Anna Maria Locke

Journal prompts for each phase of your moon cycle (free e-book!)

2019Anna Locke
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Although you might not realize it, you’re already living your life through cycles and routines. Throughout the year we experience the changing seasons of nature. Every morning and evening you have a routine to start and end your day (even if it’s as simple as brushing your teeth and setting your alarm). Even though it’s easy to get caught in the constant “busy” of our modern lives, tuning back into the cyclical ebb and flow of nature and our own female bodies can help us stay grounded, calm, and protect us from burning out or losing sight of our priorities. I’ve found that creating a regular journaling practice can be one of the easiest and most accessible ways to tap into the wisdom inside of us and gain a deeper understanding of our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Ever since I was a little girl I loved to journal. At first it was a way for me to record my thoughts about life, express my emotions, leave my fears and frustrations on the page, make sense of the craziness inside my creative, introverted, sensitive mind. After I quit the birth control pill, I was amazed to re-discover my body’s natural rhythms through the ebb and flow of my hormones and menstrual cycle.

We aren’t usually taught how to take advantage of these energetic shifts that we experience throughout the year or month, but when we pause to bring a deeper awareness to where we’re at in our cycle we can unlock so many hidden “superpowers” like an instant connection to our intuition, deeper relationships, the ability to clearly communicate our ideas and vision, an ability to rest and renew our energy, and more. It’s pretty much endless and completely mind blowing!

Instead of viewing our cycle as a curse or hormones as something to be managed and controlled, we can allow ourselves to truly embody what it means to be a woman, endlessly shifting and changing and YES, emotional and deep and wild.

Where to start?

It’s tempting to go down the rabbit hole of books and courses and apps, but I always recommend starting with where you’re at when it comes to tracking your cycle, since our bodies are all different. If you bleed on a semi-regular basis (whether or not you’re on the pill or using hormonal birth control), count the first day of bleeding as Day One, and track the days from there until your next bleed. After 2-3 cycles, you might start to notice patterns in your energy, mood, mindset, etc throughout the month, which you can use to inform your routine, self care, when you schedule social events or big work projects, etc.

In this post I’ll share some of my favorite journal prompts for every day, as well as for each “phase” or season of your cycle so you can tap deeper into your intuition and pull out insights and guidance.

The four inner seasons of your cycle

Our menstrual cycle can be compared to the 28 day cycle of the moon, although our bodies are more complex so you most likely won’t bleed like clockwork every time the moon is full or new, and that’s ok! I like drawing comparisons between our hormone cycle and the energetic attributes of the four seasons, or the phases of the moon.

>> you may or may not experience any or all of these “seasons” throughout the course of your own cycle. This is why it’s so important to track YOUR energy and get to know your own body. This practice is not exclusive to menstruating women. It is for anyone who identifies as female, anyone who experiences a cycle, or anyone who does not have a physical cycle but is interested in exploring their feminine (as in “yin,”  not gendered) energy.

Winter // New Moon

When you’re on your period, you’re moving through the menstrual phase of your cycle, which can be compared to the season of winter, or the new moon. Your energy is drawn inward and it’s a season of rest and renewal before we emerge back into the world. This is a time to pause and slow down, and reflect on your goals or set new intentions for the cycle ahead.

Spring // Waxing Moon

After your period, you move into your follicular phase as your hormones start to kick back into gear to prepare your body to release another egg, and with that comes a surge of fresh energy much like the season of spring. This phase can be compared to the waxing moon or first quarter moon, the time that the moon is growing from new to full. It’s a transitional phase of new beginnings that can feel quite motivating or even overwhelming if you try to do too much too soon.

Summer // Full Moon

After the follicular phase comes ovulation, when your body releases an egg that will either be fertilized if you’re pregnant, or more likely travel down your fallopian tubes and be shed at your next period. This phase feels like summer - a time to pause again but in celebration of life and warm weather. It’s a great time to put your work into the world, socialize, and take advantage of the potent energy of the full moon.

Autumn // Waning Moon

After the peak of ovulation, your hormones will do a bit of a rollercoaster which can cause physical or emotional turbulence we call PMS. Like the season of autumn, this time can feel messy and stormy as we release what’s no longer serving us just as the leaves fall from the trees in preperation for winter to come. This season relates to the waning moon, the transition between full to new, as the earth’s shadow starts to cover the surface of the moon and it appears to shrink in the sky. This is a potent and magical time that can be full of insights and creativity if we channel our turbulent energy in productive ways, but we also have to make sure to start slowing down so we can rest during our coming winter. You might notice that if you push yourself too hard during this time, you’ll burn out or breakdown. It’s all part of the process!

  • We tend to focus on the new moon and full moon, but the transitional times in between are just as powerful (if not more so).. Lots of turbulent energy. That's why I've provided extensive journal prompts for inner spring and especially inner autumn, a wonderful time to dig deep and release since we tend to feel more emotionally turbulent in the week before our period.

How to use these prompts

You might be thinking either “yay, I love journaling!” or “ugh, I hate journaling.”

Either way, approach this practice with a beginner’s mind, because it’s a different kind of writing than you may have done before.

I recommend taking a stream-of-conscious approach to these prompts. Don’t overthink, don’t judge or censor yourself, and remember that you’re collecting data like a scientist. This journaling isn’t meant to be read by anyone other than you.

It might be helpful to create a bedtime routine so you can reflect back on the previous day. Keep a notebook next to your bed and set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes if you need some structure to stay accountable for getting it done. Remember that this isn’t an “all or nothing” thing, even 1-2 minutes counts!

Start with the daily prompts, and then once you start to recognize the ebb and flow of your own inner seasons, you can add in the seasonal prompts, or use them during the phases of the moon to bring more intention to your work and life!

Daily Prompts

  • What cycle day is it? (first day of bleeding is day 1)

  • How do I feel physically?

  • How do I feel mentally?

  • How do I feel energetically?

  • What is my body telling me?

  • What is my intuition telling me

  • What do I need right now?

Inner Winter/New Moon Prompts

  • What can I let go of?

  • What new intentions am I planting?

  • Where is life taking me right now?

  • What is pulling on my heart?

  • Anything else I need to know?

  • How can I give myself 1% more compassion and grace?

  • What does my inner Wise Woman (80 year old self) want me to know?

Inner Spring // Waxing Moon Prompts

  • What do you want to make happen this cycle? (brainstorm your plan!)

  • What new opportunities or projects do you feel called to begin?

  • Create some positive affirmations that resonate with you

  • How do you want to define “success” this cycle? This year? This season of life?

  • What are your top 3 business priorities right now?

  • Top 3 personal priorities?

  • How can you show up this week and honor your priorities?

  • How can you move your business forward in alignment with your new energy?

  • How can you pace yourself and surrender control over the outcome?

  • Imagine yourself as a little girl - happy and free. What does she want you to know?

Inner Summer // Full Moon Prompts

  • What can I celebrate right now?

  • What or who am I grateful for?

  • What does the concept of “open hearted” mean to me?

  • What do I desire right now?

  • What can I receive right now?

  • How can I slow down and trust that everything I am manifesting and creating is already on its way?

  • Connect with your inner Mother or Goddess archetype, the nurturing and expansive creative force inside of you. What does she want you to know?

Inner Autumn // Waning Moon Prompts

  • Connect with your inner Wild Woman archetype. What does she want you to know?

  • What is no longer working?

  • What can I release?

  • What fears or limiting beliefs am I holding?

  • What open projects or conversations are draining my energy? What can I bring to completion right now?

  • How can I surrender?

  • What self-sabotaging behaviors keep coming back to haunt you (the ones you’ve been “working on” for years but can’t seem to “get rid of”)?

  • Where are you doing something that doesn’t feel like you?

  • What do you fear is the worst that could happen if you allow the world to see who you “really” are?

  • What are you angry about?

  • What are your needs? What’s yours to own, and what isn’t? Where do you need to stand firm and set a boundary?

  • What are you ashamed about?

  • What fears are manifesting for you right now?

  • What is your inner critic saying to you? What is the underlying message?

Further Resources

The Book of She and The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover

Adore Your Cycle e-book by Claire Baker (Claire also has amazing e-courses for connecting with your cycle and creativity!)

Red Moon by Miranda Gray

Lunar Abundance by Ezzie Spencer

Moon Time: Harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle by Lucy Pearce


(this post contains affiliate links, so if you end up ordering a book I may receive a small kickback at no extra cost to you! yah abundance!)

10 ways to love yourself more in 2019

2019Anna Locke
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Happy New Year friend!

I hope you had a relaxing holiday season filled with cookies and cheer and are easing back into reality this week, looking forward with anticipation for all the adventures and memories to be made this year. Don't be afraid to take it slow even though it's tempting to want to dive back into ALLTHETHINGS!

2019 is just beginning and we have plenty of time, so deep breaths if you're already feeling a bit overwhelmed. (Yup, this is me talking to myself.)

This is the time of year for fresh starts and setting new goals and intentions for ourselves, and as a life coach I’m a huge fan of goals! However, sometimes we ambitious go-getters have a tendency to focus on all the things we want to ACHIEVE (weight loss, health, personal or business growth, deeper relationships...) and often neglect how we want to feel about our relationship with ourselves, our foundation.

Your relationship with yourself is the limiting factor for every other aspect of your life. It sets the minimum standard for your relationship with others, your career, physical health, how you show up for others, and the level of success you achieve in anything.

For example, when your relationship with yourself is thriving, it’s much easier for your relationship with your significant other to thrive. For your business to thrive. For your physical health to thrive. All because you are confident, empowered, and know that you don’t need anyone or anything else to feel whole.

And yet, our relationship with ourselves is often the last thing we consider when thinking about all the other important responsibilities and goals on our plate.

I found myself getting caught in the goal-palooza of all the business and growth milestones I wanna achieve this year, then decided to pivot and also focus on how I want to show up for ME.

Because your worth goes so much deeper than what you achieve, how often you post on social media, the number in your bank account, or how much you weigh.

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10 WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF MORE IN 2019

  1. Take the pressure and deadlines off your goals. Give yourself space to grow, trusting that the outcome is on its way.

  2. Say NO to people, opportunities, and invitations that drain your energy. Setting boundaries and sticking up for yourself = self care.

  3. Workout and eat healthy because it makes you feel good, not to get smaller.

  4. Read a book for fun or watch your fave TV show as part of your morning routine.

  5. Make a coffee date with someone you'd like to get to know better.

  6. Go through your closet and donate all the clothes that are too tight or make you feel blah, then buy yourself some new stretchy jeans in your "right now" size without judging the number. (I am obsessed with American Eagle stretchy jeggings!)

  7. Date yourself! I love the concept of the “artist’s date” by Julia Cameron, a weekly solo expedition to explore something interesting to you.

  8. Check out a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try and order what you WANT, not the cheapest or healthiest option on the menu. Save room for dessert ;)

  9. Explore a new part of your town or city, alone or with a partner or friend

  10. Play the game “COZY MAX CHALLENGE” and see if you can max out your coziness level. Take a bath, put on your snuggliest clothes, make cocoa, light candles, snuggle your pet or sig other, keep asking “what would make this situation cozier?” until you disintegrate into a ball of bliss. I have to give my husband Ben credit for this idea.

What are your goals for 2019? I'd love to hear what you want to create or experience this year!

xo Anna

Life lately - summer updates, recovery, and behind the scenes

2018Anna Locke

Happy August!

I know my last post was a bit heavy, but before I re-launch the blog back into "business as usual," I wanted to share a life update and behind the scenes on what I’ve been up to this summer and how I’ve been feeling. To remind you (and myself) that it’s ok to feel like your life is a hot mess. That it’s still possible to seek meaning and joy and work towards your dreams and business goals while processing grief and loss and all the shit too. Big love and hugs all around!

Our deck has become my happy place.

The weather has for the most part been cool and glorious and I love spending my mornings camped out on the wicker loveseat Ben gave me for my birthday, reading and journaling and thinking and be-ing. Feeling the breeze, watching the squirrels turn the power lines into their circus arena, watching the airplanes glide into O’Hare, trying to ignore the occasional wafts of summer trash smell coming from the dumpster right below.

Sometimes our neighbors across the alley blast mariachi music.

My little sanctuary in the city.

May and June were a whirlwind. Loss and grief as I went through the miscarriage, the high of our annual coach Summit, travel to Florida and Tennessee, bills on bills on bills. Between losing a pregnancy and having two new biopsies done on abnormal spots I have been an expensive human being this year.

So how have I been feeling, really?

Some weeks I’m doing great and flying high, but for the most part I’m just trying to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy summer and not drink too many margaritas and keep my business afloat and serve my clients and be a good friend/wife/daughter and not be wracked with uncontrollable envy when I see my pregnant friends. Because everyone and their mother is apparently pregnant right now, did you notice? I am happy for you, I truly am.

They tell me I am being so strong and I say “well, life happens!” and change the subject before I start crying.

But a piece of me likes playing victim and pity party too. I hear that the only cure for miscarriage grief is getting pregnant again, but at the same time I am terrified of losing all my energy and losing my body and being exhausted and can we even afford this? Am I actually ready to be a mother? FUCK I DON’T KNOW! They all say it’s worth it, in tired strained voices as they bark at their misbehaving toddler in the same breath.

I recently took the Enneagram personality test (here is a great free version!) and was “diagnosed” as a 4, which apparently means I'm good at processing grief, experiencing melancholy, and don't just have feelings ... I AM my feelings. YOU DON'T SAY. I feel like I suddenly understand myself so much better. I feel it all.

When July hit, I was desperate for a fresh start and threw myself into the pursuit of “reclaiming my joy” and my body.

But this week I had a fleeting thought: I think I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself.

I want this year to be my year so bad. The year my business finally blasts through the stable comfy plateau it’s been sitting in. The year I grow into myself. Confidence, gratitude, give zero F’s, overcome fears. The year we start a family.

I want this to be the year that good things happen. That life isn’t so hard. (Ha!)

My biggest fear right now is that I won’t be able to grow a baby and grow a business at the same time. That we won’t be financially prepared for this next step. That we won’t be able to afford to buy a house until we are 40.

But so what if we need to stay in our little apartment for a while longer? I can claim a plot in the community garden down the street.

I tend to focus on what's missing from my life, so I'm making an effort to practice gratitude and look at what is already here. Because overall I'm pretty much living my dream, and life is good.

And as much as I've been craving nature and mountains and wilderness...

Chicago isn’t too bad.

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A sneak peek behind the scenes:

Even though I tend to go into hermit mode, I’ve been making an intentional effort to get together in person with friends and family as much as possible, and create more coffee dates//networking opportunities with other coaches and entrepreneurs here in the city and I am so immensely grateful for the support and love and connections I have in my life.

I went to Iowa for my college roommate’s daughter’s baptism.

I went to my first Tony Robbins event, Unleash the Power Within (and the power was unleeeeeeashed). You can watch my re-cap video here!

My friend Amanda and I launched our workshop and wellness event business, Empowered & Free.

I've been running the beta round of my Cycle Sync Your Biz program with a small and awesome group of women.

Ben and I started LIIFT4, a new strength program together.

My mom in law Pat came to visit. We went to a concert in the park and other summery things and it was really fun.

I've been getting back into yoga, getting back into church, and spending lots of downtime reading Game of Thrones and watching Bachelorette, Nashville, and Real Housewives.

 

August Intentions

Heading into the final stretch of summer, here are my intentions!

  • I want to continue to focus on in-person relationships
  • launch my Cycle Sync Your Biz program! (email me if you're interested)
  • get back into a blogging groove
  • be intentional with social media consumption (loving the Facebook News Feed Eradicator plug in)
  • turn my piles of fabric into headbands and scarves for the fall season in the Etsy shop
  • dive back into the baby making journey without stress.
  • add more free resources to this blog!

Notes to self/you:

-it’s ok to be solitary, to dive into projects and work (I don’t have to be present on social media every day)

-it’s ok to have enormous goals and feel like there’s no way I can do it all. (lean on trust and faith and baby steps)

-don’t be afraid to show up and LEVEL UP. Do the work/hold the space/life the life/claim the energy as if I am already there.

-take action before I feel ready (I’ll never feel ready)

I'm excited about what's to come, but at the same time I'm content with how things are right now. I think that's a pretty good place to be :)

xo Anna