#52: Intention-setting for Focus in Life, Energetic Rhythms Phase 1
Setting intentions is the initial step in using your body’s rhythms and the moon’s cycle to decide what you want your life to actually be like and to begin to live in a way that aligns with that vision.
Setting intentions is like gathering the seeds of hope for what you want your life to look, sound and feel like. You consciously gather them all up and decide it’s time to plant them, then you put your trust in something greater than yourself to contribute in making them happen, no matter what that might look like.
Working with Your Rhythms
This is the first of a 4-part series on the phases of your Energetic Rhythms. Each week I’ll give you a little more insight into what happens in each phase and how you can use that phase to help you feel at ease and flow with life even when unexpected things come up.
Using your energetic rhythms means you are using your body’s rhythms and the moon’s cycle to get stuff done so that you are flowing with life instead of feeling like you’re constantly living life on the verge of burnout or cycling between burnout and feeling comfortable with life.
First Phase of Energetic Rhythms Cycle: Set Intentions + Rest/Surrender
Today I’ll let you know:
- What intentions are
- Why to set intentions
- Best Time to set intentions
- What intention setting is not
- How to go about setting intentions
ARE: A choice to move consciously towards doing something or creating a particular way of being in life; choosing how to approach or live out something.
ARE NOT: Strict goals to adhere to and if you don’t reach them you feel like a failure
ARE NOT: Items to check off your list to accomplish for the month, although, you can certainly set goals based on what your intentions are
ARE: A way of deciding to practice living in a different way
Why Set Intentions
As you’ve heard me say before, there are 4 phases of your energetic rhythms cycle, really of any life cycle quite honestly. I define them as this 1. Setting Intentions 2. Making a plan and starting to take action 3. Taking intentional action, releasing into the world 4. Observing, reflecting and celebrating what has happened over the past cycle; then starting all over again. More on this in Episodes 39 & 40.
Setting Intentions is the first phase of the Energetic Rhythms Cycle and the initial step to take to begin to use your body’s rhythms and the moon’s cycle to live in flow with your time, energy and focus so that when unexpected things come up you have something to come back to to remind you how you want to be approaching life or living–TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS IN YOUR LIFE!
This Might Be You
Say you’re tired of feeling like you’re living on the verge of burnout–running in a million different directions, feeling like your mind scattered, but stuck where you are because you just don’t quite know what action to take to get unstuck from your situation right now. You have some of tools that help you ground and center yourself, but it’s often hard to find the time or motivation to do them because everything else seems like more of a priority…because the other things seem to impact other people–your kids, your spouse, your clients, your boss, your co-workers…the list goes on.
Sound familiar anyone? I’ve been there for sure.
It’s kinda like…
You’re in a kayak or boat and constantly paddling against the current, away from the impending waterfall that’s up ahead, but you’re not making much progress and life feels really heavy. You just want to feel like you are flowing with life instead of against it. You want to be able to go around the waterfall and get to the bottom where the water is smooth and you can maybe even float a bit without doing much work, yeah?
Setting intentions is the first step in doing just that…allowing yourself to recognize where you are and where you want to be instead then deciding to live in a way that aligns with your vision.
Intentions can be used for anything in life–anything you want to call more of your awareness to. It doesn’t just have to be inviting more flow into your life, that’s just an example.
Although you can really set intentions at any time, there are times when setting intentions is actually working WITH your energy to give you the best possible outcome when you do set them.
When to Set Intentions
Well, one time is with the new moon–the new moon is visible reminder to the world that we are indeed cyclical beings and everything follows this pattern of birth > growth > releasing > and death before being re-born again.
The other is with the start of your menstrual cycle…another visible reminder that we are cyclical beings and have the ability to create life or shed what’s no longer needed each month.
Setting Daily Intentions
Honestly, it’s a good practice to set intentions every day, in my opinion. It’s just a way of aligning with what you know you need to do for the day and what your inner guidance is really wanting to do so you can have a focused approach to the day.
You can do this first thing in the morning by simply taking a few deep breaths to drop into the present moment, then just ask yourself “what is it that I need most today?”
Then the first thing that comes to mind is your first intention; you then ask “and what else?” to get the 2nd and 3rd intentions for the day.
Those intentions the can guide how you set up the rest of your day even if you’ve got a full schedule of things that HAVE to be done.
What This Might Look Like
If one of the intentions that comes to mind is rest, but you know you’ve got a packed schedule, you can consider how can you approach all of those things with the feeling or intention of rest in mind? It might look like you pausing before each commitment for 1-3 minutes of deep breathing, or even taking a quick 5-10 minute “rest” in the car or a comfy chair or even restroom at work in which you close your eyes and just breathe to ground yourself. It might be closing yourself in your room for 5-10 minutes when your spouse gets home to just reset before the evening busy-ness sets in. Maybe it’s just a matter of walking or driving slower to the things you need to do for the day. There are ways to insert your intention into whatever it is that is a must on your schedule…even when it seems impossible. Trust me, 1-2 minutes throughout the day helps a whole lot more than not at all.
So you can set intentions at the start of the day and consider your day as a whole an Energetic Rhythms Cycle, or you can even set intentions at the start of the week for the week and look at your week as a cycle in itself. These are kind of micro or mini cycles. The macro cycles would be things like your energetic rhythms cycle as it occurs on a monthly basis, or maybe quarterly basis or even annual basis.
Setting Monthly Intentions
It’s definitely help to set intentions on the larger scales of quarterly and annually, but for our purposes today, I’m just going to talk you through setting intentions on a monthly time frame. There are a couple things to consider when doing this.
- Your body’s rhythms as they relate to your menstrual cycle, ladies.
- The lunar cycle–this is for everyone else who doesn’t have a menstrual cycle or is taking hormonal birth control.
Using the Lunar Cycle
Let’s start with the moon since there’s a new moon this week, by the time you hear this it will be past, but if you listen to this on the day it comes out, it will still be within the 3 day period for using that new moon energy to benefit your intentions. And if you listen later…oh well! As I said before, you can set them whenever the mood strikes and use the moon when it works out;).
Using the moon can be an incredible way to begin to work with the energy of the universe and felt energy around you to begin to manifest or create the best possible outcome for whatever it is you want more of in your life.
Now just because you are using the moon to help you set intentions, does NOT in any mean that you are worshipping the moon. It simply means you are aligning with natures rhythms to help you use your energy more effectively. The moon is that constant visible reminder that we can see every month that helps us connect to the fact that everything in life has a cycle and a rhythm. That everything goes from darkness to light and back into darkness. From birth to resurrection. And the need to rest and reflect inward is part of the cycle.
Setting intentions is holding space to reflect on the past month and decide how you want to move forward into the new month or cycle so that you can manage your energy and flow with it instead of feeling like you’re drained or scattered all the time.
We do this practice at the new moon because that’s what the moon is doing as well–it’s hiding in the shadow of the earth and we here on Earth are not even able to see it for a day or 2, depending on when it goes dark. (moon between sun and earth, we see dark side that is facing the earth)
And since the moon does in fact play a role in the energy we feel (more on that in episode 40), we might also feel that pull to tune inward, rest or be more still when the time comes for the moon to go dark each month.
It’s a time to reflect on the past and also a time to start thinking about how you want to move into the upcoming month ahead. During this time we might have a heightened sensitivity to our intuition and inner guidance, which is why it can be an ideal time to set intentions–you’re more aware of what your true nature is leading you towards.
Using Your Body’s Rhythms
And an even stronger connection to setting intentions is to use your body’s rhythms. I believe your body is the messenger that tells you when to take action and when to rest, so naturally I believe that using your own rhythms over the moon’s is ideal.
But what do I mean by all of this?
Well, just as the start of the lunar cycle is the new moon, the start of your body’s cycle, as a woman is the start of your period or menstruation. And you know from previous episodes that both the lunar cycle and your body’s cycle can average a similar number of days–29 1/2 for the moon and 28 on average for your cycle. But that doesn’t always mean the two are going to align with your menstrual cycle starting on or around the new moon. That in itself is a whole separate episode, but for now you just need to know that they might align and they might now. And if they don’t, then I recommend using your menstrual cycle to set intentions and the new moon as a time to revisit the intentions you’ve set.
Your body is a stronger barometer of your felt experience in this life and when you tune into it, it might very well align with the moon’s energy, so that they are cycling together or it might not.
So use your menstrual cycle or your body’s rhythms to set intentions is if you aren’t taking hormonal birth control and you still have a regular cycle. If you’re going through menopause or peri-menopause and your cycles are irregular, use the moon!
How to Set Intentions
Once you’ve determined if you ‘re going to use the moon or your body’s cycle, I recommend setting intentions within the first 3 days of whichever cycle it is you’re using so that when energy starts growing again, you can begin to make plans and start taking small actions towards your intentions. Remember that those first 3 days of the cycle are often a little more low energy, so allow for that rest phase to happen and give yourself grace without “should-ing” on yourself.
The next thing to do is create a sacred space to be mindful and set intentions. I have a video that talks more about how I like to go about creating space to set intentions in the Energetic Rhythms for Intentional Living Facebook community here.
This does NOT look like kids and chaos running around in the background. Give yourself a little quiet time, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes, to center or ground yourself, then allow the intentions to come to you that you need most in your life at that time. Similar to how I recommended doing daily intention-setting earlier in the show.
I’ve got a worksheet I use with clients that helps them both set intentions and reflect. and if you’d like a copy of that, there’s a link in the show notes or head to cairnyogawellness.com/intentions, or you can just use a notebook or other piece of paper that you can refer back to.
The worksheet has you set up to 3 intentions, then gives you space to come up with some SMART goals to help you begin to formulate a plan to work towards the intentions so you have a plan to take action when the time comes. Once you set the intentions, release attachment to the outcome. Put it in God’s hands and trust that whatever happens is aligned with that intention, even if what happens seems as far off as it could get. Trust that by you putting your thoughts and desires out into the universe, the universe will align, even if it means redirecting you to something else.
Remember that setting intentions is just phase 1 of the Energetic Rhythms Cycle. You do it so you have a clear vision of what you’re working towards. So you’re not just floating through life or moving through life on autopilot.
It absolutely doesn’t mean these intentions are going to happen overnight or even within the upcoming month. It may, but more importantly it means that you are simply beginning to take a mindful approach to work towards a change you want in your life.
So whether you want to move more, be more playful or just start feeling more at ease with your time, energy and focus, setting the intention to do so is the first step. And when you use your energetic rhythms–your body’s rhythms and or the moon’s cycle to do so, you’re using energy to work FOR you rather than AGAINST you.
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More Episodes like this one:
#39: What is Cyclical Living
#40: Energetic Rhythms and You
#41: Discovering Your Energetic Rhythms
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