Wow. That felt like an incredibly long winter. Although we aren’t out of the woods just yet, it is March and I can feel the sun’s warmth increasing. I’m eagerly anticipating the first deck coffee of the year! February was mentally tough. I struggled with feeling in limbo. It’s been a little over a year since I left a career in Corrections. I’m still getting a sense for what I want life to look like in this next chapter. It feels expansive and uncertain, exciting and anxious. The last 2 months have been spacious and ease-filled, and I think for many, myself included, that is a foreign feeling. I am used to being “busy”. Slowing down has been a practice for me. Creating and cultivating time to be in silence, to listen to intuition and inspiration is now the source of my schedule…What feels good? Who pops into mind? What needs to be shared?
I struggled with “not enough” this month. It is a familiar mantra to me. And one that is very hard to admit. “I’m not doing enough”. When time slows down and I have purposefully given myself space, these refrains pop back up. I am hard on myself for not getting up early enough, for not working out enough, for not eating healthy enough, for not doing enough. Even this morning, I chose to stay in bed instead of getting up before sunrise. I skipped my meditation and got right to writing, because there is a lot on my “to-do” list today. “I should…I should”.
I think that by nature I have always experienced this restlessness in Spring. Maybe because I am a spring baby, maybe because all of nature is starting to wake up from its winter slumber. The squirrels and birds are starting to chase each other…Nature’s creative energy is bubbling up to the surface. I have this big vision for what I want to create and how I want to give back to the world. I am full of creative energy too. I want to get things moving, NOW. Patience…My lesson now is to tune in and trust the rhythm of Nature; to stay connected to that Source. To trust the timing. So I get up from my chair and grab my emotions book; grab rose, roman chamomile, sandalwood and arborvitae oils: Divine Love, Purpose, Devotion & Grace. I slather a mix of these oil over my heart, wrists, chest and belly. I sit back in the sunlight and breathe…I plug in to that Connection.
And I realize that was the missing piece for so many years.
Connection. Self Care. Self-awareness. Paying attention.
Let me clarify that creating time and space for yourself doesn’t necessarily make life easier. Paying attention to your thoughts, to how you talk to yourself, to what beliefs you hold about your worthiness and belonging is not always a pleasant experience. Creating space to feel the pains of anger, resentment, sadness, regret and grief can be a rough and dark place to intentionally go.
But one thing is for sure, it was my link to Freedom.
So now I take the time. To sit and listen. To ask myself what I need today. To support my nervous system as it processes the imaginary threats I create in my own mind…the ‘what-ifs”, the fears, the judgement. Our bodies don’t know the difference between an impending accident and the imaginary one you play in your head ten times a day…the threat response is the same. Your nervous system goes into fight or flight and the adrenaline and cortisol starts pumping.
Self Care is a daily practice of coming back to center. Time to slow down and recharge your batteries so your nervous system can switch from sympathetic (fight, flight or freeze), to the parasympathetic, (rest, digest, heal & reproduce).
Self Care is my 3 M’s: Meditation, Movement & Meaning. It’s getting enough sleep, taking time to connect to silent stillness, to move my body in ways that it loves, getting out into Nature, staying organized, and being intentional about work and personal time. It’s using tools like meditation, essential oils and somatic yoga to bring awareness to and rewire limiting beliefs, thought and motor patterns. It’s been a journey of unlearning beliefs that happiness is something outside myself, something to “do” or to “conquer”.
What does it look like for you?
Where does stress creep in, (or burst in kicking)? What are your go to emotions? Anger? Fear? What is your favourite numbing behaviour when life gets hard? Do you give yourself space? Or are you last on the list after everyone else gets what they need? If you could have 3 non-negotiables that would help you recharge daily, what would they be?
Putting yourself last is not sustainable. If you have loved ones who are the reason you give yourself only left overs, realize that there won’t be anything for anyone when you burn out. Prioritizing yourself is not selfish. It is an act of recognizing and honoring your worth. Both for you, your passions, purpose and for the people you have chosen to share life with. We can only change ourselves. Be examples. Be Light for others. Is the example you are setting the one you want your loved ones, (especially your little ones), to follow?
Freedom. It is a choice. Your choice. Not passive, but one requiring action and intention.
Are you ready to make a shift?