keep mine by my vanity, so I see it each morning when brushing my teeth!
  5. Take action.  One of the most powerful antidotes to fear is acting in the face of fear, to slay the dragon so to speak.  Now the action does not need to be something big, a small step forward is enough to exercise the courage muscle, giving it new found strength to take another small step.  So, if you are not sure where to start, go back up to the intention-setting ideas above, and pick one to try out.  Our fears may not ever be completely extinguished, yet, when we can look deeply at them, we take back our power and fear will no longer run the show from the shadows.

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Embrace Your Values

Our culture informs us that our needs are not important and instead suggests that it is better to focus on the needs of others.  However, what if I were to say that our needs are our personal values.  Would that make a difference in how you think about and embrace your needs?

As humans, we all have needs.  It might be the need for beauty in our lives or the need to be treated respectfully.  Having needs or values does NOT mean you are needy or selfish!

Why is any of this important?  Why am I focusing on this topic?  Well, because embracing our personal values is a huge step forward in finding and maintaining inner peace.  Being unaware of our values can be compared to driving our car without a destination in mind, where it might appear to others that we are moving ahead, yet we actually feel lost or overwhelmed.

So, below for each benefit of embracing your values, I have also included an exercise to help you identify yours for yourself.  If you have done this in the past, it might be fun to try it again, as your values do evolve as you change and grow.  I hope you will consider trying one!

  1. Become More Self-Aware.  If you have not spent some time in reflection on what is important to you – and are unable to name your top 5 values – then you might feel confused when your reaction to something seems disproportionate to the stimulus.  Everyone holds a core set of personal values that influence – conscious or not – our priorities and reactions.  One way to identify your core values is to consider choices or decisions you have made in the past.  Perhaps consider journaling about several major and minor decisions you have made recently in your life and write down what factors you used to make these decisions.  As you do so, you may discover a pattern in the factors that played into those decisions.  Maybe you redecorated a room in your home where you decided to create a separate area for yourself that included your favorite picture of a sunset and a place to put fresh flowers with the intention to allow yourself to find yourself there when you need some peace and quiet.  And when deciding where you wanted to take your next vacation, you decided to go by yourself to a remote location “to get away from it all”.  From these decisions, you might draw a conclusion that space and beauty are important values of yours, that when those values are not honored, begin to create a sense of uneasiness inside that is hard to define.
  2. Set Healthy Boundaries.  Healthy boundaries that you set for yourself are basically a reflection of your core values.  Therefore, if you have difficulty in setting such healthy boundaries, it starts with identifying your core values.  Again, perhaps find yourself with your journal and write down your responses to the following:  1) What you can and cannot tolerate; 2) What are the rules you try to live by; 3) What values have been instilled in you from your family environment; 4)  What do you admire in others; 5) What might be a deal-breaker in a relationship (e.g. what would cause you to leave a relationship if it was not respected) and 6) What are the things that were hurtful in your family environment that you would not want repeated in your life as an adult.  What emerges from your journaling are your core values and, from this point, you are able to formulate your healthy boundaries in preparation to communicate those boundaries to others.
  3. Guide Decisions. If you are clear on your values, decision-making becomes much easier.  When presented with a difficult decision, by asking yourself the question of “What would someone who values X do in this situation?” can help guide you to make the choice that aligns best with your core values.  Perhaps sit with someone and create a long list of values (or use Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication Needs Inventory as a starting point). See how many you can come up with!  Then, individually go back and read each one, circling the ones that stand out or really resonate with you.  You can circle as many as you want the first read-through.  Go back a second time and begin to cross off some that don’t seem as important as the others, until you narrow the list down to perhaps around a dozen.  From that point, see if you can put them in the order of importance to you.  Once you have the list, consider sharing your top 5 with the other person, offering examples of how these values guided you in a recent decision you made.
  4. Discover Your Purpose.  Many of us search for a life time to figure out what our purpose is in this incarnation.  I believe we search for such a purpose because purpose and meaning is a universal human need.  However, not all of us had the appropriate guidance to uncover our natural gifts or core values.  Discovering our values can help us to identify our purpose with more clarity.  It is hard to know what you want from life or what you want to offer to the world if you are not clear on what is important to you in life.  Knowing your personal values helps you align what you do with who you are, supporting you in offering your gifts to the world with more confidence and ease.  To assist you in discovering your top 5 values, consider the previous exercise and now imagine you are in a boat with the dozen or so values that resonated with you.  Your boat springs a leak!   As the water starts to rise, the only way to stay afloat is to throw a value overboard.  The water continues to rise – another value must go overboard or you will sink.  The only way to save yourself is to continue to throw your values overboard until you are left with your top 5.  And, if you are feeling really brave, throw all values overboard until you have your top one!
  5. Gain Greater Peace.  As you begin to bring your values with you as guides into all of your relationships, including the one with yourself, you will begin to feel more at peace with the boundaries you set, the decisions you make and the work that you do.  I compare identifying your core values to building the foundation of your home.  If you know a solid foundation has at least four footings, what footings are you building your house upon?  Mine is built upon compassion, gratitude, integrity and thoughtfulness.  I’d love you hear yours!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Improve the Health of Mother Earth

As I finished working on my vision board for the first half of 2021 under the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ on December 21st, a clear intention emerged:  a renewed focus my desire to support the health of Mother Earth, through whatever efforts are available to me.  One of the things the pandemic has brought into our awareness more profoundly is that nature is a key element in maintaining our mental and physical health.  And we all are stewards of our precious resources.

2020 was also the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the ‘Do Just 1 Thing’ campaign was launched, to help individuals to not feel so overwhelmed with the existential threat of global climate change.  If each of us simply embrace just one small thing, together we will have a huge impact on protecting the habitats of wildlife, cleaning up polluted air, water and land, and conserving out natural resources.

So, below I have listed some intentions, some simple and some offering a stretch.  What one thing might light the fire of your ecological passion?  I hope you will consider trying one!

  1. Practice 3Rs.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  The picture above is the new setup in my kitchen to support this effort moving into 2021.  I’m passionate (maybe a little obsessive some would say) about recycling and am setting the intention to take it up a notch.  Perhaps your kitchen offers the space for the same setup.  If so, I hope you will consider adding it to the project list soon.
  2. Turn Off/Unplug.  If your ecological passion might also tie to saving some money, then consider turning off the lights when you leave the room, turn off the water when brushing your teeth, turn off the car when waiting, and even unplug your appliances when not in use.  Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling.  In fact, leaving your car idle for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine.
  3. Clean up. Since we feel so isolated due to the pandemic, consider participating in a community clean up.  Such efforts can be done wearing a face mask while also maintaining the required physical distancing to ensure safety.  What a way to rev up your internal engine/energy while making a small corner of the world more beautiful!
  4. Buy organic, local and electric.  When we think of the entire food chain system, it is a huge energy consumer.  Fossil fuels are used in the manufacturing of fertilizers, food processing, and the transportation to bring the food to you.  If we buy more local and organic foods we would reduce that fuel consumption and if we all do just a little in this area, together we would increase the market share enough to shift the market dynamics. Also, if you happen to be in the market for a new stove or car in the next few years, consider setting an intention to purchase electric.  I know I am!
  5. Get educated and share.  When you learn more about the movement, you can help others to understand the importance and value of our natural resources.  Consider watching one (or more!) of the 20 best climate change documentaries, including Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, according to Mashable.  If you feel yourself passionate about something you learn, perhaps post it on your social media so others learn that this is an issue that is important to you.  Also, don’t forget to tag the local businesses whose products and services align with your passion, so others can support your efforts and let their money influence the desired change.  Don’t discount the impact that one person can make – if you influence just one other person, the ripple effect can last generations!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Support Counting Your Blessings

This pandemic has no doubt brought change into our lives.  Now the challenge is to see how those changes brought beauty as well.

With all of the loss that we have experienced since March, it can be difficult to see the silver linings in the clouds of grief.  It is in times of loss that I remind myself there must be destruction before conscious construction.  Equinimity can only be achieved when we hold both in our awareness and honor both sides of every coin.

As we enter the month of December, we have entered into the final eclipse season of the year.  In addition to the eclipses, December also brings a rare and special planetary alignment on the 21st that suggests the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, referred to as the Great Conjunction, where Saturn and Jupiter meet at the same degree of the zodiac.  This event is going to kickstart a new era for us human beings, supporting our global intention for equinimity.  (To read more about the Great Conjunction, click here!)

So, below I offer 5 intention-setting tools to support drawing your awareness to the other side of the coin, where there is light in the darkness, wherein there lies beauty.  I hope you will consider trying one!

  1. Reflect.  Consider setting aside some time to sit in reflection with the intention of identifying what has changed for you and how you have navigated that change.  The simple act of labeling what has changed, along with noticing how you responded to it is quite powerful.  What space may have been created by the destructive energy and what filled up that space in the conscious construction phase?  Remember to release any attachment to judgment and keep in mind there were no ‘right answers’ to the question of how best to navigate a pandemic.
  2. Recognize.  If you accomplished something that you have had on your ‘To Do’ list for awhile or maintained a personal goal during this time, perhaps take a moment to give yourself some recognition!  Possibly you learned to cook, a new language, a musical instrument or completed some required CEs, returned to, maintained or expanded your self-care practices or discovered a new found joy in connecting with the other beings living in your space.  We don’t offer take time to congratulate ourselves on our accomplishments and instead tend to minimize them and raise our expectations, sometimes to superhuman impossible-to-meet levels.  Whatever it is we have been able to do during this time, even if it is to get up every morning and do our best to move through the day, celebrate it!!
  3. Reframe.  A simple, yet not-so-easy tool for finding the beauty in the destruction is reframing your experience.  Reframing creates a different way of looking at a situation, trying to consider a different perspective in order to change its meaning.  It’s the old glass half empty/half full scenario.  For me, one of the things I miss most is connecting with friends over tea at a local eatery.  However, the restrictions around indoor dining created space for more outdoor dining, which I absolutely love.  Instead of a local eatery, we started meeting at the beach or at a local park where we could bring our take-out meal and sit on a blanket physically distanced in order to connect.  I could either look at this as an inconvenience or I could look at it as an opportunity to have more picnics in the park.  I reminded myself how this change brought two loves of mine together – eating and nature!  Perhaps take a scenario that has felt disappointing to you and see if you can see it in a different light.  If you are not able to come up with any different perspectives by yourself, consider reaching out to someone and ask them for their perspective.  You might ask more than one person and write down the various angles to stimulate the change in lenses to support future opportunities for reframing.
  4. Reconnect.  With so much restriction in what we can do, it has created opportunities for more being.  So consider who you have been being with more.  Who might have you deepened your connection with – your child, your spouse, yourself, nature?  What have you learned from this chance to reconnect, about yourself, about someone else, about the world in which we live?  We were heading down a pretty disconnected path prior to Covid-19 and the last nine months have shown us clearly that the ideal of independence is a myth.  It has laid bare the fact that humans are wired for connection and has created space for a paradigm shift towards an ideal of interdependence.  In this paradigm shift, we can find space for growth through our relationships.
  5. Refocus.  Destruction often brings what we value most forward into our more conscious minds.  Consider what your priorities were a year ago.  Have they changed in any way? If so, how?  What has that shift in priorities created in your life now?  In a culture that values multi-tasking, it is not uncommon to feel like we had competing priorities, juggling so many balls in the air, that there was no time to focus or give anything our undivided attention.  Perhaps this pandemic caused us to simplify, scale back, reduce, or limit in order to refocus our energy.  This refocused energy often become a powerful force for conscious construction.  What do you want to construct moving forward into the new year?  If it is not quite clear yet, no worries.  Perhaps plan to do a vision board before the end of the year to allow the beauty to be co-created!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Make a Difference

Sometimes things can feel so overwhelming and we think what can one person do when the problems of the world seem so insurmountable?  It is in moments like these that it’s important to remember the social changes that grew from grassroots movements and shaped history.  When we take time to reflect on those social movements, we can tap into the energy to be inspired and motivated to keep doing what we can, whenever we can, and where we can.  It does make a difference!

We don’t need a lot of money to make a difference.  We don’t need to make grand gestures to make a difference.  We don’t need to be in positions of power to make a difference.  All we need is the intention, focus and courage to take some small steps.

Below are intention-setting ideas for making a difference.  I hope you will consider trying one!

  1. VOTE.  The right to vote didn’t come easy and is a shining star in the examples of how grassroots movement created social and political change.  We all need to be active, engaged citizens.  And one way to make a difference is to simply vote.  In addition, perhaps set an intention to encourage and support someone that is eligible to vote for the first time by offering to go to the polls with them to guide them through the process.  See it as an investment in the future.
  2. Vote with your wallet.  Money is a major form of energy exchange.  Where and how we spend our hard-earned dollars matters.  In fact, for each dollar you spend, it represents a vote in favor of what you purchased.  When you begin to view money in this way, and become more conscious of your buying decisions, you can align with purchases that represent your values, perhaps ones that are more socially responsible.  Perhaps understanding this concept will motivate you to purchase only organically grown and humanely raised food or fair-trade goods.
  3. Celebrate World Kindness Day. World Kindness Day is celebrated November 13th and its intention is remind us that compassion is what connects all of us.  The energy of kindness has large and broad ripple effects.  Consider setting an intention to complete one act of kindness every day for one week this month and then commit to noticing how that kindness boomerangs back to you!
  4. Pay it forward.  If you haven’t seen this movie, start by setting an intention to watch it.  From there, try it out, and make World Kindness Day an every day event!
  5. Teach tolerance.  This intention starts from the inside.  When we start with tolerance, move into acceptance and then expand to compassion for ourselves as a human being, we model and become a beacon of light to others.  The process might start by inviting those parts of ourselves that others see as different, even scary, to step forward and sit with us, giving them space to express themselves.  The parts of ourselves we reject won’t go away and, instead, will actually rise up in rebellion unless we really see, hear and value what they have to offer.  The conflict within each of us – with our shadow sides – is reflected in the conflicts of the world.  What we might perceive as a flaw is actually fertile ground for growth.  So the teaching of tolerance starts within us.  It takes courage to tolerate and accept our limitations as spiritual beings having a human experience, yet those limitations do not have to hold us back from our spiritual evolution – which is fueled by compassion and a basic human need to belong.

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!