Sankalpa- Connecting to the Deepest Desire of Your Heart
My Realization of the Power of Intention
Ten years ago I had the job I believed I would do for the rest of my life. I worked in a healthcare system as a Certified Music Practitioner, Registered Yoga Teacher and Reiki Master. I provided direct services to patients as well as community programming, in house programming for staff around self care, served on the Pain Team, guided the employee arm of the hospital Foundation, the Patient Family Advisory Council and cultivated relationships and connections around Integrative Medicine regionally, nationally and internationally. For someone like me that likes to connect and create through service, it was ideal.
In 2014 my entire position and all the programs I had carefully built and cultivated were eliminated.
As you may guess, this was devastating. However, I realized that the ability to create and manifest possibilities were (and are ) inherently mine. I also considered it might be less cumbersome to create content/programming/offerings without needing to also write policies and procedures that needed approved by several committees. I also realized I needed to spend more time gaining clarity about what my true purpose in life was and how that showed up in my own community and beyond and how I might bring intention and awareness to the whole of my life. Another realization was how consuming that job was. My family members volunteered at the hospital regularly and so much of our life revolved around my job. I wanted to bring intention to all areas of my life, not only professionally and give my family the leftovers, which is what it felt like sometimes.
I spent AN ENTIRE YEAR (and also worked with an excellent coach Jardana Peacock), in cultivating intention and purpose and what that looked like in all areas of my life. I have worked and continue to work and refine this invitation to live with awareness and purpose.
Awareness Doesn’t Require Perfection
As I go through my bullet journal to revisit my yearly goals as well as my December weekly goals, I like to reflect and note what gets done and what gets pushed aside WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. While I didn’t meet my writing goals for this year, I recognize that my mental health reserves were challenged by a series of happenings including experiencing what I call a “trauma hangover” so I spent energy and time on therapy as well as healing practices to tend to integrating my nervous system. As someone who has a history of complex trauma and PTSD, this is a part of my life, I am full on committed to my wellbeing that includes not only my practices, but having a great therapist. I am aware it is a privilege to have time and space to access my own practices and therapeutic support and I am also fully committed to my wellness so I can be of service in hospice and the trauma healing work I do.
Notice, adjust and proceed with what is available and what you are resourced for. For me, adjusting is preferable to stagnation or giving up. I didn’t give up on my writing.
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for!
The Process of Sankalpa/Intention
Cultivating your Sankalpa-Dharma
This is deeper than a New Year’s Resolution.
Sankalpa is a promise to wake up, a goal for a lifetime, an inspiration for each breath, a vision to manifest, a determination to grow, a companion of dharma. -Indu Arora
Yoga is a path of determination, dedication, single-minded focus, and choice,
Sankalpa is a promise to wake up, a goal for a lifetime, an inspiration for each breath, a vision to manifest, a determination to grow , a companion of dharma.
It is the heart of Yoga
Please contemplate the above statement! Write it out long hand!
I have a process that I use to set intentions every year. It goes beyond the New Year but is something I am always in relationship with and bring the intentions from big ideas to manageable chunks in 3 month/1 month/weekly breakdowns. So, yes, this is maintaining a realistic but optimistic and inspirational focus for your life. And of course, a willingness to do the work. We can conjure magic but boots on the ground discipline, focus and motivation need to be part of the magical mix!
A workshop I have offered for the last decade, OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW walks people through that process. I will attempt to do some of that here without the group ritual of meditation and embodied practice.
- On this threshold time, especially if you are coming to this with a fresh slate, give your self space and time to reflect on the areas of your life where you wish to bring intention. (Mine are: 1. Relationships 2. Maintaining -Growing my Business 3. Creating New Content for Classes/Workshops etc. 4. Health & WellBeing 5. Hobbies-Personal Interests 6. Writing 7. Continuing Education).
- Get clear about what your intentions are and what actions are involved. For example-Relationships/ Husband -Schedule mutually enjoyable activities into week. Plan to find 2 new places to kayak by May, work together on designated household projects, etc. Another example: Maintaining-Growing my Business-Update website with more specific calls to action for individuals and organizations that utilize my services/maintain current community partnerships/ seek out 2 new contracts by March using networking/Linked In and web site SEO
- Be in a place of inquiry to see if your intentions line up with your core values and deepest desires as a human.
- Be Bold AND Realistic.
- Make sure your wellbeing is an area you are invested in. Mental Health is no joke. Therapy can be a life saver.
- Hold yourself compassionately accountable w/out shame/blame and take this as an opportunity to cultivate awareness on where you need to focus/grow/seek outside support.
- Perhaps use a word for the Year that can help focus, orient and motivate you. My word last year was NOURISH. My word for 2024 has not yet emerged.
* I use the Bullet Journal Method for maintaining this-
In the yogic tradition, particularly in The Yoga Sutra, Chapter 2, The Book on Practice, Patanjali tells us without an action plan, our minds become dull, disturbed and distracted. The antidote to this according to Patanjali is the application of 3 observances from the niyamas (the second of eight limbs of Yoga)
Discipline + Self Study + Letting Go into the Flow = Yoga of Action
Think about this particular mix and how much sense it makes, discipline with self awareness plus letting go, being in alignment with your values is what we call right action in the yogic tradition. Embody your values in how you live your life in all areas!
Honestly, my motivation is perhaps odd, but the times we are living in with violence, war and oppression seem unending and overwhelming. One thing that shows up for me as a result of having regular ongoing practices of meditation, yoga, writing and community building is that I am here to fully embody my life and be of service. I may not be able to end a war, but I can witness my own reactivity with compassion and build collaborative community, new ways of being in economic relationships and cultivate authentic relationships.
Peace is the path and it starts with me and you and what we are able to do as regulated, aware , actualized Beings.
If this feels daunting, simplify.
Perhaps start with your own wellbeing which is an essential place to start.
If you are interested, I have a couple slots open in my Living Well program (in Person or virtually)
Email me at email@example.com to schedule!
Let’s do this!