What’s one act of loving care that you do for yourself each day,
and how does it fill you up with peace, gratitude, and beauty?
The one thing I have made a permanent practice of in my life is meditation. I’ve been meditating for over 25 years and was at one time an instructor. I relish this time when I remove myself from the daily stresses of life.
Meditation keeps me calm, focused and centered. When I’m not centered I can go to extremes emotionally which pushes me into emotional eating to “numb” myself from my feelings. I have found that when I skip meditating I am more easily engulfed by my emotions.
While in meditation I focus upon listening to my thoughts but not engaging with them. I find that being “quiet” is the most productive time out of my day. During these moments solutions to problems arise along with inspiring ideas about new projects and collaborations. I feel very serene and peaceful during meditation and this feeling stays with me for a long time afterward. I’m grateful for this practice because I feel that over the years it has helped me to accept and love myself just as I am.
Angela Artemis is a businesswoman, intuition teacher and founder of Powered By Intuition. She is on a mission to teach readers around the world to “speak intuition” so that they avoid making mistakes, and choose wisely to fulfill all their brilliant potential. Her website, PoweredByIntuition.com, is a rich source of information for readers wishing to learn how to use their intuition to create fulfilling and successful lives. Visit PoweredByIntuition.com to receive valuable free bonus materials.
Michele Lisenbury Christensen
My self-care includes many large and small things, like my tea ritual, walking in our beautiful tree-fillled neighborhood, sitting in meditation, journaling, sneaking cat-naps when the baby has had me up too many times, and making sure I laugh till my sides ache at least a few times a week. But the thing I do that not many people do – although I’m working to change that – is in cahoots with my husband. We call it “our practice” and it’s a sweet sensual stroking ritual that cleans off the dross of the day and fills us both with sensation. As soon as the kids are asleep, we shower together in our two-headed shower and then pile up the pillows and do our practice… just for 15 minutes or so. Afterward we feel closer to each other and to the divine. Sometimes it leads to sex and sometimes it doesn’t, but it fills my tank like nothing else.
I’ve come to see that whatever else I do for my self-care, it’s not enough if I’m not getting enough sensual pleasure. I didn’t experience that need and desire being widely endorsed (especially for monogamous mamas like me) so it was a tough road for me to take a stand for it myself. Now, I love opportunities like this (Thank you Lisa! Mwah!) to share that it’s okay to get your strokes from your partner and intimacy is a form of self-care. Pleasure is the foundation of my life, my work, and my motherhood, not to mention the sweet-hot core of my marriage.
Michele Lisenbury Christensen instigates everyday sensuality using yoga, brain science, and candid tales of personal trials and triumphs. In the past 15 years, she’s co-crafted a playful smokin’ 12+ year marriage, had two happy kids, and been a trusted advisor to more than 2000 couples, business owners, and high-level corporate leaders around the world. Toe-curling pleasure on a daily basis gives Michele the rocket-fuel to serve and scintillate her clients and her readers at HotLoveRevolution.com.
My go-to fuel up is a walk outside with my camera. I let my guard down, leave my thinking-brain in the kitchen and give myself over to Wonder and Beauty. Even a quick walkabout in my own backyard is enough to fill up my soul with expansive gratitude, easing back into the gorgeous flow of the Divine.
The process is so restorative, so healing, that all of my words and worries and stories just fall away as I follow Beauty wherever she leads me. This is the process that led me to create the Gratitude Tarot, one of my spiritual tools..
I have to admit, though, that my body and mind love sunshine and bright colours above all else. The idea of getting fuelled up by Wonder and Beauty when the weather is grey is rarely enough for me to step outside. I’m sure with enough focus, I could do it, but that’s more of a self-inflicted should-fest than loving self-care, right? So how do I get the same fuel when the weather isn’t right or when I’m too busy?
My bright fuel for the soul – my spiritual practice – is anchored in energetic butterflies. At its simplest, this is a practice of visualizing butterflies – in all their Wonder and Beauty – to calm, restore, relax, protect, comfort or heal myself (and others!). The more I explore this Butterfly Way, the more I realize how deep and powerful this practice is.
If you’d like more ways to fuel up with Wonder and Beauty, how about having it delivered directly to your email? My 23 Whispers is a beauty-filled series of 23 emails that combines the gorgeous cards of the Gratitude Tarot’s major arcana with Butterfly visits that you can read and listen to. 23 morning emails to start your day with Butterflies and Gratitude. 23 days opened with Wonder and Beauty.
I’m Teresa Deak, Butterfly Shaman and See-er of Beauty in (sm)all things. I can help you get to the beautiful center of your soul through the smallest, most intricate details. You can tap in, to release, reveal and recharge your essence in my Butterfly PowerHouse. I can’t wait to see you!
I so wish that I could naturally, easily, and obviously say that I offer myself loving care each day; that I could say “exercise” or “yoga” or “meditation.” But I cannot. In truth, consistent self-care is hit-and-miss – particularly as it’s related to my body. I ponder this often and feel an edge within me; a growing hunger for such things. Still, I do have ritual; patterns in my everyday life that are like sacred altars in my world. The first cup of coffee brewed. The 30 minutes of quiet each morning before my daughters get up, before all three of us are rushing headlong into our day. The glass of wine I pour most evenings while I catch up on emails and more. Most of all, the learned practice of listening to my soul…and trusting that it knows of what it speaks.
Throughout the rhythm of my day – no matter its pace – I have learned to listen to my soul, to my heart, to that know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within. And more times than not, I gift myself – with a few moments and sometimes the luxury of hours – to write. I don’t edit. I don’t censor. I don’t hold back. It’s free, expansive, and achingly honest. I let myself speak. I let myself rage. I let myself weep. I let myself dream. I let myself imagine. I let myself desire. I let myself hope. It is where I am fully me, fully expressed, fully heard. And it is sacred. For in these words and sentences and paragraphs I catch the slightest glimpse and glimmer of the profound love that God has had for me all along. To see and experience even the smallest taste of this provides a peace that sustains, a gratitude that enlivens, and a beauty that lures me back for more.
Ronna Detrick, M.Div., is a writer, speaker, and provocateur of passionate conversation about women and faith. Informed and fueled by theological study, a diverse professional background within (and without) the church, and her own life experiences, she re-imagines the ancient narratives of women in Scripture to redeem the individual and corporate narratives of women today. She believes that how we tell stories – past and present – has the power to change everything at personal, relational, and systemic levels. Not for the faint of heart, Ronna steps into oft’ taboo topics with courage, grace, and unlimited hope – inviting the same in others. Go here to get her musings, her writing, her heart in your inbox.
Nearly every day (probably close to 363 of them each year), I walk through the doors of the coffee shop and order an iced latte with soy milk. This is MY drink. It’s what makes every morning… or afternoon… or evening… spring to life. It’s not the caffeine but the ritual, the sheer enjoyment, the sense of peace.
That said, my days are full of self-care both small, like my iced lattes, and big, like taking most Fridays off. When was it written that a life-well-lived is hard or devoid of personal care? I firmly believe that we’ve done ourselves a disservice by not making the foundation of every day self-care. We can’t take care of others if we don’t care of ourselves first.
Bad things happen, shit hits the fan, life is unfair: these are all reasons to make loving self-care not the purview of a small ritual but the guiding principle of our lives. It’s easier to weather life’s storms when you first make sure the door is shut and the weather stripping is fresh. It’s easier to roll with the punches–whether from your boss, your toddler, or your mother-in-law–when you’ve been practicing your blocks.
Well, enough with the metaphors. Taking care of myself, as the foundation for every decision, is what allows me to take care of others. It’s my duty and I do it well, iced latte in hand.
Tara Gentile is a business strategist and recovering religious studies major. She works with businesses to create a bigger impact with less effort through her signature program, The Customer Perspective Process. Discover life in the You Economy at her blog.
My 9-to-5 is in the publishing industry, I do a lot of writing and editing — and I love it, it’s so much fun. It’s also really busy and in (what can become) a noisy office. We’re on constant deadline and I’ve just taken on a big project, so while the overall vibe of my office is relaxed and mellow, it’s still high pressure. My weekends are filled with family hijinks, running errands, working on Roots of She and catching up with friends.
When I’m home, I crave downtime more than anything else. The most loving gesture I extend to myself is to really allow myself to relax, in whatever way feels best.
Sometimes it means sitting in silence, to let all the chatter, noise and chaos from the day fall away. It could be playing around barefoot outside and taking gratitude photographs. Maybe it’s drinking a glass of red, watching the light change while my kitten eats small snacks. It might mean that I’ll move slowly because it feels so nice not to rush around or try to stay three steps ahead of where you think you need to be. Once in a while it means I say no to people, more often than not it means I stay offline.
All of these things help me to refill my cup, to recharge my batteries, to renew my Self, body and soul. They allow me to show up with people, fully and joyfully and with presence.
Jenn Gibson is a writer, life coach & the creator of Roots of She — a collection of true stories & tender wisdom for women, by women. As a coach, she focuses on foundational self-care, helping overwhelmed women learn to live simply, and simply live. She loves yoga, Mexican food and the beach, and is not above stealing snuggles from Bean the Boy Kitten. Jenn can be found at www.rootsofshe.com.
For years I walked loops up and down our driveway with my lab, Libby leading the way. Then it was loops pushing a double stroller with the babies in it, Libby still in the lead. Three laps up and down and the girls would be asleep, their heads tilted over in that uncomfortable way only babies can manage. Then I could sit in the shade and read a book until they woke up again.My walks help me measure the seasons and the passing of time. In spring I walk in my rain boots splashing through puddles and I looking for the first signs of color from the forsythia bushes and any sign of morels. In summer, I notice the crunchiness of the grass, curled from the heat of Missouri, and pick ticks off my socks. In fall, I look for the red sumac leaves and dew on garden spider webs. In winter, I watch for tracks in the snow that indicate rabbits, turkey, and deer have been using my yard as a wildlife highway.Eventually the stroller gave way to walks with my husband in early mornings while the girls still snoozed. Then walks back and forth to the bus stop to pick up my kindergarteners. Libby right there walking with me.Last fall our walks got really quiet. After 14 years of leading me up and down the driveway Libby went her own way. For a while I stopped walking.
Then we got a new pup, Kelda, and I began to walk again. Moonlit walks for middle of the night puppy potty training, and now this spring, walks through the woods where every step reveals to Kelda, and me, a new reason to continue to explore.
Christie Halmick of Jewels Branch helps entrepreneurs learn graphic design skills so they are in the driver’s seat of their business branding. Her step-by-step courses and personalized feedback allow entrepreneurs to relax and play, and that’s where the real branding process begins.
I am in the beginning of the first part of after. The after that has come from leaving my mostly lovely job because it no longer lit me up. Because I reached the point that pursuit of whatever it was that was going to light me up was worth more than where I was spending the majority of my time. Because when my boss asked each of us to choose a word to guide us in the New Year, the word that popped into my head was freedom.
And while the act of leaving one’s job in pursuit of “more” has lost a bit of it’s jaw-drop response as more entrepreneurs, particularly women, use the tools now at our digital disposal to design businesses that engage and activate our communities. Each time we heed our inner itch, we make a profound choice that is ultimately a choice of self. For me it was an idea that had been rattling around in my head for years, an eventual promise that said, “ Life will not just happen to us. It’s time to move.” All my daily rituals these days are born out that choice.
I am three months in. And yes, I have my own business, I have bills to pay and I have things I am working to create and uncover, I am alternately swimming through and floating along freedom’s current. The reality is that most days I work. Most days I forget to pursue what comes after the walls because I am so very good at creating my own. And yet, in small ways I am in greater relationship with myself because throughout the day I allow myself to be guided by the response I get from asking myself one deceptively simple question, “What would feel good?”
I ask this question because I have a great mind, but she can really cut a girl off at the neck. “What would feel good to you, darling, sweet pea, kitten, mi amor?” What a question of supreme honor and deference to the worthiness of my being. It puts me squarely in my feminine, right in my belly, right in the heart. Other questions, “What should I do,” “What do I think would be best,” do the opposite.I think this question is crucial for those us with a hard time stopping the doing. It is simply too easy to be led through life over-thinking and over-doing (a great way, as it happens, to experience illusory productivity and purpose while actually just hiding from deeper truths).
I ask this question instead, throwing possible answers into the spotlight and feeling my way through. Should I tackle my inbox for 30 minutes, make a cup of tea and read a few favorite blogs, go to the gym, go back to bed? Does the idea of putting my laundry away, reaching out to a friend, looking through apartments in Buenos Aires and figuring out a budget for Tango classes feel expansive or constricting? I feel for the thing that feels best. And then, just as importantly, I do it.
Crosby Noricks is a creative marketing strategist who cares about helping companies connect to their audiences in meaningful ways. Founder of PR Couture, an award-winning fashion industry resource, she is also author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. She is currently obsessed with The West Wing, finding the perfect pair of denim cut-offs, talking to her biceps, and making the gray cat in her apartment complex let her pet its head. Connect with her on Twitter@prcouture.
When I began my business 5 years ago, it grew so rapidly that I found myself working 24/7 just to keep my head above water. While that period in my life was thrilling and rewarding, it was a pace I could not keep indefinitely. My body was getting run-down and I was feeling a bit emotionally depleted. Out of necessity, I began to seriously listen to my body and pay attention to the physical signals it was communicating to me. This meant setting up strict boundaries and rituals for my daytime hours.
I wake up without an alarm and have my Tulsi tea (look it up, it’s a great anti-inflammatory), after which I read my Bible along with several books I am currently rotating. I also pray and meditate. I carefully time-block, so that I take no calls until after lunch, leaving morning hours to check my calendar, schedule training calls, answer emails, strategize, etc. I try to schedule “play” time every week with family and friends to replenish my emotional tank. I make an effort not to schedule any big meetings or events soon after travel to allow my body to rest and recover. While at home, I eat only organic, though I am not religious about my diet while traveling or at restaurants since it is too difficult to find restaurants with organic options. Everything in moderation seems to be the most realistic way. I believe strongly in alternative medicine. In addition to visiting my doctor regularly, I have bi-weekly chiropractic appointments, monthly massages and occasional acupuncture sessions, as well as appointments with an alternative medicine doctor. With age comes wisdom (if you are learning your lessons!) and I wish I would have realized all this in my 30’s when I was pushing myself to the max every day, not realizing the damage I was doing to myself. Self care is not optional!
After a long career in the financial services industry, Stella & Dot Founding Star Director Tracey Schwartz wanted a second act that allowed her to maintain her lifestyle and be her own boss. Nearly three years ago, when she was thinking about what to do with the next phase of her life, Tracey was a guest at a Trunk Show and fell in love with Stella & Dot’s social selling business model and philosophy. Initially, Tracey’s goal was to be a part-time Stylist and earn about $1,000 a month. It didn’t take long for her to far exceed those goals. Tracey now earns five figures a month and has made Stella & Dot her full-time career. She encourages her team of stylists to focus their sight not only on monetary success but also on a high quality of life. “A happy life is a balanced one,” Tracey explains. Tracey’s team, the Gem Fatales, has grown to over 1,000 stylists nationwide with over $14.5 million in sales annually and has a downline numbering over 7,000 stylists!
I have a simple formula that I use whenever I feel that I have not been listening to “me”. It is a series of questions, really, and the ritual goes something like this:
Me: Am I happy?
Me: Good!!! We are soooOoooo awesome!!!
Now, let’s see what this same questions looks like with a difference response from my Heart:
Me: Am I happy?
Heart: Fuck no.
Me: Damn. Let’s change something.
Heart: Brilliant! Let’s get to it then.
At which point I sit quietly, breath deeply and REALLY REALLY pay attention to what “happy” would look and feel like:
You get the general idea of where I am going with this. THEN, I ask the question again:
Me: Am I happy?
Me: Good!!! We are soooOoooo awesome!!!
Or… If the answer is “Fuck NO” I dig deeper with the process. I Repeat this until I get to the “Good” part.
Because I would make a lousy Brussels Sprout farmer I went the creative route instead. After 14 years of working with the New York Times Regional Newspapers, as a newsroom graphic designer, I decided to start my own business: Ipso Facto Creative Group. Holding the title of Main Brain, I have lead a team that includes a brilliant Web Brainiac, a Visual Janitor, and a Fez-sporting Code Monkey. I am a hybrid (or perfect storm) of equal parts business, design, and strategy.
My one act of loving care is kindness.
I try to approach every day from this place. To me kindness means many things: being flexible, forgiving, patient and understanding with myself; trusting my body and listening to my needs.
This is a very different attitude and approach than I had years ago. Throughout my teens and early 20s, I clung to a punitive, stringent point of view. I criticized myself for everything from my weight to what I ate to the smallest mistake.
My days were a constant tug-of-war. I’d start a new diet and swear off certain foods. But then I’d binge. And, inevitably, I’d feel a crushing sense of shame. Then I’d berate myself, the insults running on autopilot.
I’d exercise but only because I wanted to lose weight or punish myself for the extra calories I consumed. In fact, my entire relationship with myself was based on punishment and deprivation. I was starving in so many areas of my life. My self-care was overshadowed by self-loathing.
Today, instead of letting my inner critic roar and rant and dictate my actions, I choose kindness.
Today, I practice kindness when I eat. I focus on foods that nourish my body and my mind. I focus on satisfying my taste buds, and savoring each bite. I eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m full. This is where trusting and listening to my body comes in.
Some days I overeat or eat something that gives me a stomachache or makes me feel especially lethargic. And that’s OK. This is where being flexible comes in.
Today, I practice kindness when I move my body. I pick activities that are fun and make me feel alive. Some days I prefer a challenging workout. Other days I prefer a walk or bike ride or rest. I check in with my body to see what I need.
I also try to be kind in how I relate to myself. While “I’m such an idiot” or a similar phrase sometimes slips out, it doesn’t send me into a cycle of self-loathing. I try to move past mistakes. I try to appreciate my body and myself as a whole, unique being, instead of fixating on and condemning supposed flaws.
Today, I practice kindness when I consider my priorities for the day, when I decide to nap because I’m tired and when I say no to something that doesn’t feel right or nourishing.
Kindness is the maxim I choose to move about my days. It’s not always easy or accessible. But it’s one of the most meaningful gifts I can give myself (and others). So I keep turning to kindness, even on the days when that punitive, stringent point of view tries to sneak in.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at the mental health website PsychCentral.com. There, she writes about everything from ADHD to anxiety to couples and creativity. Margarita also writes Weightless, a blog that helps women accept, appreciate and love their bodies and themselves, at every shape, size and weight..
Check out past months
|November 2012Featuring Jennifer Boire, Jessica Covington, Jen Loudon, Tara Mohr, Bridget Pilloud, Rebecca Prien, Grace Quantock, Leah Shapiro, Ashley Solomon, Susan Thomas, Holli Thompson