enCOURAGEments…Notes on a Well-Written Life

‘Tis the season…For INTENTION


December starts in just a few days, and already the swell of music, merchandise, and plans for the next 25-31 days have overtaken our worlds.  There is no escape…IT’S HERE.

Depending on your current life status…money, job, relationship, family connection…you’re feeling the mood shift as the expectations rise.  You may be finding yourself full of dread or anxiety, tense when talking to friends about holidays and the new year.  You may also be energized right now because you have so much good happening, and this is the season to openly celebrate your amazing life!

No matter how your first steps into December feel, this is a perfect opportunity to try on a new practice:  INTENTION.  You can’t miss books and media posts about mindfulness, meditation and yoga these days.  And that’s a good thing.  But you may have delayed trying on a new way of living, a different, mindful way of engaging with conflict and love, work and daily life.  There are truckloads of research projects aimed at connecting mindfulness with neuroplasticity, improvements in anxiety, depression and relationships, so we won’t dig into that here…BUT I will challenge you to practice INTENTION.

EXTRA:  One article from the American Psychological Association for you.  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx

Here’s how it goes:  Take a moment to sit quietly, breathe deeply and relax.  Consider the upcoming month and notice where stress or tension or excitement rise in your body.  Maybe you find your heart race a bit because of all that you “need” to do.  Or maybe you find a heaviness in your chest because this is a season that feels more about loss than joy, and you dread feeling like the only one who is “without” surrounded by a world of couples and families and those who “have”.  Just notice.  And breathe into that feeling. It’s giving you some great information about what you might want to be intentional about in the coming weeks.

Now that you’ve relaxed and felt the places your wise body is telling you there is tension and stress…Think ahead.  Maybe it’s to December 26.  Or December 31.  Or January 2.  Choose a date that marks the end of this season for you, and then ask yourself,

“How do I want to feel at the end of this season?”

Maybe you want to feel PEACE…or JOY…or GROUNDED….or PROUD…or WISE…or COMPLETE…or BRAVE.  Take your time…breathe in and imagine what feeling that particular feeling throughout the next 25+ days would look like, feel like, sound like.


And your opportunity for each day is to start with a renewed focus on this intention.  You get to enter each work day, or shopping trip, or family adventure, or night home with this feeling as your focus.

Need a bit more guidance?  Here are a few specific steps to live in INTENTION throughout this month:

  1.  JOURNAL…on your phone, with photos, in a fancy leather-bound book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  Start the day and end the day with moments you saw, felt, spoke, walked in this feeling.  Collect quotes and photos.  You’ll be amazed at what appears to you as you focus on this.
  2. SELF CARE…This season can be an emotional vampire to your soul. You may feel more depleted than joy as the days pass in December. Radical self care is a key concept to live with intention and to fully experience, rather than avoid, life…especially during this season.


                 Advent Self Care Calendar

  3. SHARE YOUR INTENTION…Talk with a friend or group of friends…tell your therapist…post it on social media.  By being public with your intention, you automatically set the stage for encouragement and support from those around you.  Share the Advent SelfCare Calendar with friends…and post the results on Facebook or Instagram!  By telling your story and living your intentional life, you are encouraging those around you.
  4. SAY NO…By saying YES to your intention, and to your self care (seriously, I love this calendar!), you will find you will need to say NO to distractions and discouragers.  You’ll be amazed how clear and grounded you will feel when you’re living congruently with your intention, instead of resenting all the forced “yesses” you may have buckled under in the past.
    Living a Well-Written Life means choosing to write a new chapter, or rewrite the pages that no longer work for you.  This month, live in INTENTION and practice radical self care.  You’ll change your story in ways you can’t imagine!

Struggling with holiday stress? depression? break ups and loneliness?  Call enCOURAGE Counseling today for an appointment


Or visit the website to learn about therapy that is designed specifically for you.



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