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How To Craft Your Homestead Intentions
My path into homesteading started with a strong intention to follow my passions and my heart. When I made the intention and spoke it out loud, I could hardly believe what I was hearing myself say. My heart was beating and I felt more alive.
Since that moment of choice I’ve realized the power of intention in my life. I’ve continued to hone my own practice of using intent to design the homesteading life of my dreams.
Perhaps you are familiar with the expression “feeling aligned with the universe”? In my experience, I tend to feel more aligned with the universe when I am also aligning with the intentions that I have carefully crafted.
I’d like to share my process and practice of crafting homestead intentions. This process has served me well and I hope it helps you too.
Table of Contents
Background: Intentions vs Goals
I could name this guide “Defining Your Homestead Goals”. But I prefer to use the word intention instead of goal.
I’ve set goals to help define my high level objectives. That has worked well for me. Defining and writing down my goals have allowed me to become clear in what I want to achieve in my life.
But something has shifted inside me and emphasizing my intentions now fits better as I shape my homestead life. Before explaining why, I’d like to share my understanding of these two words:
A goal is a measurable outcome that I want to reach. An intention is a choice I am in the process of making.
A goal is some future end result. An intention is something I carry with me in this moment.
A goal is something to aim for in the distance. An intention is a living, breathing part of myself.
While I can carry my living intentions with me, I can also act on them by intending (the verb form).
To intend is to move towards choice. Or if the choice has already been made: Intending is continuing to choose through ongoing thoughts and actions.
Making an intention is necessary to manifest some change. I can manifest a result or goal, but not before getting clear with my intention. That result can be measured and celebrated when it is reached.
What about the path leading to the goal? The path is where I spend most of my time walking. Through my active intent, I am helping myself better embrace this moment, wherever I happen to be on my path.
In the past I have set goals and started on a path to achieve them but got disconnected from my intentions along the way.
For example, like many modern Americans, I used to have a goal of earning and saving up a lot of money. My intention was to have enough money so that I didn’t have to work and that I could relax, or live a life that feels like I am on vacation.
But in the process of moving towards that goal, I placed my intentions out in front of me alongside the desired future outcome. It became painfully obvious when my body objected to the path I was on. But I was so focused on my goal that I couldn’t clearly hear the objections.
Now I want to align this current moment with my intentions. Becoming more present is a process that is unraveling, shifting, moving, breathing inside of me.
Herbalism is teaching me that my body is not just some machine that needs food and medicine. My body is a dynamic multitude of various autonomous and interdependent life forms that communicate with each other in relative symbiosis as my physical being moves through time and space.
Homesteading is teaching me that different aspects of my life are not separate. My hobbies, career, friends, family, food, philosophies and spirit are all spiraling around each other in a beautiful symphony that I like to call homesteading.
I want (and intend) to embrace these connections in my life, embrace all that cannot be defined by reason both inside and outside myself and embrace lessons that bring me closer to a holistic way of being.
For all intents and purposes, intention and goal are synonyms and you can use them interchangeably. Perhaps you prefer the word goal because it feels better inside you. That’s OK with me, and you can swap out intention for goal as you continue reading.
But for me, while the difference is subtle, it is powerful enough to help me manifest new ways in which I carry myself through my life. In the spirit of manifesting beauty and change, I invite you to craft new intentions and exercise your intent as you design your homesteading life.
Exercise #1: Naming Your Attractions to Homesteading
For those of us not born into the homesteading lifestyle, there are some things attracting us to homesteading. For some of us the pull to homesteading is very strong and can’t be ignored. For others, it is an intriguing curiosity that wants to be explored further.
If you are reading this, I am assuming the attraction is strong enough that you are considering making a lifestyle change into homesteading. (Either way, I invite you to let us know in the comments what this attraction feels like to you – it would help me learn from you!)
Identifying my attractions helps me put aside any fears or doubts, at least momentarily, and focus on the positive aspects of my homesteading dream.
Identifying my attraction to homesteading will help me choose my intentions wisely. As I identify my attractions I give life to the source of inspiration inside me. I can bring my muse, or inner genius to the forefront, with regards to how I am feeling in this attraction.
Synonyms of attract include verbs like: appeal, captivate, draw, enchant, engage, entice, fascinate, interest, intrigue, invite, lure, pull and seduce.
With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to spend some quiet time to listen to your own attractions to homesteading. If it helps, you can close your eyes as you ponder these questions. Write down whatever comes to you so that you can refer to this later.
If my attractions have a voice, what does that voice sound like? What would this voice be saying to me as it entices, pulls or invites me toward homesteading?
As you listen to this voice inside you, ask it if it would let you know:
What features of homesteading are most attractive to me?
What enjoyable homesteading actions do I imagine myself carrying out on a regular basis?
Re-read your answers and check in to see if they feel right in your heart. Check with your gut to see if the answers are coming from a place of allurement, enchantment or fascination, rather than from a place of fear.
When you are satisfied, keep your written answers close at hand and they will come in handy for the next exercise.
Spoiler alert: I will be sharing my responses to these questions after the photo, in case you want to write yours down before reading mine.
In my case, when I answer these questions I find that I choose to homestead because I am attracted to:
- Inviting my heart to the grown up table when it comes to making life choices.
- Continuing to nourish my love for gardening.
- Passionately cooking nutritious homegrown and local foods.
- Enjoying time outdoors.
- Finding and embracing more meaningful connections in my life.
- Learning to adopt a slower pace of life.
- Becoming more intimately connected with my basic human needs.
- Living in a way that increases my positive impact on the environment.
Exercise #2: Tuning Into Your Feelings Around Homesteading
Now I’d like to invite you to consider what you imagine or hope it will feel like to homestead. Or if you are already homesteading, what feelings do you want to continue having, and what shifts do you want to experience in your feelings as you continue homesteading?
If I look past all my reasons for homesteading, I find that it is actually my feelings that are my motivations for making choices.
And this is why I asked you to find your attractions to homesteading rather than list your reasons for homesteading. Knowing your attractions will help you better tune into your feelings around homesteading.
Before imagining or diving into your feelings around homesteading, I’d like to preface this exercise by suggesting that there is no wrong definition for homesteading. If I ask 10 homesteaders what it means to be a homesteader, I’ll hear 10 different definitions.
We are all actively defining what it means to homestead together. We are defining a homestead culture through our thoughts and actions.
We are also learning from generations before us, yet our context and world view are different than it was one or two centuries ago. Homesteading today looks familiar, but it is also very different from what it was in the 1800’s (I talk about this a bit more in Why Do I Homestead?).
And so I offer you permission to imagine homesteading any way you want. Any way you can imagine yourself homesteading is correct for you.
While you are imagining yourself homesteading, re-read the Attractions to Homesteading that you wrote down in the previous section and then hold them in your heart as you listen to your feelings.
Now while you are tuned in to what attracts you to homesteading, I invite you to ask yourself:
What are the feelings that I envision myself experiencing in the homesteading life that I am attracted to leading?
Feelings around homesteading may be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or all of the above. They may include memories, locations and spaces, people, smells, tastes, sounds. They may be very specific, or they may be abstract and undefinable. (If they are undefinable I will still ask you to try to describe them in some way that you can relate back to later!)
There is no wrong way to answer this question. It can be a list of feelings, a description, a story, a poem or any expression that is meaningful and resonates with you. Allow your heart and your imagination to lead you through those feelings.
Take as much time as needed to answer this question. You can also sleep on it, meditate, daydream, perhaps literally dream about it, and then come back to this question later.
Make sure to write your answers down as soon as they come up, or record your voice if that’s easier, so that you can refer back to it.
If you want to, you can answer it more than once, at different times on different days and you might get a variation on your answers. That’s great!
When you are satisfied that you’re holding the feelings you want to embody as a homesteader, then you are ready to set intentions.
Exercise #3: Crafting Your Homestead Intentions
We are getting more and more personal. Homesteading is close to home, close to heart. We homestead in and around the home.
Even if we aren’t acting on homesteading tasks every day (many of us homestead part time) its going to be on our mind while we are at home, because we are steeping in it!
This is where defining our lives and defining our homestead can start to have a lot of overlap. I personally choose to embrace that overlap to the point that I am actually maximizing it. I want my life and homesteading to become more and more synonymous. Others choose to keep their homesteading life very separate from other aspects of their life, which I also respect and admire.
My point is that homesteading can become a huge part of our lives and the impact it can have on us can be great, for better or worse. I prefer that I actively define how I homestead, rather than allowing homesteading define me passively. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially for those of us passionate homesteaders that like to get involved in many projects and activities. (Guilty!)
For me, intention setting is one of the most useful tools in my homesteading toolbox because it helps me have a clear conversation with myself about what I am doing, where I am going, how I am living and the choices that I am making.
My intentions allow me to be honest with myself. My intentions help me design my life and homestead with greater meaning. My intentions help me manifest my dreams.
I am thinking about general intentions that will serve me over a long time frame, years from now. I want to choose intentions that are broad enough that they can help guide me through small tasks as well as the large projects or commitments.
I want to craft intentions that will set me up for success, as far as being able to experience the Feelings Around Homesteading that I wrote down in the previous section. I want my intentions to walk hand in hand with those feelings.
When I think about these intentions, they should bring about those feelings inside me, because they will remind me of how I want to feel while I am homesteading.
As you prepare to craft your homesteading intentions choose a time and place where you are inspired, relaxed and not distracted from life. Honor your future self (who you want to become) by giving yourself your full attention now.
Spend some time to revisit your Attractions to Homesteading and let them permeate into your consciousness.
Re-read the Feelings Around Homesteading that you want to embody several times slowly. Try to feel each of those feelings in this moment, or imagine the feelings, one at a time. Hold those feelings in your heart.
If it feels right to you, begin by asking yourself:
What kind of changes do I have to make in my life to embody these feelings regularly? Would they be physical, intellectual, emotional, financial, social and/or spiritual changes? Or perhaps some other kind of change altogether?
Imagine the future version of yourself who is firmly living the homesteading lifestyle that you want to live. Imagine this future self experiencing these feelings you want to feel.
What would your future self say to you now if you asked for guidance? What might he/she/they say about the homesteading path that you are about to embark upon, or are already on? What support can he/she/they offer you to help you become that future version of yourself?
With help from your future self, try out the following questions:
What intentions can guide me toward becoming a homesteader who embodies the life that I want? What intentions can help me feel how I want to feel as I homestead?
I recommend taking time with this question to discover the heartfelt answer from within (rather than a well reasoned, intellectual answer). Slower is better more often than not. But sometimes the answers come immediately too!
I like to revisit the question several times over several days or weeks and see how I feel when I re-read my intentions. I like to see if I want to make any changes, or important additions.
While this exercise is on the front of my mind, I’ll have this question in the background, as I go about my day, and I might have some flash of inspiration or insight about my intentions. I like to note those down immediately so that they aren’t forgotten. (The most meaningful intentions will actually never be forgotten because they always live in my heart, but I might forget how to put them into words.)
I personally like to keep my list of intentions fairly short (1-3 is ideal, 5 at most). This is not a hard and fast rule, but it helps me to stay focused and it helps me to get clear on my deepest, most intimate intentions.
Initially I will write down everything that comes to me if it feels important enough. If I make a list of say 10 or 20 intentions, they may all be amazing, but many of them may be saying the same thing at a deeper level.
If my list is getting long, I will see which intentions are similar and see if they can be combined or reworded. And I will see if some intentions are not as deeply important to me as others.
Do your intentions sound like goals that can eventually be accomplished or do they sound like directions that can point you on your path? Both are helpful but I personally prefer the latter.
When you are happy with your intentions, thank your future self for their guidance and help in this process.
Thank yourself for your trust in this process and your willingness to believe in yourself and your dreams!
Revisit your intentions the next day or on another day soon and see how they feel when you read them. Do they still feel right? Do they remind you of the feelings that you want to feel from the last step?
If not, you may want to spend some time to adjust or re-craft your intentions. And that’s OK. This process is a process and you are worth the time it takes.
Intentions are not meant to be cut and dried or live in a box. Intentions are malleable, shifting, breathing and pulsing, a part of your own aliveness.
I am excited for you as you craft and embody your personal homestead intentions!
Exercise #4: Use Intentions as Guideposts
When you reach a crossroads in your homesteading path, your intentions can be guideposts. You may feel stuck or uncertain about which direction to take. Rereading and re-aligning with your intentions may help you find clarity in your approach.
Whether you are already homesteading or not, you can ask yourself:
What about my lifestyle, environment or state of mind is not conducive for living in alignment with my homestead intentions?
Your answer can help offer clarity about opportunities for change toward better alignment with your homestead intentions. Try taking some actions to make this change. Start with the low hanging fruit first!
If I feel off track at any given time, I can check in with my plans for the day, week or season and see if they align with my intentions. I like to check in with myself and see if I am making progress toward feeling the way I want to feel as I am homesteading.
If either answer is no, I look for ways to realign with my intentions through my thoughts and actions.
Exercise #5: Craft Affirmations from Intentions
Something that is helping me become the person and homesteader that I want to become is the practice of repeating affirmations or mantras. Sometimes I borrow affirmations that I’ve heard, but I usually like to craft my own personal affirmations because they are more personal, more useful and they always feel right to me.
Some of my personal affirmations are derived directly from my intentions.
If you’d like to craft your own personal affirmation(s) from your homesteading intentions try asking yourself:
What do I need to hear to help me become someone fully aligned with my homestead intentions?
I can ask my future self for help with this one. I can ask my inner genius or muse to guide me towards a helpful affirmation or mantra.
For example, one of my favorites: “I am worthy of homesteading.” Sometimes I shorten it to “I am worthy.”
I developed this affirmation when I discovered that I had limiting beliefs around being able to accomplish big things that I didn’t have experience with around homesteading.
I try to repeat my affirmations & mantras to myself often. If I can be present enough, I try to feel and embody them.
Try on your affirmation by repeating it to yourself at least a few times throughout the day when you can remember.
It might feel weird at first, but the more you believe your affirmations, the closer you will get to manifesting your intentions.
Exercise #6: Who Can Help You?
Having friends and mentors that are further along in the homesteading path has made a huge difference in being able to more effectively live in alignment with my intentions.
My sweetheart and I have consciously designed our homesteading lifestyle to be surrounded by homesteaders, farmers, community builders and healers.
Through my path into homesteading, I realized that most of these people are living with their hearts more open than I was used to. They don’t care as much about superficiality, and they are more grounded. That has been attractive to me.
That conscious decision, which was also very natural at the time, has really been a blessing in my life. My friends and mentors have influenced and guided me, often through osmosis. But I’ve also leaned on them from time to time with questions and for specific guidance.
Who in your life can help you live in alignment with your homesteading intentions? Who can support, encourage, offer advice, or provide practical feedback? Who can influence you in the direction you want to go through osmosis?
If you could not name anyone above, or if you are looking to widen your support network, where can you look for new friends or mentors in or around the homesteading space? Will you look in or around your local community? Will you look online?
Exercise #7: Take One Small Action Now
Take one small action now toward living in alignment with your new homesteading intentions.
Choose something very easy that you can do immediately and don’t wait too long! Don’t even write it down, just do it! By taking the first action toward living in alignment with your homesteading intentions, you will begin committing yourself to the path.
Set yourself on the path that you want to walk, by taking one small step, which will lead to another.
I personally am getting more excited about small steps and subtle shifts.
Looking Ahead: Staying Aligned
Personal vs Shared Intentions
You may want to invite your homestead family members, collaborators or land mates to follow this process and craft their own personal homesteading intentions individually. Then get together and share your intentions with each other.
Where do you see overlap in everyone’s intentions? Similar intentions can be woven into the group or homestead’s shared intentions. This can serve the homestead as a whole when making shared decisions or when designing together.
Design with Intention
Intentions can be used for designing your life and your homestead. They are a map to check in with when making goals, choosing projects to take on, even working on every day tasks.
When I am designing with intentions, the designs always point back to my inner well being (zone zero in permaculture). When I design with intentions I am designing with my feelings in mind. I am designing myself closer to what I am attracted to (ideally in a very healthy way since this is conscious work).
Revisit Intentions Regularly
I like to check in with my intentions anytime I am making a major homestead decision to make sure it is in alignment with my intentions. Checking in with my intentions also helps me choose between projects or tasks if I am undecided.
It can also help to check in on a regular basis, whether that is yearly, seasonally, monthly or even daily. The more I practice checking in with my intentions, the more second nature it becomes.
Re-Craft Intentions As Necessary
I am constantly changing. I am getting older and gaining experience. My interests evolve and change. My body changes. Everything about me is changing. On a subtle level, I am changing with each breath that I take.
Likewise, my personal definition of homesteading is ever changing. I am regularly re-defining what homesteading means to me, through learning, my actions, my thoughts and my ethics.
So I also expect that I may want to update my intentions from time to time to stay in alignment with my whole self. I will revisit the process of crafting my intentions whenever I feel that they may no longer be serving me as well.
I wish you blessings on your journey!