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How Tapping Into Your Intuition is like Packing a Picnic

How Tapping Into Your Intuition is like Packing a Picnic

Intuition is the way in which the subconscious mind communicates with the conscious mind. There are many different ways to tap into your intuition. The most important tips to remember when trying to listen to your intuition are: understand your wants and needs, trust yourself, listen to your gut, pay attention to your body and what is going on around you, be relaxed and in the right mindset, and make a point to connect with other people. These will benefit you in the long run and help you harness your intuitive wisdom! With July being National Picnic Month, we decided that tapping into your intuition can be a lot like packing a picnic.

To start, picnics usually have a theme. All the food is meant to go together and compliment each other. Similarly, when trying to tap into your intuitive wisdom, you want to make sure you’re around the right people who don’t sway your decision making. Being around the wrong people impacts your ability to make decisions that are best for you and your health, and lessens your ability to listen to yourself.

Additionally, having an understanding of your wants and needs is much like the picnic blanket because both represent the foundation. Without truly knowing yourself and what you really want, how will you know what you are listening for? If we lack that basic foundation, we are more prone to making bad decisions, because we don’t know how to care for ourselves.

With that healthy foundation comes the picnic basket. The picnic basket is what carries your picnic, and it represents trusting yourself. You will not be able to carry yourself through life without having faith in yourself and the messages you receive. The more trust you put into yourself and your intuition, the greater your results will be. The food that is packed into the picnic basket represents “listening to your gut”. Our gut is lined with a system of neurons, which is why it sometimes feels like our emotions are sitting in our stomach. Our stomach is known to be a second brain, which is why experiencing anxiety gives us a stomach ache or why intense worry can turn into an ulcer. Listening to our gut is an important part of our intuition and the messages it brings are extremely important. The utensils of the picnic are a symbol of the way we need to pay attention to our bodies and surroundings. This is what helps us listen to our gut, which in turn helps us trust ourselves.

All of these components can be difficult to digest without being relaxed and in the right mindset. Poor decision making stems from a negative mindset. In order to listen to ourselves better, we need to embrace a more positive mindset. Packing a successful picnic always involves a good drink. The drink makes things go down smoother, and a good drink will alleviate stress and get your mood soaring. Then, eventually, we all succumb to something a little sweet at the end of our picnic. Surrendering to dessert is a lot like surrendering to your inner voice, which are both healing and empowering.

As you continue to think about ways to connect with your inner voice, remember to take moments of quiet meditation and self-reflection in order to develop this new skill even further.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

6 Ways to Celebrate the Sun This Solstice

6 Ways to Celebrate the Sun This Solstice

The summer solstice is about reflecting on personal growth, important cycles, and transformations. It is the day the sun stays out the longest, symbolizing the illumination of our consciousness. In ancient times, the solstice was believed to symbolize the journey to enlightenment. Sacred texts and traditions throughout the world admire the sun and it’s life-giving energy. This life-giving energy is certainly worth celebrating. Here are six ways you can celebrate the sun:

1. Wake up early with the sun as it rises.

Contemplate the way the earth looks as the rays of the sun touch down on it, and have gratitude for the day ahead of you.

2. Do a sun salutation.

At sunrise or sunset, get balanced by doing 12 rounds of sun salutation. As you move through the sequence, meditate on the energy of the sun and its life-giving light. A local studio might even have a virtual class you would like to take. Check out one of our favorite yoga studios, The Body Electric Yoga Company. They offer in-person and online yoga classes.

3. Have a fire ceremony

Using fire is a powerful way to connect with the sun. It will help you fully harness the energy of the summer solstice. To do this, start by creating a relaxing, comfortable, and still environment. Next, light a fire. If you don’t have access to an outdoor fire pit, you can light a candle indoors and create an altar. Then, write on a sheet of paper everything you wish to release from your life. Roll your paper up and burn it in the fire with the intention that all the things that no longer serve you are being burned away.

4. Make a sun wheel

Create a wreath with flowers and moss. Then, get strips of paper, write wishes on them, and tie them with strings to the wreath. Pass it around the group, giving it your good intentions, and burn it in the fire.

5. Make a sun tea

Making sun tea is a wonderful way to absorb the energy of the sun. You will need a large jug with a lid, a tea strainer, 3 tablespoons of your favorite black or herbal tea, and any additional fresh herbs you would like to include in your tea. This can be lavender, basil, mint, etc. Add your tea strainer in a jar with fresh water and let it steep in the direct sunlight for 4-6 hours. Finally, add ice and enjoy.

6. Unlock your creativity and sign up for our solstice expressive arts group!

On June 18, 2020, explore your place in time with a special summer creative practice – and a celebration of the sun at Solstice! We’ll set the mood with a guided, solar-centered meditation and reflect through art-making on the important cycles, transitions, systems, relationships and seasons of our lives. Click here for more information.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

How Friendships Enrich Our Lives

How Friendships Enrich Our Lives

For National Best Friend’s Day, we are celebrating the joys of friendship! Friendships enrich your life and your experiences in this world. They offer companionship, bring you joy, and help you grow. Some friendships are so strong that they outlive marriages, moves across the country, and even the relationships we have with our parents. It is all in the magic of platonic love, which is an incredibly special form of love that we share with our friends.

Platonic love is just as important as romantic love, if not more. It shows humans that deep love can exist outside of sexual and romantic attraction to one another. It is loving someone for who they are at their core, connecting with them, and developing a bond so strong that you feel like you have the ability to say any nonsense that pops into your head.

When we grow up and transition into adulthood, finding friends that truly get you are harder to come by. As adults, we naturally build up walls to protect ourselves from people with ill intentions. We learn that not everyone is who they say they are, not everyone loves you as much as you love them, and not everyone truly wants to see you succeed. It becomes difficult to break these barriers down and connect with one another, leaving us feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied in our relationships. We need friendships to get through life–our marriages, our relationship with our parents and sibilings, etc. Without that healthy foundation in our friendships, it becomes difficult to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

A good, healthy friendship can change your life in so many ways. Friends teach you about yourself, and help develop a strong sense of self-awareness that many of us are lacking. We need some tough love every once in a while, and a true friend provides that guidance and understanding without abandoning the friendship altogether. We need someone who loves and cares for us deeply to “tell it like it is” so we can become a better version of ourselves and grow together. A lack of support leads to a greater chance of depression and anxiety. Investing in the loving, supportive friendships you have will greatly enrich your life and benefit you in the long-term. It is important to cultivate these platonic relationships in order to be the healthiest version of ourselves and to lead happier and healthier lives.

For more information about tough love and friendship, check out friendship coach/expert  Danielle Bayard Jackson!

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

Love, Acceptance, and Pride

Love, Acceptance, and Pride

June is pride month, marking the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which broke out when police raided the Stonewall Inn in 1969. At the forefront of these protests and riots were two trans women of color, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson. These riots started a major transformation in the LGBT community and opened up the doors to conversations about gender, race, sexuality, love, acceptance, and pride.

Pride month should be a reminder that real change comes from building the foundation of our community on love and acceptance. It is our responsibility to not just create a safe space for the LGBT community, but to intertwine love, acceptance, and pride with our culture and in everything that we do. It is about being proud of who you are and who you love and being proud of other people for the same reason. This starts when we love and accept ourselves, which will trickle down to our words and actions. Until we learn how to be kind to ourselves, how can we possibly be kind to other people?
Change also starts when we educate our community about how loving and accepting people just as they are builds a strong and healthy foundation for the future. Now is not the time to allow people to be hateful to others based on their sexuality, gender identity, race, etc. In spite of the inner and outer work that still needs to be done, pride month is a celebration about love, and to show how far the LGBT community has come.

One of Integrative Counsel’s core values is to provide culturally competent services. We respect the uniqueness of every person including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, and religious affiliation. We are a creative organization and are here to help create change for the better. We want to see strong communities come together and aim to help facilitate this growth. Equal treatment of all humans is essential in this process! We ask that you join us in co-creating an inclusive community – for all!

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

 

 

 

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

The Perks of Local Produce

The Perks of Local Produce

Wondering how to boost your overall happiness and creativity? Try cooking with local produce. Local fruits and vegetables are healthier because they haven’t been frozen, so the flavors and nutrients are more complex. Fruits and vegetables will start losing their nutrients a day after being picked, and they sit in trucks for days while being shipped to different parts of the country. If you start purchasing from local farmers, you might begin to notice your body feeling different. You may feel brighter and more energized.

Buying local produce also helps you develop a richer connection with the food. You know where the food comes from and you start to know the farmers, as well. Your food now has a story behind it. There is love that goes into the soil that grows the vegetables that you eat, which pours nutrients and feel-good chemicals into your brain.

Additionally, many fruits and vegetables are rich in Vitamin B, C, and antioxidants that boost “happy” brain chemicals like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Scientifically speaking, eating local produce can improve your happiness, creativity, and curiosity. Your brain loves these fresh ingredients because it is able to soak up all the vitamins and minerals the fruits and vegetables have to offer without it being diluted by travel and refrigeration. A healthier body leads to a healthier brain, which will be far more active. Your imagination will light up because your mind has the fuel to work at full capacity.

Using local produce can also inspire you to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen and discover new ways to prepare these locally grown fruits and vegetables. Local St. Petersburg chef and baker, Dallas Bowling (@salladgnilwob on Instagram) uses produce from Little Pond Farm to create her mixed vegetable gnocchi. Here is what she had to say:

Quarantine happened, and along with paper products I was shocked to see fresh produce shelves bare virtually everywhere! Local farmers quickly stepped up to fill the need, namely St Pete’s Saturday Morning Market, where local farms began adapting to this new way of life! These weekly boxes of straight from the farm produce were a beacon of inspiration for me.

This recipe can be easily adapted for fall or winter produce as well! Add the veggies you like, and take away what you don’t!

servings 4-6

-olive oil

-salt

-black pepper

-your favorite dry italian seasoning blend, 1/2 teaspoon

-2 16 oz packages ready made gnocchi

-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

-1/2 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

-6 small eggplants, sliced into medallions (you could also use zucchini or squash!)

-1 large diced white onion (feel free to add extra onion, leeks, or spring onion if you have those around—-the more the merrier!)

-4 large cloves of garlic, chopped

-1/2 stick butter

-1 cup dry white wine

-1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

•preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

•lay your eggplant, squash, and/or zucchini medallions in a single layer on a sheet pan, sprinkle generously with salt and leave to sit for about 10 min to draw out their liquids, then wipe them off with a damp paper towel.

•sprinkle your eggplant with the italian seasoning and 2 tablespoons olive oil on both sides.

•make sure your eggplant is in a single layer on the sheet pan, then place in the oven for 35-40 min, flipping halfway through, until they are golden brown.

•Put a pot over medium heat, add 2 generous tablespoons olive oil and  allow it to warm up, about 2 minutes.

•add your onions (and other onion type vegetables, if using) allow them to fry in the oil until translucent and starting to turn golden brown, then add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

•stand back, and the butter to the pot, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, then add the white wine to the pot, it will bubble aggressively as the alcohol evaporates.

•add the gnocchi and parmesan cheese, stir, turn the heat to medium low and with the lid on, allow to cook for 4-7 min longer, or until the gnocchi is soft.

•Finally, add the roasted eggplant (and any other vegetables!), cherry tomatoes, and chopped basil

•Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

How to Activate Your Creativity in Nature

How to Activate Your Creativity in Nature

Spending time in nature is the antidote to a creative blockage. Being outdoors enhances “high order thinking” (analyzing, evaluating, and creating) because the prefrontal cortex is no longer under a ton of stress.
Nature gives the brain that time to relax while sitting and taking in the scenery. This creates a serene, meditative feeling that allows the mind to wander and daydream. It is gentle and soft, and the sound of the leaves moving in the trees or the way the clouds look as they move across the sky are fascinating without overwhelming the mind. Entering this state of mind helps enhance our imagination and creativity, and there are so many ways to do this.
Start by taking a 10-minute walk. While on your walk, begin to see your surroundings as if you were a tourist seeing them for the first time. Allow your eyes to be drawn to items that “call you” – be it a twig, leaf, stone, or feather. Collect at least three items from nature and take them home with you. Create a small space in your home where you can put objects that give meaning to your life, and put the objects that you collected on your walk here.
Another simple way to activate your creativity in nature is to observe and allow yourself to be in awe. Just sitting and taking in a magnificent view relaxes your brain while not letting it go into autopilot. This leads to an “a-ha!” moment that expands your mind to all the creative possibilities.
Sitting with your thoughts and emotions while enjoying the magnificence of the outdoors helps activate your creativity. Allowing those thoughts and feelings to pass without shoving them down and being present with the way life flows around you is the best way to access the expressive part of your brain. Express, expand, and evolve with the mental and physical tools nature provides for you.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

4 Benefits of Online Therapy

4 Benefits of Online Therapy

If you have been reluctant to start online therapy, now is the time. These are unprecedented times, with challenging and potent energy surrounding us. Talking it out with a therapist can do wonders for your overall well being. Here are some benefits of online counseling:

  1. It is convenient and comfortable. Online counseling can be done from the comfort of your own home, making it easy to just log on without ever having to leave the house. This saves you a lot of time, as well, because it won’t be necessary to commute back and forth between sessions, eliminating the dread that comes with punctuality and the possibility of getting stuck in traffic.
  2.  It is secure. The platform used for online counseling is HIPAA compliant, meaning personal patient information is completely protected. The online platform is also more secure because it gets rid of the possibility of running into someone you know in the waiting room or parking lot. 
  3. You will feel more open. If you have been reluctant to start therapy, you might find that you can be more open with your therapist through video chat than you would be in person. If you are shy or anxious about opening up, online counseling will make that process easier because the anxiety that accompanies face to face vulnerability evaporates. It becomes easier to forget someone else is with you, and the feelings and emotions just flow out.
  4. It is better than “bargain” therapy.
    The counseling that Integrative Counsel offers is more valuable than bargain therapy like Talkspace and Betterhelp because our practitioners consider therapy a profession and a craft. This shines through in our online counseling because it is not a way to give out a cheaper alternative to traditional in-person therapy, but just a different way to get the high-caliber of therapy we already offer.

Online counseling is safe, convenient, comfortable, open, and a better value than the quicker and cheaper alternatives. Don’t wait to get the help you need.

Here is an example of what the software looks like:

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

How to Celebrate National Photography Month

How to Celebrate National Photography Month

May is national photography month. Photography is dynamic; a blend of daily life, nostalgia, and art. Looking at pictures is like going back in time, or looking through a window and seeing a different version of the world as you know it. It is also the ability to get creative and artistic while taking pictures and capturing those candid and raw moments. Dayna Wood, our leadership coach, loves photography and two of her images have been chosen to appear in the Files & Film art show. She shares some of the reasons she celebrates her craft:

My aim in photography and art is not to create a pretty picture. Though, I admire technicality. I seek to bring what at first appearance seems split down the middle closer together; the sacred in the profane, and the temporality of the pure. Saudade, a Portuguese word that doesn’t translate into English, elicits happy and sad feelings simultaneously. It is the recollection of feelings and experiences that once brought pleasure, well-being, and love, but which are now gone. The missing triggers the senses and makes one feel alive again. My hope is these images will necessitate altering assumptions.

Likewise, photography allows me to see anew. It is like an applied meditation practice: not only the taking of the pictures but the choosing which ones to bring into the darkroom, and then in the darkroom, I can’t help but be in a constant state of “awe”. The slowing down. You have to take it step-by-step or there will be no image. And, the images that arise are never quite what you expect. It is manifestation at its finest (even if the image “isn’t good”). You have to do your part and then let go.

When celebrating photography this month, think about how often you look at pictures, or take pictures. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t take a picture of something that I share with someone else later, or that I don’t look at pictures other people have taken. Even if you are an amateur photographer, or don’t consider yourself much of a photographer at all, there are still ways to celebrate this month. Creating a photo album, making a family tree with pictures, taking selfies, and taking pictures on your nature walk are great ways to start.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Our Five Fave Quotes About Motherhood

Our Five Fave Quotes About Motherhood

For Mother’s Day, we are thinking about all the wonderful qualities these women who gave us life possess. They are the foundation of life and the rock that we lean on. We have compiled a list of our top five favorite quotes about motherhood.

We are forever grateful for our mothers, who taught us to speak, to read, and most importantly, to love. 

2.

Being a mother is not easy. Raising and influencing small humans who will one day grow up to influence the world in various ways is the most important job there is.

3.

We believe that there is no greater privilege than to be a mother and that is an honor to be able to teach another human being the ways of the world, that they are safe and loved, and that they are capable of whatever they desire.

4.

There is no love as bright and warm as the love a mother feels for her child and vice versa. It is a powerful force that comes from within.

5.

There are so many ways to love your children. Your children are there to teach you as you teach them. It’s okay to feel like you are improvising sometimes. Being a good mother only requires unconditional love.

We hope you enjoy these quotes about motherhood. Share this with your mom and let you know you cherish her.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

How Pets Improve Mental Health

How Pets Improve Mental Health

Having pets improves the quality of our mental health in so many wonderful and meaningful ways. They teach us valuable lessons about companionship and how to live your best life. They have the ability to alleviate anxiety, depression, loneliness, and encourage you to get exercise.

The therapeutic effect that pets have on humans is amazing. This stems from our need for touch. Petting, cuddling, and hugging your pet while experiencing reciprocal love from them boosts your mood and eases depression and loneliness. This companionship boosts your mental health because you have an animal that you love to take care of, allowing you to think of something other than your problems.

Having a pet also reduces anxiety, not only because you have a companion, but because they can teach you so much about living in the moment. When I look over at my cat, she is usually napping, staring out the window, eating, or playing with her toys. She rarely seems bored, just content to do what she wants to do as the world moves around her. This is how we should be living our lives. Our pets can teach us so many wonderful things about being mindful and staying in the present.

In addition, cats and dogs thrive on routine. They need to be fed and watered at a certain time, and they need their regular exercise, all things you as their owner provide for them. Being on a consistent routine with your pet helps boost your mental health because you have no choice but to overcome the voice that wants you to stay in bed all day because of your anxiety or depression. This gives you a sense of purpose–you have this ability to merge with the animal and create a bond with each other like none other.

If you are having problems finding meaning and joy in your life, I urge you to stop at your local animal shelter and find yourself a friend. You need them as much as they need you, and you will see that because of your pets, mental health soars in ways you never knew possible.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.