Setting Intentions

I began my yoga teacher training journey last night.  I spent four hours in a room with 17 women who I do not know but as I looked around at these strange faces I was conscious that by the end of the year they will be as safe and familiar to me as any one of my friends. In my commitment to hold myself to living a more authentic and present life, I have sought out some new, yet very old, ways of thinking and being.  Reiki is helping my physical body and grounding my energy.  Hypnosis is helping me tap into my gifts as an empath, intuitive and psychic.  It is also helping my physical body because as I let go of “bad” I release my lungs and open up my breath.  This training will deepen my already existing yoga practice and assist me in my path toward inner peace and self awareness.

I woke up thinking that I should set an intention for this journey.  Trace (my yoga teacher) talks about setting intentions for each class but I want to have an overall intention for this training.  Intentions are a critically important step in creating a dream life come true.  It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.  But if you’ve never written them before, it can be daunting. That said, an intention cannot be forced either. It’s a seed that you have to sow and then let reap on its own. You can’t set an intention that you don’t believe in. If it’s done forcefully, the purpose of the intention is ruined.

The definition of intention is two fold.  One reads, “a thing intended; an aim or plan.” While the other is, “the healing process of a wound.”  I understand that as an intention is an active desire to heal! The way to manifest an intention I think begins with quiet meditation.  Sitting in stillness and allowing yourself the time to breathe and be and listen to your highest self is what draws out our truest and deepest desires and dreams.

Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, brush my teeth, or call a friend, it all starts with intention.

The sages of India observed thousands of years ago that our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

Your intention should be closely tied to your personal thoughts, values and perspective on life. Intentions can be a clear and specific wish, or as simple as a word or phrase you’d like to align yourself with, like “open your mind and heart,” “love,” “softness,” “strength,” “compassion for myself and others,” “peace,” or “freedom.” Try to keep the intention positive, so instead of saying “stop being a coward,” or “spend less time alone,” choose the intentions, “be courageous” or simply, “community”. Think of your intention like a seed.  Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.

Here are some thought-starters to help you get started in forming an intention:

  • What matters most to you?
  • What would you like to build, create, or nurture in your life?
  • What would you like to let go of?
  • Who would you like to forgive in your life?
  • How do you feel when you are your happiest self?
  • What makes you proud?
  • What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?
  • What fears would you like to release?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • Keep your intention positive.
  • Make sure it can evolve.
  • Aim for short term.

10 Intentions You Can Borrow

  1. Find balance
  2. Open your mind and heart
  3. Peace
  4. Stay steady, calm and focused
  5. Act with courage
  6. Embrace change
  7. Give and receive love
  8. Allow yourself to be vulnerable
  9. Connect with others
  10. Love

“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.”
~Deepak Chopra


I am off to work on mine.



Unusual – photo challenge


Unusual – Photo Challenge

So I was trying to decide on my something “unusual” for the photo challenge.  I have not posed in awhile and I wanted to be thoughtful in my selection.  Being a professional photographer and having my camera with me pretty much ALL THE TIME, I do spot some unusual things, events, and people.  Living in Charleston, SC, we have very hot and humid summers, short yet stunningly beautiful springs and most of winter feels like fall with a few days or weeks that could constitute winter-like weather. Back in 2014 we had an ice storm that pretty much shut down Charleston.  Our biggest bridge, the Arthur Ravenel, shut down due to gigantic icicles forming and then falling onto cars and the roadway.  In January, the camellias are beginning to bloom and they suffered from the freeze.  Here are some of the photos I shot just around our home.

Ouch! I hurt my shoulder

About a month ago I hurt my rotator cuff lifting weights at my gym.  I am learning that just because I FEEL like I am in my 20’s does not mean my body agrees and my “body age” reminded me of this loud and clear.  The other crappy thing about hurting yourself as you age is that it takes twice or three times as long to heal as it would if you had the same injury thirty years earlier.  I just don’t have time to wait!  I want to GO, GO, GO!

In an effort to speed up my healing and knowing I have a deadline to make sure I am better for the start of my yoga teacher training, I sought out lots of help.  Here is what I have done to help my shoulder, back and neck.  Maybe this will help one of you too should you “chink up” your shoulder.

  1. ICE – ICE – ICE!  Ice baby as much as you can.
  2. Aleve.  The doctor said double up the dose two every 12 hours.  Short term mind you.  This stuff can hurt you if you take too much for too long.
  3. PT.  I have learned so much from my therapist, Dana.  Great stretches and exercises.  Her massages feel great but the muscle pinching – well I will just say “OUCH!”
  4. ACUPUNCTURE.  Actually heading that direction shortly.  I have been going twice a week for orthopedic acupuncture and wow it works! A little “stim” is good too.
  5. REST.  This has been the hardest piece of advise to follow.  I am slinging cameras, walking my pit bulls (really the are pulling me) and just life in general don’t make it easy.

Check out the many ideas online for easy exercises for women over 50.  There are tons of websites with lots of helpful tips for stretching, strength and stability training and just plain moving your body.  We women also need to remember to check our bone density and watch for signs of osteoporosis.  Falling and breaking bones is easily done and exercise helps prevent that from happening.  I also know that some just hate the idea of exercise.  If you are one of those ladies, maybe you can just play one or two of your favorite get off your feet and dance songs and shake it for five minutes.  One of my many motto’s is, “There is always a reason to dance. ”

So get up and get moving!  Just don’t hurt yourself.

Stay healthy my friends




I want

Related image

I want to feel really feel

Not how I should

Or how they tell me to

But feel for real

MY thoughts, MY needs, MY desires


I want to fly

Sore in my heart to the heavens

Dance in the clouds, catch the rain, hug the wind


I want to dream

Awake – alive not in slumber

Send love to the next person I see

Believing they FEEL it


I want to dance

Move my body and every cell in me

Feel the music, make it a part of me

Dance like I am watching


I want to be all of me

Today and every day

Mind, body, soul, spirit

by Lea Austen


I am having a very difficult afternoon.  Packing today to get ready for a long anticipated retreat weekend, I realized that I had been robbed.  I don’t know when or who but the more I search for things the more I am finding missing.  It started with a very expensive lens for my work camera that I chalked up to my slowly declining mind and made peace with the disappearance believing that perhaps it was inadvertently left at a photo shoot and long gone.  Then today, I opened a cabinet in my office to pack a small camera to take along this weekend and it is gone too.  The extra lens and the charge cord too.  ALL GONE.

Trying to be adult and not get overly emotional I did a good job not to cry.  I lamented to my understanding husband and continued with my chores with this really sucky feeling hanging over me.  As I made an attempt to take a “happy” walk with my husband and three dogs I had to voice my feelings once more.  This is not the first time I have been robbed.  Unfortunately it has happened more times than I wish to believe.  The feelings are always the same.  Anger, disbelief, a sense of being violated and unsafe.  There have been times when I have known the thief.  This time I do not.  So my husband asked if I had checked other things that might have gone missing; jewelry for example. I said I had checked quickly but it appeared to all be there.

I shared a story of being robbed in NYC and the thief leaving a ring that they thought could have been a wedding ring.  Thoughtful right!  Well, it did mean a lot to me but it was not a wedding ring. My parents bought me that ring on a trip to Florence, Italy on the Ponte de Vecchio.  I loved that ring.  As I was telling him I had this nagging feeling that I did not recall seeing that particular ring in my cursory look.  Picking up my step to get home a minute quicker that normal I made my way to the jewelry box.  The ring was gone.  So now I am experiencing these feelings twice in one day.

I know these are just things.  They can always be replaced.  The ring less so than the camera.  The people, my husband, parents, dogs, friends… THE PEOPLE and the relationships I have are of true value so I am going to be grateful for those diamonds and pearls in my life and let go of the things I can no longer have because some selfish and self seeking person took them from me.  Whoever you are, you may have my things but you can’t have what is MOST precious to me.

Maybe they blessed you in some way.  Paid your electric bill or cell phone.  Maybe you bought food for your kid.  Maybe you make a rent payment to keep a roof over your head.  I just hope you didn’t snort, swallow. blow or inject it.  You are someone who needs help and I pray you find it.  I pray you don’t hurt someone else the way you hurt and violated me.  I don’t like you.  I don’t want to know you or ever think of you or see you.  But I will forgive you.

Eight Ways to Get Your Zen on at Work

So I am really getting into this whole “mindfullness” craze.  Looking for ways to increase good health and happiness in the ever changing world with all the distractions is not easy.  I find it even harder personally being an empath and drawing in other people’s energy when need not do that for my own well-being.

Many of us have predictable jobs.  I don’t personally but for those of us who do I think these ideas might help find peace and well-being during the 9 to 5 grind.  Many companies have sought out corporate wellness programs for employees hoping to lessen the amount of “sick days” someone might take and to boost productivity.  I believe it is important to know when you need to detach from your workday in order to feel better.  So here are a few ideas for reducing your stress on the job.

  1. Hide you phone.  You CAN do it!  I promise it will not run away when you go to find it.
  2. Take a break BEFORE lunch.  It’s okay to take a morning break.  Even ten minutes to breath some fresh air, read a magazine article or grab a coffee will improve your mood.
  3. Gossip.  Social time is good for you!  Make sure you keep conversation office-free!  Talk about weekend plans, your dog, your fish, what you plan on cooking for dinner.  Anything but work or people at work.
  4. Disappear.  This does not mean sit on the toilet in the bathroom.  This means take a walk for ten minutes, make a call, mediate or listen to a quick podcast.
  5. Procrastinate.  Take 5 to play a game or day dream.  Your work problem is still there in the background but you may end up with a creative idea or solution in the end.
  6. Volunteer.  It helps you connect to others.  So grab them a cup of coffee if a co-worker is having  a bad day.
  7. Play with a puppy.  Ask your boss. You may just get a yes.  Some companies bring in puppies for some stress relief.
  8. End your day completely.  Leave your work at work.  Don’t take it home if you can help it.

I work from home so some of these are not relevant to me.  I can tell you that there are blessings and curses attached to your office being at home.  One being how to end your day and leave the phone when it is there.  I tried doing some of these things recently and I have felt better and more relaxed.  The world did not come to an end if I let the phone go to voicemail and return a call the following day.  My dogs were happy to have my full attention in the yard to play when I took a meaningful break (not throwing laundry in or emptying a dishwasher) and I always found when I returned to the computer I felt relaxed and less stressed too.




Ah, morning!

What marvelous unknowns will you set before me?

What unexpected events will you make unfold?

I awake. Curious, ready to receive your plans.


Gentle morning.

There is a newness to your breeze.

A freshness I invite into my body as I inhale you in.

I offer gratitude with each breathe.


Sweet morning.

You are a gift.  New every day.

Reminding me I too can give myself that same gift.

Yesterday is gone; never to come again.

I receive your gift, morning with compassion and an open heart.

Lea Austen/poetry

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