Category Archives: Self Care

Loving Yourself – Can You? Do You?

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Loving-ourselves

 

A friend recently asked me why I had stopped writing in my blog.  I told her, because sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say, that’s all.   Sometimes I feel I have words that the world needs to hear. (And wow, doesn’t that sound boastful?)  But so does everyone and their brother nowadays! Other times I think, with all the people who are trying to get their words across on the internet these days, why on earth would anyone want to hear what I have to say?

Perhaps it’s just that I’ve been trying to learn something important.   You see, for as far back as I can remember, I’ve tried (and tried and tried and tried!) to be better in some way.  As if who I’ve been has never been enough.  I’ve read books (oh-so-many-books) on how to be this or that, or how do this or that even better.  I’ve read articles, I’ve watched videos, I’ve gone to support groups and women’s groups and prayer groups and church groups – because my belief has been that I must always strive to be better.  But I’m tired of striving!  I’m tired of reading, watching, and attending!  For the first time in my entire life I’ve been asking myself – what’s so wrong with me that I need to change everything all the time?

And the answer that I’ve come up with is…..nothing.  Nothing is wrong with me.  I AM good enough, just the way I am.  I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t need to constantly be berating myself because of some random thought that I had that I felt wasn’t appropriate. I don’t need to continually be chastising myself because I ate something (or did something or thought something) some vague person or article said wasn’t good for me.  Who gets to say what’s good for me – or not good for me?  Shouldn’t that be ME, after all?

More and more I’ve come to believe that I no longer need to search for answers outside myself.  I believe I’ve talked about this before somewhere here, but this is becoming clear to me in a brand new way. I believe, now, that the constance with which I berate myself for the way I feel I’m never doing it right (whatever IT is) – that this way of being is a complete disconnect to myself – body, mind and spirit.  I’m coming to believe that if I constantly hate on myself for what I’m not, then I’ll never, ever achieve a true sense of being ok with who I am, right now, warts and all.

And believe me, I have warts – BIG ones.  I worry and fret way too much over things I cannot control.  I spend too much time regretting things in my past that I cannot change. I procrastinate.  I don’t have a body that is – how shall we say – acceptable – in today’s society.  I sometimes over-mother my kids and grandbabies.  I perhaps spend too much time alone.  I am what I like to call myself – a reluctant servant in the work that I believe I’m called to do in my little corner of the world – meaning, I don’t always do what I know I have to do willingly, but instead go kicking and screaming.  I often relate to the story of Jonah, in the Bible, who kicked and screamed (and ran away and spent 3 days in the belly of a whale!) Yikes! Hopefully that will not be my destiny -cause, ya know, I don’t like fish! 🙂

With all of these not-so-positive ways of being, these days I’m still choosing to be ok with who/what I am.  To have compassion for myself.  To stop reaching for ways to do it all better, and just love myself for who I am.  And I’m beginning to believe that once I can reach that place of real love for myself in all my ways of being – well, that will be a peaceful state in which to live.

Can I love myself through all of that – and more?  Can I quiet the frenzied self talk that goes on and on, day and night?  All I know is that I must stop pushing and pulling at myself, sending myself in a thousand different directions.  It’s not good for me, in any way.  And so, I’ve stopped reading so many articles. I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters whose owners promise the next big change if only you do it this way. I’ve stopped following gurus’ and men and women who are claiming to be leading the way in health and wellness.  It’s all become tiresome.  It makes me wonder what kind of world we might live in if we all really and truly loved ourselves from within?  I believe that entails getting to know oneself inside and out.  Hearing what our inner voices tell us. Listening to what our bodies say (because I believe our bodies speak to us daily).  Becoming able to hear our own self – and drown out the cacophony around us.

There are a million more voices ‘out there’ that tell us to try this new way or tell us this is the way we should eat nowadays, this is the way our bodies ‘should’ look, or this is the car, house, education, vacation that we need to have.  But what does our inner self tell us? If we can listen and hear that inner voice, perhaps we might stop getting caught up in the millions of voices we hear chattering all around us that tell us we will Never Be Enough.

So, perhaps this is the reason I have stopped writing.  I have been learning something new – something important to me, something deep within myself that maybe I need to authenticate before I can write again.  I make promises that I wish I could keep, but I don’t keep.  And I’m going to be ok with that for now, and I’m going to say that I will write when I feel I really there’s something on my heart I wish to share.  And I will  try to write, not as someone who needs the world to know something, but perhaps as someone who is learning instead, and who is wanting to share that learning experience.

Perhaps getting to know/love myself just as I am has been why I have not been writing just now.  Perhaps it’s just not been the time to write, no matter what my ‘intentions’ were.  Can I be ok with that? Can you?

Namaste

 

 

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Blessed Solstice

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Hello Blogworld,

This morning I am sitting here staring out the window at this grey, wintery day, and thinking about change.  I have always had two times during my year that I reflect on change – around New Years, and in September – when there is that ‘let’s get back into it’ kind of feeling in the air.

But, today I’ve been reading a few articles on Solstice, and how many cultures and religions have thought of solstice as a time of renewal, a time of goal setting.  And I never really understood what Solstice actually was until today – the word Solstice comes from the Latin words (sol) which means ‘sun’, and (sistere) which means ‘stand still’, and is an actual celestial event.  At the solstice, the sun actually stands still, before changing direction according to which part of the world you live in.  Interesting, huh?

And for many, the solstice brings a time of reflection, a time of ‘going inside’ to regroup, a time of setting new intentions and making new plans. And though my own ceremony of looking back and making plans for the future year happens around New Years, I am taking a few minutes today to honour the process of standing still.

In today’s world, standing still for very long is virtually impossible, isn’t it?  But to be honest, standing still is the only way there is to really hear what’s going on inside us.  That still, small voice cannot, will not be heard in the craziness that is around us every moment of every day.  And that tiny voice inside, that ‘God-voice’ (is what I like to call her), is the most important voice to be heard, particularly if you wish to live your very best life.  And while not all of us do have that wish, that particular wish has been in my heart for as long as I can remember, and has been the reason I have chosen to do some very painful work inside me.  That still, small voice has been my driving force, and will continue to be so…..

So…..stillness, today, in this day of Solstice, when the sun (the source of all growing things here on earth) is itself standing still to change direction, I honour you. And while I will not be making any changes this day in particular, know that the upcoming year has been in my thoughts now for several weeks, and yes, I will be looking both back and forward in the next few weeks – setting intentions, making plans – and as I did last year, I will keep you posted, blogworld, because even though I have not been very faithful in keeping up with you these past few months, my long term intention is still….to keep on writing.   Namaste.

 

“Earthing” The New Term for Walking Barefoot in the Grass

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Earlier today, I came across an article about ‘Earthing’ – walking outside in your bare feet.  Yep.  It talked about how as a society we are always inside…and when we do go outside we have shoes on..so we are not connecting with the earth.  It went on to say that the earth gives off good electrons that our body needs….electrons that enable our auto immune system to stay healthy.

Here is an excerpt that I have cut and pasted from Dr. Mercola’s website:

It is known that the Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health.

There is an emerging science documenting how conductive contact with the Earth, which  is also known as Earthing or grounding, is highly beneficial to your health and completely safe. Earthing appears to minimize the consequences of exposure to potentially disruptive fields like “electromagnetic pollution” or “dirty electricity.”

Some of the recent evidence supporting this approach involves multiple studies documenting Earthing’s improvement in blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, sleep, autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance, and reduced effects of stress.

The Ultimate Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory

Grounding or Earthing is defined as placing one’s bare feet on the ground whether it be dirt, grass, sand or concrete (especially when humid or wet). When you ground to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs.

The Earth is a natural source of electrons and subtle electrical fields, which are essential for proper functioning of immune systems, circulation, synchronization of biorhythms and other physiological processes and may actually be the most effective, essential, least expensive, and easiest to attain antioxidant.

Modern science has thoroughly documented the connection between inflammation and all of the chronic diseases, including the diseases of aging and the aging process itself. It is important to understand that inflammation is a condition that can be reduced or prevented by grounding your body to the Earth, the way virtually all of your ancestors have done for hundreds if not thousands of generations.

There seems to be a whole lot of people realizing the importance of getting back to nature and a previous ‘way of being’…..whether it be via “Earthing”, eating more raw foods, incorporating homemade bone broths into our diets,  eating fermented foods for the nutritional value, even showering in cold water!  I might be nuts, but something about this way of being resonates with me.  Now, I don’t do all of those things, but I have begun to incorporate some of them into my day.  Today, in fact, I walked barefoot at the beach and through the grass in the park nearby.  It was wonderful to feel the sun on my face, the breeze in my hair, see the cloudless blue sky.  Let’s face it…many of us do spend too much time inside!  This has been something I am guilty of…going from home to work to home again…

I’ve made a commitment to myself to re-enter the world of Nature this summer.  To get out of the house as often as I can.  Now, with where I am living, there are a multitude of lovely places to walk, and I’ve been walking a different path every day.

What makes me sad, though, is that we need to be reminded to do things that came naturally to us as children (at least in my generation).  When I was a little girl we spent the whole day outside in the summer..and late into the evening as well.  I remember lying on the grass in the daytime cloud-watching…and in the nighttime, studying the stars in awe.  Fresh air and sunshine were two things we naturally took for granted back then.  It seems that we are a society that is losing this way of living….and all the natural health benefits that went along with it.

When experts are having to write articles about the importance of walking barefoot in the grass….I know there’s something wrong that needs to be put right again….

So…go outside!  Take those shoes off and feel the bare earth beneath your feet!  It’s actually good for you!  🙂

Choosing Kindness…

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What will it take for us to choose kindness….toward ourselves?

How much ought we to listen to that inner critic – that super ego – those cruel voices inside of us that never originated from us in the first place…but that arrived in our lives at some point, uninvited, through harsh words, or teasing, or from someone who didn’t believe in us and made sure we knew it?  Or even from someone who promised they loved us but really did not know how to convey that love?

I say….Never!  Never again listen to those critical voices that were never ours to begin with!  They don’t know us, they only think they do.  They only knew us from some imagined place, some place within their own being who said this is who I think she is…and I’d better tell her so she doesn’t think she is better than she really is….I’d better tell her so she doesn’t magnify herself…..

What they said in unkindness was about them...not about you.  The sooner we learn that, and understand it in our deepest places, the easier it will be to silence these uninvited voices…and to choose kindness, instead.

Here’s what I say.  Magnify yourself!  You are magnificent! Own it!  And above all else, choose kindness……….for yourself……….always.

Caution: Busy Week Ahead

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I just realized this instant that it’s 10 pm – my bedtime.  And here I am just beginning a new post.  I guess I’d better type fast – 5:30 rising tomorrow, to go spend the day with my grandson, Ronan. Yay!

It’s been a busy 2 days, and as I’ve emptied closets and gone through boxes I’ve had to talk myself down from overwhelm several times.  Man alive, I don’t know where all this ‘stuff’ has come from, but if I have my way (and I will!) it’ll be gone in a few days…and I’ll only keep as much as is absolutely necessary.

It’s going to be one of those weeks.  Four days till moving day, and one of my bosses has also decided that a donor letter must be sent out by the end of the week….why, oh why?  We seem to be famous for leaving things till the very last minute at my place of work, and it’s so not fun!  Considering I’m only in the office for 2 days this week……well, those 2 days are gonna be crazy. And then the move…

I am making progress with my self care routine.  This morning, before I even got out of bed, I spent some time loving on my body – that is, thanking her for the amazing job she does for me every moment of every day.  And then I made a plan for the day. Once out of bed, I managed 5 minutes ofweight bearing exercise , then spent about 15-20 minutes doing qigong.   I’ve been reading up on the benefits of dry brushing , and bought myself a natural bristle brush the other week, so I spent some time learning how to properly do that.  Dry brushing has many benefits, the biggest one is helping to keep the lymphatic system open and draining.

Then, I followed that up with a shower and moisturized my body with coconut oil .  I swear I’m really getting into this self-care thing!  The one downside is, it can be time consuming, when up till now I’ve been the-ready-to-go-out-the-door-way-before-anyone-else-kinda-gal.  But when I do these things I feel fabulous!  And the more I do them, the more I want to do them! I like feeling fabulous!

I’ve been reading up on natural DIY beauty products and also found a recipe for DIY deodorant that is chemical free.  I’m becoming more and more aware of the chemicals we drown our bodies in on a day to day basis, and it makes me uncomfortable.  As soon as I am able, I’m going to try these recipes!  You can find these (and much more) over at the  Wellness Mama blog…

I’m also reading up on the benefits of green smoothies.  Do I dare try them? To think I’ve never in my life EVER been concerned with ANY of this stuff before now.  I think my inner hippie is emerging…. 🙂

The Truth About “I Don’t Care” and “It Doesn’t Matter”

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I remember a friend once told me that her entire family forgot Mother’s Day – her husband, and her grown up kids.  I could tell she was incredibly hurt by that…but her reaction was “Oh well, it doesn’t matter”.  Yet, it was very evident that it did matter – and it mattered a lot.  I know I’ve done the same thing.  In fact, I have been known to use these two phrases way too often.  And I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in this…

Why, when something hurtful happens to us, or something that we really wanted to happen, doesn’t,  do we insist that it doesn’t matter?  Or that we don’t care?  I’ve been asking myself that question a lot.  I used the “I don’t care” phrase just the other day, when it became clear to me that something that I want to happen at my work is not ever going to happen, no matter how hard I try to make it so.  And one of my colleagues, who also happens to be a counselor, immediately called me on it.  She told me to stop telling myself  an outright lie.  Why do I do this?

Thinking back to my friend, when she said this to me, it was almost as if she was saying….I don’t matter, anyhow, so why should I care if someone hurts me?  And man oh man, writing that sentence just now makes me stop in my tracks.  Because, if you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll know that I struggle with my own worth in this world.  So somehow it makes it easier, when things aren’t going my way, to just say oh well, who cares, anyhow?  It’s as if I’m saying well, you know you don’t matter anyhow, so there’s no sense caring about anything…

But, dammit! I do care!  It’s not ok to not care!  It’s downright dangerous to not care. And not only that, if you ask me, it’s a cop out. It lets me off the hook from saying what really needs to be said.  From saying something like  “you really hurt my feelings.”

So I’m watching myself way more closely.  I want to erase that way of thinking, and I know that it is possible to do so.   I AM WORTH CARING.  And it’s no longer ok to tell myself that I don’t care (when I do care!) or that it doesn’t matter (when it does matter!)  It’s no longer ok to tell myself an outright lie, believing in some perverted way that it’s going to make me feel better.  Because it won’t.  Not. Ever.

So, if you’re reading this, be careful with these two not-so-innocent little phrases.  Because if you’re using them, too…ask yourself, really?  Do  I really not care that someone has just shattered my heart?  I think you’ll be surprised by the answer.    We matter – and  it’s ok to say what we really feel.  The earth won’t stop turning.  Our hearts won’t stop beating.  Our world will not implode if we’re honest with someone who has hurt us.

Being able to talk about our real feelings is a vital part of self-care.  I for one intend to stop lying to myself by using these two phrases.  How about you?

Would LOVE to say making new habits is Easy…

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Old habits die hard.  At least, that’s what it feels like the past few days.  Been choosing computer games over moving these past few evenings.  Ate a rather large bowl of ice cream last night, which, had I taken the time to find out what was going on inside, could have been avoided.  But, no.  I was not intentional.  And intentional is what I desire to be, as often as I can, especially in those moments when old habits wish to take over…

So, here I am.  I’m realizing more and more that I come here to stay on/or get back on track.  Seeing this stuff right here on the screen is getting it out of me and making it real.  Writing it out helps those niggly feelings to rise up to the top so I can’t stuff them.  Cause if there was a career out there that involved stuffing feelings, I’d be making millions. Yes.  I’m that good.

I’m bummed that I’m not here to tell you all how great I’m doing.  Ugh.  But, I’ll remind myself once again that new habits take time.  And it’s ok to stumble and fall.  As long as I don’t lay there in the dirt and feel sorry for myself.  As long as I get up and remind myself what I’m trying to do here, and dust myself off and keep going forward.

It’s gonna be ok, Cher.  I promise.  It’s been a few days of not being mindful, but that’s ok.  It’s ok not to get it absolutely right every single time.  I know I can do this.  I AM doing this.  I’ve already been through hell and I survived.  I’ve already proved to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.  One babystep at a time……

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