If you remember back to Week 27, “How to Live with Intention Using Values + Presence,” intentions are states of being that we manifest and inhabit, often in line with our values.
One of my biggest intentions for The Tending Year is to live a life filled with good. I mean this both in terms of tangible people and things—feeling good in my body, keeping good company, a home space I feel good in—and in terms of energy—good moods and perspectives, healing, spirituality, giving back to the community, etc. These two kinds of good blur into and inform one another, too.
In my effort to deepen my intention of manifesting good in my life, I focused last week on first defining what receiving and releasing energy meant to me and then practiced actively receiving and releasing good energy in terms of healing.
If you struggle with prioritizing your own self care, self love, self what-have-you, this week’s post may help you to resee the process of receiving and releasing as developing a habit via check-ins and process.
Good In, Good Out
Last week had me asking and answering a lot of questions. In order to nail down an effective process for cycling good energy through me, I had to first understand my personal conception of what it meant to receive and release good.
I wrote and underlined two phrases in my notebook (no need to write these down now; all of the guides will be repurposed for you in the takeaways section!): What is Good Going In? and What is Good Going Out? I filled them in as follows.
What is Good Going In?
- healthy food
- essential oils
- accepting love
- clean apartment
- self development & writing newsletters
What is Good Going Out?
- healing by releasing nevativity
- seeing others through loving perspective
Once I had done this, I looked back over my lists to see what synonyms for “Good in” and “Good Out” I was working with, and I came up with Receiving, Preparing, Making Space, Releasing, and Sharing. These would be my guiding words for the week so I could check if my actions were aligning with my intention.
Looking back over both of my lists prompted me to ask and answer more questions, including:
Q1: How can things be on both lists?
A1: Good energy comes in and recycles out energy that either doesn’t serve me or doesn’t fit anymore or needs to carry out impurities.
Q2: What happens between receiving and releasing?
A2: Presence? Savoring? Being? The magical work that energy does? Maybe it’s not my job to know, and only my job to be open to receive and release.
These writing exercises gave me both a better idea of what receiving and releasing looked like and a reason to do them. To bring the lists to life, I decided to approach my week of Receiving and Releasing with Intention by doing multiple small actions to receive good energy and committing explicitly to journaling as a way to release energy.
Receiving via Choosing My Small Acts
I hoped that my small acts would help me open up to and manifest more good energy in my life. Before I made decisions, I asked myself whether the task aligned with my “Good In” intention, and if it did, how could I get the most good out of it? This made decision making easier because all I had to do was
- follow the “What Is Good Going In?” list I had written, and
- give myself adequate time to complete the act.
I didn’t drink my morning coffee until I’d had a cup of warm lemon water. I shopped for and cooked easy, healthy meals instead of eating cereal for dinner.
In order to receive the benefit of these good acts, I had to give myself more blank space and free time to work with.
For example, in order to prioritize small cleanups of my apartment, I had to stop working earlier in the evening so I could maintain enough energy to do dishes and tidy up. I was mindful of the benefits I would receive for making good energy choices like drinking more water, which served as its own reward (a key component in the process of habit building!). When newsletters arrived in my inbox from Arien Smith and Andréa Guevara (two of my favorites), I made time to read and reflect on them because I know they offer really great tips. Instead of trying to pack everything in, I gave myself permission to make time for the things that filled me up, from fresh veggies to a half hour of reading mantras on Pinterest before bed, because I knew I was receiving good.
Releasing via Journaling
Katie Dalebout is a self development writer and podcaster who wrote a whole book about journaling. She used journaling as a way to heal from an eating disorder and to resee wellness (she describes this shift in detail in Episode 83: “Wellness, Recovery, and Journaling” of Kate Snowise’s Here to Thrive podcast). Dalebout writes in her book Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling (the first book section is free here via GoogleBooks) that
Journaling allows you to stop identifying with your negative beliefs or thought patterns and instead see yourself as separate from them. You start to move from judging yourself to simply witnessing your thoughts, cozying up with them, learning from them, and ultimately letting them out.
Although I have journaled before, I had mostly resisted it in the past. I trusted that it was helpful and meaningful, and I saw the benefits of it, but I struggled to write just for myself instead of writing content that I would later repurpose for either my academic or blog writing. But I was inspired by Dalebout’s description of journaling as a way to release and overcome negative beliefs about oneself, an activity that I continue to practice, so I gave it an honest try.
I mentioned a few posts ago that I had purchased Elena Brower’s beautiful practice you journal, and I dove into it last week both by writing directly in the book and by writing in the notebook I use for The Tending Year. Some of the questions I answered included:
- When do you feel most connected to Spirit, to Source?
- This is who I am when the doubt falls away.
- These are the habits I’m creating to become my highest self.
I also tweaked my own “Belief/Reality” journal prompt (instructions in Week 22: Negative Self Talk) by writing down negative, anxious, or sad feelings I was experiencing on one side of the page and writing what I wished to feel instead on the other side of the page.
Unsurprisingly, Dalebout was correct! I felt much calmer, hopeful, and relaxed after most of my journaling sessions, and even when journaling didn’t completely shift my mood to happiness, I still felt a physical sense of release and relaxation when I had finished.
One of my favorite parts of these takeaways is helping you to individualize self development and make it work for you. For that reason, this week’s takeaways start with questions and offer a model for adapting journaling to your own interests and needs.
Make Lists to Discover Your Own Intention for Receiving and Releasing
Your intention for receiving and releasing might not be focused on good, as mine was. Instead, you might feel driven by a personal value or be working on a particular healing or spiritual journey. Maybe you’re reconceptualizing wellness like Katie Dalebout, or maybe you’re trying to challenge yourself to try new things. If you know what your particular intention is, use that word or phrase in place of “good” below. If you don’t have a particular intention, just use “good.” You might need to tweak the syntax or tense to fit your particular intention, i.e., “How do I welcome and accept challenges” in place of “How do I receive good energy.”
Write your answers to the following questions. Writing them down is helpful because you will need to read over your answers to do the next step.
- What does receiving good energy look like in my life? How do I receive good energy?
- What does releasing good energy look like in my life? How do I release good energy?
Once you’ve done that, read back over your answers a few times and let them sink in. Then, write down answers to the following questions:
- What other verbs could I use besides “receiving” and “releasing” to describe the things I have noted? Remember, Kate’s examples included Good In, Preparing, Making Space, Good Out, and Sharing.
- Does each list have a particular theme/s? What is it/are they?
- Do any things show up on both the receive and release list? How do those things do both actions? Do they happen in a cycle?
- What am I doing/what happens to me in the space between receiving and releasing?
Having answered these two sets of questions, you should now have a deeper and more personal connection to the actions of receiving and releasing. You can transform that connection into an intention mantra, such as “good in, good out,” “slow and steady,” “choose love over fear,” or “be curious.” You can also see a list of common intentions here. Carry this intention mantra with you as your guide when you make decisions, particularly when you’re feeling stuck or nervous.
Journal Prompts are Everywhere
I already mentioned Elena Brower’s practice you, and you can see sample journal pages here. Kate Snowise has a list of free journal prompts on her website. The Radical Transformation Project has a list of free journal prompts for depression and anxiety here. But if none of those ring your bell, I have a few other exercises for generating your own journal prompts.
1: Use a Tarot Deck
I enjoy using the tarot as a tool to aid reflection because it gives me something outside of myself to focus on and use as a lens to reseeing my situation and feelings. If you don’t know the cards well or at all, a simple Google search or sites like this one can give you some basics.
You can work your way through the major arcana cards or pull a card at random, responding to what you see or the meaning of the card. Possible journal prompts include:
- How is this card showing up in my life right now?
- What lessons can I take from this card?
Additionally, you could use this prompt by Barbara Moore: “Select a Major Arcana card that represents a belief that you hold. Write about it. Then select a Minor Arcana card to represent a situation. In your journal, explore how your belief would shape your response or actions in the situation represented by the Minor Arcana card.”
2: Use a Mantra
I feel like a The Tending Year should have a tagline that says “fueled by mantras.” I’ve mentioned my love for Shannon Kaiser’s Find Your Happy Daily Mantras book and Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back deck. Kaiser’s book lists mantras, describes them, and asks “power questions” such as “What worry am I willing to release?” and “What has my intuition been trying to tell me?” Bernstein’s deck has messages such as ““There is a stream of love supporting my dreams” and “When I think I’ve surrendered, I surrender more.”
You can journal a response or answer to these mantras—or literally any mantra that you resonate with. If you get stuck, just write whatever comes into your mind, such as “I feel sad” or “I don’t know what I want to release.” If you feel really stuck, stop writing, put your hands on your knees, and take a few deep breaths while asking your mind and body what it wants to release. Once you hear a thought or message, start writing again until you feel like you’ve released all you have to say at that time.
*Please note that the original version of this blog post was published here.
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