Yesterday I finally made it back to yoga. Actually, I put my toe in the water on Saturday by dragging my whole family to a family yoga class in the midst of a downpour. We were the only people there and it was a lovely bonding experience. Claire, my 10 year old, and I tackled handstands together, my husband worked out the kinks from his 15 mile run the day before, and Kate, my 4 year old, mastered lion’s breath and spent half of the class joyfully building Rapunzel towers out of yoga blocks. It was a blast.
Yesterday, however, was just for me.
You see, growing this business is often very busy. With passionate creation and thrilling opportunity, with the gift of having the ability to help women in far flung corners of the globe to heal comes a lot of plain, old fashioned, hard work.
I was slipping into old habits, and neglecting my own self care. I was spending way, way too many hours sitting and working, working, working. My butt was actually starting to hurt from all of this sitting and writing. And, then I remembered something. You see there are currently 7.2 BILLION people on this planet. Half of them are women, and lots and lots of those women need help, education, and support to heal. That’s the work that I do. And, this work will likely be a part of the rest of my life. It will never be done. So, I have to pace myself. I need to take care, to quiet, to restore. It is my work to be the inspiration, and that starts with me. It starts with my practices of quieting my mind and caring for my body. It is my work to inspire my clients, my husband, my children, my parents, and my friends.
That’s your work too. You see that physical and emotional pain that you’re in… That pain that is robbing you of your sex life, or an easy trip to the store without fear of where the bathrooms are. That pain is part of your work. Somehow your journey through that pain will teach someone else something, it will help you to connect with another person, or it may show your child that a giving a kind smile to someone in pain can actually help their pain.
The strange thing is that struggling to do our work and walk through our pain alone is less inspiring to others than showing them how we practice receiving care.
Thus, to shine my light on the value of receiving and the practices of daily self-care, I have 5 suggestions for you…
- When you are in pain, find the calm in the storm by having calming touchstones in places where you spend your time. These small items… a candle in your bathroom, a bracelet (mine is made of pink stones, thank you Silvana), the scent of essential oil in your car, will remind you to stop, breathe and drink in the calm that exists in the depths of your soul anytime you should need it.
- Physical connection with nature. As the leaves turn brown and we’re all wrapped up in our boots and coats, spending much less time barefoot in the grass, it’s as important as ever to actually touch nature. If you’re wearing cotton gloves, you can touch a nearby tree and use it’s roots to ground you. When it’s not too cold put on some sturdy jeans, kneel in the garden and weed. Touching the Earth literally grounds your electric charge and lowers stress hormone levels. Even when the days turn cold, get outside and play, or just surrender, lay down and allow Mother Earth to hold you.
- Make movement non-negotiable. How can you shift your perspective on exercise from a slog of a workout to a mindfulness practice? Exercise is calming, nourishing, and is so effective at reducing disease risk that some researchers recommend considering it as a drug. I prefer to think of it as dessert. Placing yourself on your yoga mat (even if you end up spending the whole class in child’s pose), dancing to your favorite song, walking in nature, racing your kids around the park, every time you move your body for pure pleasure, you are practicing receiving health care from the world around you. Movement is a gift, receive it each day with pleasure.
- Speaking of receiving gifts, how many people tried to give you gifts today that you, quite frankly, threw right back in their faces? I know that sounds harsh, but consider this… did someone compliment you today? Did you take it in with love from the giver, or did you say, “Oh, this old thing?” Did someone offer to help you pick up your kids, do something at work to lighten your load, return the library books, give you their son’s old soccer shin guards? Practice accepting their gift. You may not even need it, but if you’re like most of my clients, you need to build that receiving muscle. Say thank you. Let them help. And, don’t even think about reciprocating. Take in that caring energy and use it to full your depleted tank. It takes practice.
- Notice your thoughts. What do you say to yourself all day long? Would you talk to your best friend that way? If not, it’s time for a shift. Notice when you’re speaking badly about yourself to yourself and consciously stop, and say it again (out loud if possible) as if you were speaking to your best friend. Begin to see yourself with eyes of adoration instead of criticism. It’s much kinder to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Darling, you look tired, how can I take better care of you today?” instead of, “You look tired and old you slacker, get with the program.” Shifting how you speak to yourself will change how you take care of yourself. Eventually, self-kindness will become a habit.
What is your favorite way to find calm and self-care in a busy, hectic life? Share your practices with us in the comments below. I can’t wait to read them.
[About Jessica] [Foundations]