Self care is the beginning of a lifelong adventure. We have only just begun!
You awaken to the majesty of life and your unique part in it. You stop treating yourself as an afterthought and begin to cherish yourself on a regular basis. You become as precious as those people and things you value most.
You start introducing small changes to better care for yourself…
You start your day with reflection, perhaps meditation or journaling.
You begin to move your body again, walking or doing yoga.
You add healthier foods to every meal.
You relish and make time for your self care rituals.
It feels good, it feels right. It's as if you've tapped into a vein of truth that has always been with you. And you have.
But it's not all sunshine and roses. Inevitably, when you embark on the self care adventure things fall apart.
It might be a small rift in your world, like an unwelcome insight that was already lurking in the recesses of your mind but you weren't ready to admit it to yourself because that would mean you'd have to change something you'd rather not do right now.
Or, it might be something bigger, like the loss of a relationship. You might spiral into forgetfulness and suffer. You might wonder why on earth did you ever go down this path. After all, self care was supposed to make your world better!
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”
~ Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
It isn't always easy to navigate the seas of change but it is always, always worthwhile. Here are three things to buoy you during times of turbulence:
1. Connect to your inner wisdom. Still the tsunami of emotions with your breath. Breathe deeply, fully. Take it all in and welcome it. Let it move you and shape you into a new being. Feel yourself embraced, in the arms of a loving universe. You are SO loved and so essential to the fabric of Life.
2. Share with a power pal. Sometimes all you need is a loving witness to line things up. A power pal is one who sees you truly. No victims or, “Poor baby!” here. My community is full of these awesome folks. Join the conversation and start connecting one on one with high frequency beings. You will find plenty of power pals here, guaranteed.
3. Act as if. Imagine that you are already the person you are longing to be. You are self expressed, emotionally resilient, infinitely creative. Pick your characteristics. Whatever it is that you are seeking to embody, invite it in right now. Call the full force of that energy into being and allow it to guide you in your thinking, feeling and actions. Be that being now.
Listen up, darlings! Self care is a deep journey. It is an awakening. It is good news that things are falling apart. Use your power of meaning maker and story shaper. Shift the framework of what you are experiencing and see the possibility.
(This is a practice that gets easier. Always choose to see the possibility, not the problem!)
We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
~ Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times
Great things are at hand when your world falls apart. It is a clean canvas upon which to create the new.
Self care is the foundation for an extraordinary life. You were designed for greatness. Unleash the genius that lives within and bring that being to Life!
Rambling rivers and towering trees, colorful canyons and babbling brooks, stirring up those images alone feels wonderful. Remember the last time you were in a natural environment – whether you were visiting a national forest, a beach or lake, or your own local park – didn't the rapture of it leave you speechless? Nature calms the chaos, stirs your heart and soothes your spirit. Your body and being recognize kinship.
What is it that sets natural environments apart from others? Why shouldn't a quiet streetscape have the same effect as a quiet natural landscape? While it was difficult to prove the benefits of nature 100 years ago, today this perennial wisdom is supported by compelling evidence.A steadily growing stack of scientific evidence suggests that nature improves your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Natural environments have a unique set of features that set them apart from man made locations. William James, the father of modern psychology, explained that human attention comes in two different forms. The first is directed attention, which enables us to focus on demanding tasks like driving or writing. Directed attention can only be sustained for specific periods before you tire. Reading a book requires directed attention, and you'll notice that you start to zone out when you're tired. The second form is involuntary attention, which comes easily and doesn't require any mental effort at all. Nature falls into this category, it attracts your attention involuntarily.
The earth has music for those who listen.
~ George Santayana
Humankind has spent 99.99 percent of its history living in natural environments. It's no wonder that healers and physicians have prescribed it for their ailing patients.
Natural environments promote calmness and well-being in part because they expose people to low levels of stress. These stressful experiences are tame in comparison with the tension of our everyday world – workplace drama, traffic jams, and commuter crush. Humans thrive with some stimulation, but we're incapable of coping with extreme stressors, which push us from the comfortable realm of eustress (good stress) to the danger zone of distress (bad stress).
In Japan their natural therapy is shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, which requires that patients walk for extended periods through forested areas. Researchers have found that compared with people who walked through urban areas, shinrin-yoku patients had lower blood pressure, lower pulse rates, and lower cortisol levels, a marker of reduced stress.
Here's more evidence that being out in nature does your body, mind and soul some good. According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you're likely to be. The study found that people who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space.
Live in a city with no green space nearby? No worries! Other studies by researchers in England and Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting with trees, foliage and landscape views, feel more restored, and less anxious, angry and depressed than those runners who burn the same amount of calories in gyms or other urban settings. So even if you have to drive a few miles to find a little green, it's worth it!
Nature doesn't just have an effect on the mind. Roger S. Ulrich, PhD, director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, has found that nature can help the body heal, too. Ulrich investigated the effect that views from windows had on patients recovering from abdominal surgery. He discovered that patients whose hospital rooms overlooked trees had an easier time recovering than those whose rooms overlooked brick walls. Patients able to see nature got out of the hospital faster, had fewer complications and required less pain medication than those forced to stare at a wall.
There are an abundance of scientific studies detailing the restorative nature of being outdoors. The American Society of Landscape Architects has a wonderful resource page on the health benefits of nature if you'd like to dive more deeply into it.
Here are 5 tried and true reasons why nature is good for you:
1. You experience the beauty of nature. How is such majesty possible? The strength of that mountain, standing there for all those years! The miracle of this single flower, infused with sunlight. The revelation of a tree, rooted deep in the earth, stretching to the sky, and bearing silent witness to the world around it! You feel awe and joy and are whole again.
2. You align with your natural rhythm. Nature models a healthier pace of life. Clocks teach you to abandon the natural rhythms of your body and the Earth and conform to a schedule rooted in an economic system. That creates a lot of stress. Trees and plants grow slowly. Deer graze calmly. Everything moves according to their natural rhythm, and you begin to do the same.
3. You make peace with the cycle of life. Our culture teaches that age and death are to be avoided as long as possible. In nature, you encounter dead trees all the time. And they nurse young plants to life. You walk through a burn area and see a profusion of wildflowers thriving in the newly enriched soil. When you come face to face with death, you value the present moment and experience surges of joy to be alive. Nature eases us into this reality.
4. You remember who you truly are.You feel comfortable in your own skin, you experience your own quiet peace and strength, you sense the inner you that is the true you. The mask you present to the outer world is irrelevant for a time and put in its proper place.
5. You experience the Divine. Whether you call it God, Earth Mother, the Great Mystery or by another name, nature helps you to connect with this powerful, loving presence. You feel your connection to all living things. You receive guidance and wisdom. Nature brings you closer to your own essence and to the source of all Life.
Nature restores mental functioning in the same way that food and water restore bodies. The business of everyday life – dodging traffic, making decisions, interacting with strangers – is depleting. What man-made environments take away from us, nature gives back.
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
~ Albert Einstein
Nature re-calibrates your being and brings you back into natural alignment. It mirrors the wonder that lives within and brings tremendous peace and pleasure. Nature has its own power, one that's easy to honor once you're in its presence. It calls forth your own.
PS Ready to upgrade your self care? Join us …