The Power of I: Intuition & Intention Setting
Ever since I was a little girl countless people have referred to me as an old soul. Being an old soul is often associated with having experience, wisdom, or a deeper understanding of the world around you. Am I an old soul simply because of all I have experienced, and been witness to, in my mere 29 years? Furthermore, many believe old souls are individuals who have learned from past lives or even incarnations. At the end of my open heart surgery when I was 4 years old my medical team went to take me off of the heart-lung machine, which temporarily takes over the function of the heart and lungs during open heart surgery when the heart is fully stopped. When they went to restart my heart they were unable to do so. A member of the team came out of the OR to deliver the devastating news to my family; I was technically dead on the table. Yet my family and our minister said a prayer, the doctors tried some last-ditch efforts, and finally, after one last shot of epinephrine, my heart restarted. Where might my soul have gone during that time? Where might it have been prior? These are things that I'll never know. I do know, however, that I certainly identify as an old soul. And as a part of that, I have always had a very powerful intuition.
Intuition is defined as "the ability to understand immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning." It's that gut feeling we get, that powerful sensation of just innately knowing or feeling something so incredibly strongly. I think it's important to note that while I have always had these strong intuitive thoughts, I often struggle with harnessing these feelings into clear and concise wording. Rather, I just have these powerful "bad vibes" and often come off as a b*tch when trying to articulate them. There was the lawn guy who horribly ripped my mom off, the contractor she swore by who we later learned was a criminal, and a number of other individuals who ended up being nothing but bad, bad news. Within moments of meeting these individuals, I knew instantly that something wasn't right. I could go on and on with countless examples. I've always had a very strong intuition about my own health as well. A few years ago I had 3 blood clots in my leg. The telltale symptoms of venous clots are almost always the area being quite red, warm to the touch, and swollen. I was experiencing leg pain, but virtually no swelling, redness, or warmth. Yet I knew INSTANTLY that I had blood clots. Fast forward to the last 6-9 months where I had the unshakeable fear that something awful was going to happen to Mike. I felt it so powerfully; it tanked my mental health and became all consuming. Yet everyone, including Mike, thought I was being irrational. Overly anxious. Mike is young and had just totally revamped his health. What could possibly go wrong? Even stranger, I was convinced that something was going to happen to him when he was out running or working out. Would he get hit by a car? Would he get attacked by some rogue assaulter? How crazy is it that we ended up finding out about Mike's undiagnosed heart defects (see my last post from 12/29/17 for all those crazy details) and his defect is the one you hear about when seemingly perfectly healthy athletes or individuals drop dead on the spot while running or working out?!?! MIND. BLOWN.
After Mike's traumatizing 911 episode and resulting CHD diagnosis, we took a mental health hiatus for a few days where we disconnected and forgot the world. Everything seemed to be spinning completely out of our control. The question became – what COULD we control? Within every storm, there is intention, strength, and beauty. We decided to start a list of intentions for 2018. It is crucial to note that intentions are quite different than resolutions. Our goal wasn't to start some unattainable New Year's Resolutions list that would most likely be in the trash by January 31st. This list isn't comprised of the stereotypical "work out at least 3 times a week" or "totally cut out sugar" but rather aimed to set forth guiding principles for how we truly wanted to live our lives. The energy we wanted to put out. Melissa Eisler wrote an article all about intention setting on mindfulminutes.com a few years back and I just loved her definition of an intention. "An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to be, live, and show up in the world". As one of my favorite bloggers, Jordan Younger AKA The Balanced Blonde has outlined in so many of her posts this past month, intention setting is the key to manifesting what you want in your life. Mike and I ended up filling almost two journal pages front to back with our 2018 intentions. I certainly won't bore you with them all, but below are some of the prominent ones:
*Commit to a daily gratitude practice
*Increase rest and rejuvenation and engage in at least one act of self-care daily
*Simplify and declutter our home, work towards a more minimalist lifestyle
*Focus on being united, not divided
*Volunteer at least once a quarter
*Eliminate toxic relationships
*Establish (and maintain!) boundaries - don't be afraid to say "NO!"
*Fuel our bodies with the best possible nutrition (Thank you On Target Living!)
*Focus on developing our passions (aka this blog!!!)
*Do something kind for someone else daily
On one of my morning rides in last week, we were listening to the Podcast "Healing Physical Pain, Finding Your Core and Movement As a Spiritual Practice" with Lara Heimann (From the Heart, Conversations with Yoga Girl podcast series) and I was immediately brought back to my intention to move more. The crux of the episode is about getting into your body, doing what feels good, and embracing your core and inner power. I had an hour plus to kill and was planning on cozying up at the coffee shop. But I felt so inspired and ended up going on a power walk. It was a mere 30 degrees out and the wind chill was INSANE – but boy did it feel good to just move. I truly appreciated the brisk air numbing my face, the fresh air filling my lungs. Yes I was freezing my butt off but my legs were working, my heart was pumping, the sun was shining and the entire time I focused on just being alive. After I was done, cuddling up in the coffee shop (with an iced coffee, because, I mean...iced coffee or bust) was all that more rewarding.
I bring this up because it's all about balance. Yes, that was my morning, but the night before I watched 3 straight hours of tv and barely moved. Why? Because at that point, that was what my body needed. I always come back to Allison's wisdom to "ditch the perfectionist chatter" – like everything else your intentions are a work in progress and none of us are perfect.
Below are a few quick tips for setting your own intentions!
*Handwrite your list. The power of the written word is not to be underestimated. The Balanced Blonde suggests color coding your intentions as well, which I love.
*Write your list in a place that means something to you. Whether it's on your yoga mat, in your favorite room of your house, by the water or outdoors, chose your spot to craft this list with intention. When you are in a place where you feel meaningful and connected you'll be met with greater inspiration and success.
*Post it where you can see it
*Once you've written it, make a point to then read it out loud. The spoken word is just as powerful as the written word.
*Review your list frequently. Mike and I are aiming to review at least weekly, but I'd like to get that down to a daily review.
*Remember your list is fluid. Add things as you see fit!
*Applaud your accomplishments, don't beat yourself up if you aren't hitting every single intention right away or every day.
Trust your intuition. Listen to yourself. Remember, energy and vibes don't lie. Put out the energy you wish to receive back. What are your intentions for 2018?! Share them with us below!