2017's mantra

Living a mindful life means living with intention, rather than just going through the motions.

I like to boil my intentions down to a single word or short phrase to use as a mantra. I use this mantra when I’m doing a mala meditation, practicing yoga or find myself in a stressful situation and need to rest my mind somewhere constructive.

Last year, my word was light.

I want to feel light—not the lightness that's determined by the scale but the lightness you feel when you're doing what you should be doing. When you aren't weighed down by any stress because you know everything is as it should be. (See full post)

I focused on trusting my intuition. I said "no" to things that didn’t serve me and "yes" to those that did. I eliminated toxic relationships, thoughts and activities that weighed me down.

I liked this word so much that I know I’ll keep using it. But it’s a new year, and I’m ready to focus my attention on a new word.

2017 Word: Connection

I want to connect to my friends and family in more meaningful ways.

To prioritize our time together, because as tired as I might be, I know that creating space for them fills my cup back up. I have wonderful people in my life. Yet I only see some of the people I consider my dearest friends a few times per year. If that.

I want to connect to my community in more meaningful ways.

Be more aware of what’s going on in the world and have meaningful conversations and debates with others. Show up for causes I believe in. I’m not going to be a politician, but I would like to be a better samaritan.

I want to connect to the Earth in more meaningful ways.

Savor my time on the trail. Actually feel the ground beneath my feet. Gaze at the clouds and the stars and feel comforted in the feeling of being small. In all honestly, this is something I already do frequently … if you follow me on Instagram you know I geek out on sky … but I’ll continue to connect in these ways.

I want to connect to my body in more meaningful ways.

Move in ways that make me feel good. Gain a deeper appreciation for my body and embrace my sensuality. Holla, sacral chakra! I’m looking at you. (The boudoir shoot I recently did was a great start!)

I want to connect to my Self in more meaningful ways.

Search for understanding in who I am. What I believe. What I’m being called to do. This is hard work. A lifelong journey that I believe is necessary. Hell, it might even be the point of it all.

Connection is tricky

Because although we are connecting what feels like constantly through the wonderful world of the Internet, we are, as a culture, pretty disconnected. I love that I can keep up with old friends on Facebook. Otherwise, I’d miss out on a lot of marriages and babies. And I certainly don’t blame technology for the disconnect that’s happening.

I could. I could blame Facebook. Or addictive phone screens. Or busy schedules. Or any of the distractions that hold us back from connecting to ourselves, to others and to all things. We like to blame things outside ourselves because that’s easy. What’s hard is actually making a personal change.

We like easy. We want money to grow on trees. We want the diet pill to lose weight. We want the Uber to pick us up right when we’re ready. We want litter boxes that clean themselves. (Seriously, as a somewhat new cat mom I just recently learned this was a thing.)

When it comes to getting a ride or cleaning your cat’s poo, easy is great. When it comes to personal change, it takes more effort; more mindfulness.

This year, I’m embracing the word connection and striving to connect in more meaningful ways with loved ones, my community, the Earth, my body and my Self.

What can you be more mindful of in 2017 that can create real change in your life?