Karen Armstrong

It’s that time of year again! The shifting from one calendar year into the next. A opportunity to look at what the highlights of 2023 brought and listen into what my heart is whispering for the coming year. Each year over the holidays, I do this practice. It always involves journaling, pulling oracle cards and sharing some of these thoughts with my family and close friends.

I received an email from Soul Inspired Gurl, AKA Dr Laura Foster with a new set of journal prompts and though I read them during the end of December, I did not sit down to journal them until January 1st. I really enjoy the process of snuggling down and responding to the prompts from a curious and open perspective. I have the integrated knowing from past years how much this process supports me. It gives me another chance to look at the great moments of 2023, the challenging moments, what those challenges brought into my awareness and to honour it all. Then I can step into the feeling of the new year. I was aware that this year is an 8 year in numerology and a personal 4 year for me. That we will move into the Chinese year of the dragon in February.

A summary of the 8 year from www.creativenumerology.com is: “8 is the number of power, material and financial gain, achievement, reward, status and satisfaction. The 8 year vibration will provide the means – personal power – with which to change the status quo and accomplish a significant goal that will alter the direction and quality of your journey”

A summary of the Chinese year of the dragon from www.chinahighlights.com is: “In Chinese culture, the dragon holds a significant place as an auspicious and extraordinary creature, unparalleled in talent and excellence. It symbolizes power, honour, luck and success. Consequently, 2024 is forecasted to bring about opportunities, changes and challenges. If you’re seeking a shift in your current lives, this year might offer a favourable chance.”

The big picture here in leaning towards this year being one of great potential to shift. I like it! So with that understanding, I leaned into what that could bring for me. This is a personal 4 numerology year for me which is about laying the groundwork for everything in my life. Time to focus on the big picture of my life’s purpose and set the stage to invite that in.

So here are the Intention Words that are sparking my inner flame for 2024.

  1.  Create

    This must surely be a year to invite a deeper level of creativity into my life. An invitation to watch where I habitually want to spend my time, thoughts and energy and see what new ways I can express myself. I am kicking it off by following through with a lifelong desire to learn how to play the piano. YES!! I have my teacher, my keyboard and my beginner book and here we go! Who knows how it will impact me. I am excited for sure. Thanks Madison Ryley of @yogapella.cohere.live

  2.  Emanate

    This word came through from one of the cards I pulled from my Language of Animals deck. Koala is here to assist me in being a source of peace and positivity in the world. To “turn the tap on from within” which spoke so deeply to me and brought this word, Emanate or Emanation into my list for the year. To pay attention to who I am being in every moment and to really allow that to shine out. Woah – that’s big stuff!!! For me that also is an invitation to relax into life and know that life shows up for me, it does not happen to me. That brings a real level of trust and faith. So it is.

  3.  Say Yes

    The essence of create and emanate bring this next intention through. It will remind me to lean in when it feels like life is offering an opportunity to align with my bigger purpose. It does not look like I used to be, saying yes to everything and everyone from an ungrounded place. That led to burnout. This Yes will come from a rooted sense of groundedness, tapping into the big picture and then even if it feels scary, to lean in and follow my heart.

  4.  Collaborate

    I know that being in a community of like-minded people lights me up. It provides so much to fuel my dreams, my enjoyment in life and what is possible when big dreams and changes are held from a collective place. It’s the network that can make the impossible, possible. I love being part of community from my incredible family and friends to my North Metro chorus, Women’s Wellness Circle and international reiki community. I am so grateful for all the richness these relationships have brought to my life.

The energy of this year excites me and calls an expanded version of me to come out and play. I would love to hear from you on what is surfacing around this year for you. Share your thoughts, let’s create some magic. With so much gratitude that you have read this, I send out some sparkle dust to light your path.

Till next time,

Karen

Intention Words 2023 Karen Armstrong

For those of you who have followed me for a while, you will be well aware of my New Year’s practice of creating my intention words that guide the overall vision of my year. Like many, I found that New Year’s resolutions did not have enough motivation past January to make any impact on the whole year. My words on the other hand create a framework for what I have chosen to invite into my life during the coming year. Whether I look at them often or they slip into the background of my awareness, they always carry strength to draw the people, experiences and ideas to enrich my year.

Preparation

Creating the right space is the most important ingredient to getting clear intention words. I provide myself with a window of time that I can call my own and not be interrupted. This year after preparing my space; lighting a candle, getting my crystals, background music and tea, I followed a journaling exercise from Laura Foster. https://soulinspiredgurl.com/ It was called Walking Your Sovereign Path, a series of journal questions summarizing 2022 and looking ahead to 2023. I find it both comforting and inspiring. Following it’s completion, I decided to bring together my 5 Tarot and Oracle decks that I currently have at home and pull a card from each one to see what messages surface. This was most interesting and certainly assisted me in determining my intention words for this year. They ended up being phrases or mantras actually as you will see below:

1/ Heart Centered

No matter what I am doing or where I am, I will endeavor to be more heart centered in all ways. Thinking, speaking, acting, being, making choices and decisions. This includes how I spend my time and my money. I believe we each have a lot of influence by the choices we make and how we choose to spend our dollars. I continue to support local wherever possible, small business and Canadian made products. Large and/or international companies will continue to earn portions of our spending for the foreseeable future on specific items, however we have more room to make a difference.

2/ Root into Faith, Gratitude and Trust

I have found myself leaning into these more and more over the past couple of years. So much is changing, so much is being revealed and there is a high level of fear in the collective world. I connect to my roots or Faith, Gratitude and Trust with meditation, yoga, walking in nature, music, reading or listening to inspirational thought leaders, journaling, simple ceremonies, my family and animals. I also find that when I come from the perspective that life is always happening For Me and not To Me, I see from a more open perspective.

3/ Creativity

This word has been part of a few yearly intention lists. I find I can get too serious or naturally following the way I have done things in the past. I find my life is more fun and inspiring when I can allow my creative juices to flow and shake things up. It has definitely been easier to do now that we have welcomed grandchildren into our lives. When I spend time with them, I allow that playful spontaneous part of me to take hold and it’s truly joyful. I also intend to book more day excursions into my calendar. Just writing this brings a joyful anticipation.

4/ Free to be Me in 23

This jumped out when I did the journaling exercise so I trust that it carries a strong thread to follow this year. This brings into play all the previous intentions and wraps them up in a way of being. I guess I may find that by bringing more attention to the previous intentions, I in fact may be more free to be me!

These are my words for the year. They ignite a good feeling when I read them and an anticipation of how they will manifest in the weeks and months to come.

As I have been listening to the radio and watching some of my social media feeds in the past couple of weeks, I notice a trend away from the traditional New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe we are ready to set ourselves up for more success in the long run, not just short-term goals. If we make small consistent changes, they tend to create measurable changes that are easier to adopt as part of our lifestyle.

I love to hear about the ideas that you come up with or questions you may have. Please share your magic. Happy 2023! We are capable of so much together.

Till next time,

Karen

Intention Words for 2021 - New Year's Resolutions and Intentions Reiki Master Toronto, Newmarket, Ontario

Welcome to 2021.  It is incredible to be sitting at the beginning of another new year with the realization that this past year saw unprecedented world changes that are still unfolding. We have no idea what is coming as we look ahead this year.  It’s not like we ever really know what will happen with each coming day however, there is a much deeper understanding of that from our new vantage point.

Those who have followed me for a while know that instead of determining New Year’s Resolutions, I like to create my Intention Words that guide me for the year ahead.  These are words that will inspire my decisions, creativity and my beingness for the year ahead.  They have always provided results in the most miraculous ways and so the motivation for me to continue this practice is very high.

My 2020 words were Exhale, G.A.J. (which stood for Gratitude, Appreciation and Joy) and Creative Expression.  The huge lessons that I experienced last year were supported 100-fold by these intentions. The biggest support in moving through the challenges included:

  1. Exhale: A consistent yoga, chanting and walking practice.
  2. G.A.J.: Journaling, being present to all that I love like nature, animals, gardening, cooking and connection with family and close friends. Finding Joy in everyday moments.
  3. Creative Expression: Finding new ways to offer my services, to run Women’s Wellness Circles, to take classes, to sing with my chorus, to connect with family and friends in a virtual format and in-person. Taking time to make Vision Boards, flower planters, winter urns, and decluttering space.

So, to continue on this roller coaster ride into 2021, my words of inspiration have presented themselves as follows:

Belly Breathe

After not being able to attend my weekly chorus rehearsals after 38 years, I realized how much my body relied on this deep diaphragmatic breathing. The tightness that developed in my lower diaphragm was noticeable after a few months.  This is why I began to do some morning chanting and why I will actually put this as my first intention word for 2021 (and after a good reminder nudge from my dear friend Theresa Gagnon).

Trust

I learned this year how often I question my own inner knowing for myself.  Not in my work practice for clients, that comes easily after these years of practice.  My inner critic and fearful voice turns up its volume when it comes to listening to my own body which has been extremely dramatic this year.  I will trust in my own strength and wisdom and be kind and patient with my body. I will also remind myself to trust that all things are unfolding for the highest good of all.

Root

This has proven to be an extremely valuable practice as we continued along the uncertain path.  To root into the practices that ground me and provide calmness, clarity and inspiration. On top of walking in nature, yoga and journaling, I am open to discovering more ways to ground myself in this new year.

Shine

We all need to shine our own unique light for this world to be all it can be. To birth new realities, to make life worth living, to express our own creativity and spark each other.

Once I allow the process of breathing, trusting and rooting to shape my foundation, I will be ready to Shine my spark into the world in ever expanding ways. This fills me with excitement.

As a reminder, my next creative project will be to make a piece of art with each of these words and frame them to have out as a constant incentive.  I will share a picture of my completed project on my SM feeds.

It is so great to share in this space with you.  May you feel inspired to respond and share some of your intentions for the year ahead.

Let us stay vigilant in our vision of a future that is centered around kindness, sustainability and an insatiable thirst for truth with the freedom and courage to express that truth and be heard. Let’s create a world that works for all.

Until next time…

Karen

words

Welcome to 2020, a new decade. Those who have followed me for a while know that instead of determining New Year’s Resolutions, I like to create my Intention Words that guide me for the year ahead. These are words that will inspire my decisions, creativity and my beingness for the year ahead. They have always provided results in the most miraculous ways, and so the motivation for me to continue this practice is very high. 

The last weeks of 2019 were extremely full and I did not create the reflective time to settle with my words for this year. Over the holidays as I slowed my pace, my words began to percolate. They did not settle until the last couple of days. The big energy we are in has been tricky for me to settle on the top intentions I wish to invite with me. They have now arrived, and they feel right.  

Exhale 

How powerful this word has been speaking to me lately. I can get caught in my head, with my next steps, thinking about my family, my clients, my life activities, and so much more. I think we call it “the monkey mind”. When I am in my yoga practice or singing, it is a built-in activity. My mind relaxes and so my body follows. I will make this a mantra this year and see how I can relax my mind and be more present to my breath. Both the inhale and exhale, though the exhale allows for a soft letting go. Yes please. 

G.A.J. 

I read that if my goal is to raise my vibration then I need to raise the frequency of energy that I am taking in and expressing out. This is similar to inhale and exhale. Other keys to keep our frequency uplifted are Gratitude, Appreciation and Joy. My new 2020 word (G.A.J.), will be a constant reminder to watch the emotional content of my thoughts. It not only lifts me up, it tends to be contagious and that’s a sure win/win. 

Creative Expansion 

In order to allow for creative expansion, I require time to be inspired.  I love to read, to participate in workshops or nature outings. Oh, how I enjoy taking a spontaneous day off with my husband or family. Or spending time with dear friends, engaged in deep conversations or frivolously dreaming crazy things that make us laugh. My words from 2019, Pace, Nourish and Fearless Love, have prepared me to prioritize this even higher. It fuels my energy and brings back my playfulness.   

Many brilliant leaders are writing about the changing time we are in and we see it reflected in our world both on the catastrophic side and the miraculous side. Let’s keep our energy clearly focused on what we want to attract and co-create. Let’s keep our community together, supporting each other.  

Women’s Wellness Circle

If you are in the Newmarket area, then join us at the January 23rd Women’s Wellness Circle as we create our new Vision Boards. Stay updated with my Facebook page for the event details. Our minister shared a poem this week that really spoke to me of stepping into our new decade. Maybe it will speak to you. 

Let us take with us the words of a poem quoted by King George VI in his 1939 broadcast: 

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ 

And he replied: 

‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. 

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’ 

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. 

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.” 

Is there a new practice that you are inviting into this next decade? Please share with us, that’s how we inspire. 

I wish many joy filled moments for all of you this year, ones that create the memories that we look back on and feel good.  

Until next time… 

Karen 

intention words Karen Armstrong inside out aurora

Welcome to 2019. Those who have followed me for a while know that instead of determining New Year’s Resolutions, I like to create my Intention Words that guide me for the year ahead. These are words that will inspire my decisions, creativity and my beingness for the year ahead. They have always provided results in the most miraculous ways, and so the motivation for me to continue this practice is very high.

I usually take the few weeks leading up to the New Year to go through the process of choosing three intention words; this time was an exception though. My first two words came to me very quickly. And though I knew there was another word pending, it did not present itself. Not until my last reiki session. It took a deep inner process for my third intention word to surface. So here they are:

Pace

This beautiful word comes from the Brain Gym training I did back in the early 90’s. I know I’m not alone when I say, time feels as though

it’s speeding up. There is a direct correlation between what I expect to get done in a given amount of time, and the end result of those expectations as they combine with the realities of each day.

I truly love what I do, and I want to accomplish as much as possible. However, I am paying a price for the Pace I’ve been keeping. My whole being is communicating with me. Trying to get the message through to me that a gentler Pace would serve me much better than my current one. To assist me in setting a more conscious pace I began to incorporate the Five Minute Journal into my daily routine, and have already seen positive results from this simple step.

Nourish

This fits right in line with my body’s desire for a gentler PACE. I am craving a higher level nourishment for my mind, body and spirit. This has been a consistent journey over my awakening consciousness path. I have come a long way from only focusing my energy outward, towards serving others, and not on serving myself. I actually had no idea how to do that at first.

It started with giving myself permission to book regular massage, osteopath and pedicure appointments. From there I began to scheduled days off to do what I wanted, like registering for courses that educate me to nourish myself better. This year, I’ve moving back to basics. I plan to nourish myself each day with my thoughts, by setting a realistic pace, spending time outdoors, gathering fresh flowers, drinking tea, taking walks with friends and reading good books. And I look forward to learning more nourishing tips along the way.

Fearless Love

This was the one that showed up last week. Last year held many shifts for my clients and within my family. I’ve always believed that love can conquer all, change all and shine through in the end. I have trusted in that. There is a visceral reaction within me when I say fearless love. As though I’m ready to put all my belief in this inner power to the test and see where it takes me. That’s it… I cannot even expand on it right now, other than to say I know it will lead me in a greater way.

Do you have any stories to share about your new year practices? I find hearing others ideas and stories very inspiring so please share them.

I wish many joy-filled moments for all of you this year, ones that create memories that you’ll feel good about when you look back on them.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time,

Karen

Happy 2018 to all…a fulfillment of my intention words for last year led me to book a spiritual reiki trip to Japan in November. It was there that my 2018 Intention words were inspired.

The Trip of a Lifetime

Yes – a trip of a lifetime opportunity arrived in my inbox early in 2017.  Coincidence or co-created by my intention words? I choose to believe that our thoughts are energetic and assist in attracting their matching experiences.  I read the invitation entitled, The Essence of our Practice, and felt my whole being respond with a YES!

Full Alignment

Then my head engaged and started the series of practical responses.  You know what I mean.  It is too much money, it is right after my chorus trip to Las Vegas, I should not take that much time away from my clients and on and on.  So I left it alone for almost 2 weeks, all the while thinking about it constantly.  Then I remembered my intention words for the year.  Fearless Living and Stillness. That was it – I decided that it was in full alignment with what I wanted to create and the universe would provide all I needed to support it.  My experience confirmed this to be absolutely true!

Intention Words for 2018

I will share a few blogs to start this year around my magical trip to Japan however this one will focus on my Intention words for 2018. It was organized and led by Phyllis Furumoto, the Grand Master of the Usui System of Reiki Healing. I joined 12 other reiki masters/practitioners from around the world to explore the Essence of our Practice; it’s deep roots and traditions. Part of our trip included a visit to Mount Kurama outside Kyoto, a sacred mountain for many and the location of Dr. Usui’s enlightenment Reiki experience.

Our first experience on the mountain was not an organized tour day.  Instead, Phyllis arranged for us to receive a beautiful boxed lunch, gather our notebooks and enter into a silent solo pilgrimage for the day.

It was a beautiful clear and cool fall day. I was filled with emotion as I pulled on my boots and bundled up for my day.  How many times have I shared the reiki story with my students over the years and now – I had the chance to walk the same path of our founding Master, a journey that has impacted so many lives over the last century including mine. I was definitely in a mindful space.  Once I paid my entrance fee, I received a map and a small printed ticket which included this prayer:

“Since Primordial times, the life-energizing vitality of Mao-san (symbol of Power), the great king of the conquerors of evil and the spirit of the Earth, has pervaded Mt. Kurama. Imbued with this life energy, a wide variety of life forms resides here in serenity, and the rich natural environment continues to flourish.

Since the guardians of heaven Bishamonten (symbol of light) at the end of the Nara Period and the thousand-armed Senju-kannon bodhisattva (symbol of love) at the beginning of Heian Period became enshrined in this land, people have continued to flock here to offer their heartfelt prayers.

At Kurama Temple today, these three venerated deities are worshipped as the trinity of Sonten (symbol of cosmic energy). All those who come into contact with Mt. Kurama not only receive the life energy emanating from the mountain but also become conscious of their own “shinge” (pure and innocent spirit), and look forward to the dawn of a world of peace and harmony where lives of all people will shine with the brightest of lights. To create a world, where all lives shine,

Beautiful as the Moon (Love)
Warm as the Sun (Light)
Powerful as the Earth (Power)
We trust in Sonten for all things.”

Reading this put me into the perfect inner space to become conscious of my own pure and innocent spirit and my day was magical and rich in embodying the roots of my practice.  As I descended the mountain late in the afternoon, these words came to me and I knew they would become my 2018 Intention words.

Honour – to honour my teachers, all living things, and the planet I call home.

Gratitude – closely related, however it felt more like focusing on having a grateful heart and attitude in my life.

Playfulness – with another mountain spirit present named Tengu, my seriousness was interrupted with something that took me by surprise and made me laugh. It reminded me to keep a playful spirit alive in my life.

2018 feels full of opportunity to challenge the status quo and to continue to play my part in creating a world where all lives shine. May we all adopt this symbol of trust in Sonten and let Light, Love and Power lead us forward.  It will challenge many deeply held patterns so make sure to allow for a playful spirit to accompany you.

More to come from my travels in Japan. Happy New Year.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

In harmony,

Karen