As a kid, I grew up in a seriously rural area. We couldn’t see neighbors from our house, and had a long, gravel driveway that very few cars drove past anyway. At night, we had a pole light that cast a bright white glow around the house, but no other light pollution to speak of. It was very dark, and very quiet. I can remember lying awake on breezy nights, annoyed because the rustling leaves of the two English Walnut trees near the house was so loud. I could easily sleep past 11am anytime I was allowed, regardless of the bright sunshine pouring in my east- and south-facing windows.
Nowadays I’m a suburban girl. Traffic noise is routine. I have blackout curtains to block the streetlamps and the neighbor’s porch light. I’ve adapted pretty well, I think, but I miss waking up to the sunlight. No matter the weather, my bedroom is dark during the day.
I’ve looked into those fancy lamp-alarm clocks, the ones that start to glow before it’s time to wake up, so that by the time the alarm goes off it’s shining brightly. This is supposed to mimic a sunrise, and the gentle nudging on your consciousness is supposed to be a healthier way to start the day than my cell phone jangling DINGDINGDING-DINGDINGDING-DINGDINGDING. But those clocks are expensive, and do they really work?
So I tried an experiment. I have a lovely salt lamp (want one? Herbiary has them) that I plugged into a timer. It turns on about 30 minutes before my alarm goes off, and stays on for about 2 hours. There’s no gentle ramp up in the brightness, but the yellow-orange glow is both soothing and intense. Some days I wake up way before my alarm, and have lovely restful time to stretch in bed, maybe meditate, or just snooze. Other days, I’m asleep until just minutes before my alarm sounds, but since I have been trying this I have not been startled awake once. And my days have been the better for it. Salt lamps are supposed to clean the air and the energy in a room, like the air at the beach (light through salt, and moving water, both positively charge the air.) Starting my day with that thought, and with that orange glow, has been a wonderful way to settle into my morning meditation.
Salt lamps get a big thumbs ups from me! I highly recommend trying one out in the mornings, and as daily decor in your favorite rooms.
The difference between Attention and Intention is subtle and dramatic. Like the difference between listening and hearing, your entire experience will change with an application of focus.
Two years ago, something moved me to create an intention for the year. I don't now remember how or why, if it was audibly suggested or some sort of spiritual guidance, or where the words even came from. But on the inside cover of my list-making notebook, I wrote:
Mean What I Say and Do What I Mean
Very frequently, several times a month, I would see that phrase, all by itself on that white page. It would remind me to act consciously, to choose and to speak consciously. No more promises to others that make them comfortable, at my expense. No more carrying over list items from day to day until I get tired of looking at them, and just not writing them down again. It was time to be responsible for my words and actions. It changed my habits and my year.
Last year, I chose a single word to represent what I wanted to reach in 2013:
Lots of people asked me about a New Year's Resolution last year, and lots of them laughed at me when I revealed my goal. It seemed an uncomfortable topic for many, almost like they didn't want to acknowledge their own unbalancedness, and would really rather I not suggest they think about it, thank you very much. I did stop talking about it early in the year!
However I didn't stop thinking about Balance, and I found myself trying to choose my actions, my reactions, the people in my circle, even purchases I made in terms of my inner scales. Again, it changed me!
This year, I'm in Witch Camp and we have an Intention Workbook (try it!) to set up our New Year. We are supposed to choose a word to describe the year we want to have, then apply it to categories like family life, relationships, work, heart, soul, and so on. I chose:
While I was filling in action steps for each of the Intention categories, Discipline also made an appearance in every one of them! That's an uncomfortable word for me, Discipline. It sounds so small and mean, about denial and hardship. I don't like to use the word and I don't like to act on it, either. Yet I have spent quite a bit of time recuperating from a a hard time, and now it's time to get my new, stronger, healthy me back on track and I know that Discipline is the way to reach my goals, and to be Satisfied with where and who I am.
Attention energizes, intention transforms. What's calling out for your attention, and how do you intend to respond?
Fun Fact: I'm an herbalist and a movement coach. Not a doctor, or a pharmacist, and not pretending to be one on TV.
This is a public space, so my writing reflects my experiences and I try to stay general enough so it might relate to you. This does not constitute medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss concerns with your doctor. Remember, however, that the final say in your wellness decisions are always yours- you have the power to choose, you are the boss of you.
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This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical, mental health or healthcare advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness, medical condition or mental or emotional condition. Working with us is not a guarantee of any results. Paula Billig owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.