Setting Intentions Through Challenging Times - PMD Alliance
Sometimes, it’s a crisis that creates our awakening.  

As an emotional intelligence trainer, I guide people through life changes and help them set their intentions for a life that aligns with who they are, their purpose in the world, and their deepest desires. But feeling hopeful about your possibilities can seem difficult when you’re navigating a progressive disease or are facing challenging life circumstances that feel like they’re beyond your control. Rather than seeing this as a moment of crisis, I invite you to see it as a moment of awakening: when we look beneath the surface of our unexpected circumstances, not only do we realize we still have choices, but we can begin to shift our internal dialogue from, “Why me?” to “What can I learn from this?” This is how we grow.  

With the new year upon us, I believe it’s important to note a difference between New Year’s resolutions, or goal-setting, and intention setting. Goals have a hard edge to them, they’re about achieving things. For example, a goal might be to lose 50 lbs. But an intention moves us deeper into our essence; it’s about how we want to be every day. An intention might be to focus on radiant health, to eat well, to exercise, to truly feel good in your body. An intention moves us forward. It’s a kinder, gentler way of looking at how we want to be in our lives.  

Intentions aren’t wish lists; intentions are aligned with your heart or that deep, true voice within you. Which means setting intentions requires getting clear about what’s in your heart. It requires listening.  

But how do you listen?

Especially when you’re facing challenging life circumstances or even just the everyday hustle and bustle of life, it’s hard to declutter all the noise and step back from the busyness to really hear yourself. I believe it starts with committing to creating quiet space for reflection in your life. It could start with just five minutes, maybe as you begin or end your day. Everybody can create a space of reflection that best suits them.

Your space of reflection can include:  
  • Sitting for five minutes of quiet meditation 
  • Listening to inspirational music 
  • Reading uplifting quotes or biblical passages 
  • Walking in nature to power down from all the noise and feel nature’s peaceful energy 
  • Journaling 
  • Repeating mantras or affirmations 
  • A gratitude practice – writing down or listing in your mind what you’re grateful for 
  • Visualization – for example, you may say to yourself, “Today, I visualize myself moving through my day gracefully” or “Today, I visualize myself focusing on my self-care.”  
Your space of reflection is a space to get curious.

In those quiet moments, maybe you ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” “Where am I feeling it in my body?” When life seems uncertain or tumultuous, the most important thing, before you act and hook your energy into the fear and uncertainty, is to pause, step back, and reflect. I have clients that say, “My day is so busy, I can’t take this time. I can’t, I can’t.” I believe it’s not about finding time, but creating it. If you want a more peaceful life, a life that honors you, a life that feels aligned with who you are, you deserve to offer yourself these five minutes. 

When you or your loved one gets a movement disorder diagnosis or when life throws unwelcome circumstances your way, it can feel like it’s impossible to set intentions. It may feel like you’re grieving the future you dreamed of. It may feel like there are too many obstacles in your path to embrace your life’s hopeful possibilities. I had my own cancer experience two years ago, so I’ve had practice being in that unexpected place. But I believe, no matter what’s happening in your life, living your fullest, most purposeful life is about looking in your life to see what’s working.  

Look at your life to see the lessons you’re learning through this challenge, to see the resilience you’re building.

Look for the little miracles – the joys of looking at a sunset or smelling the flowers. Notice the goodness that’s there in your life. Because we can focus on the pain and the suffering and the discomfort, or we can look at the other side and see the good that’s happening. Through which lens do you want to see the world?  

There are a lot of unknowns when you get a diagnosis like Parkinson’s.

This can lead you to worry or fear for your future. But no one deserves to live their life from a place of fear. Instead, begin to shift your intentions – and shift your life – by asking yourself, “How can I bring love to my day today?” or “How can I shift what I’m doing right now to feel love?” This is how we shift from crisis-mode or from a sense of upheaval and feeling like the victim to greater ease. To love.  

Setting intentions through challenging or unasked for circumstances is all about making adjustments along the way.

It’s about welcoming in a new normal – or the next normal as your definition of normal changes over time. This is okay. Being willing to make changes in the steps you take to fulfill your intentions or in your pace is not a failure; it shows you’re listening to the moment and to yourself, that you’re being respectful to you.  

Remember, as you navigate change, build a support network. It could be trusted friends and family members, coaches, therapists, doctors, a support group. Make connections, reach out to communities that make you feel good. We all have choices. Intention-setting is about waking up every day and saying, “How do I choose to be today?” And “who can I surround myself with to stay connected to my resilience and my joy?”  

The most courageous work I believe anybody can do is working on themselves.

The more you offer yourself time to reflect, the more you give yourself the chance to hear the whispers of the true voice inside you, the more you’ll make honorable and loving choices for yourself. You’ll begin to see you’re not stuck; you can see to the other side, through the lens of love. As you strengthen inside, you’ll begin to see the possibilities for you in your life and you’ll find more creative solutions in all areas of your life. You will transform. 

Take a deep dive and listen to Christine's full conversation with PMD Alliance team member, Ashley:

About Christine Hazen Molina

Christine Hazen Molina is CEO/Founder/Principal of Heartfelt Workforce, a boutique consulting firm that provides organizations with Strategic Consultation in the area of Professional Development & Executive Coaching for Leadership Success.

Christine has over 25 years of extensive experience in professional training, coaching and consulting for human behavior in the workplace through soft skills mastery with Emotional and Social Intelligence training.

Christine has worked with public and private sectors clients facilitating Emotional Intelligence training and coaching in the City of Tucson’s Ignite Leadership Academy, City of Phoenix, Tucson Water, Tucson Police, El Rio Healthcare, Arizona State University Bob Ramsey Executive Education, Securaplane Technologies, Kaiser Permanente and Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona. Clients call on Christine for Strategic Consultation in the area of Professional Development & Executive Coaching for Leadership Success.

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