The whole process of self-development; personal evolution; awakening--whatever you want to call it--can feel super daunting. Believe me, I've been there. In fact, I'm still there alot of the time. Because there are so many different directions where you can go. But, the beauty is, no matter where you start, you'll always end up exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to do, to go where you want to go.
Kinda cool right?
Well, I've been on this development train for years and I've tackled this from many different angles. I've read books; been to therapists; worked through workbooks; listened to podcasts; done things on my own; done things in a group; been on retreats; hired healers; and, journaled. Many things I'm still doing, and other things...not so much. And that is okay. It is all a part of the growth process.
One thing I'm really digging is starting with something so basic, I wondered why I didn't think of it myself. You know what that basic thing is?
Starting with yourself.
Yes, really. Starting with you. Not a book. Not a podcast. Not a therapist. YOU.
And you start by asking yourself, what do you value? At your core, what do you stand for, believe in, and feel is true to you? How do you want to live your life? How do you want to honor the person you are?
Then, you've got to listen for the response. Listening takes time, patience, and understanding. And when it comes to listening to yourself, admittedly, it's not easy. I still struggle to listen to myself. I usually just ask the question and keep on going, not really recognizing signs that my body/my heart/my emotions are wanting to speak. I don't often hear until I'm forced (in my case, through illness) to slow down. But, I don't just want to hear when I'm forced....I want to hear myself before it gets to that point.
Which is why I'm writing. Which is why I'm sharing. To shed light on this whole self development thing....and take some of the confusion out of it. Its not wrong to want to evolve. Its not wrong to want to do this work. Its not wrong to want to "figure out" or ask questions of our bodies, our minds, our spirits. Our bodies/minds/hearts speak to us all the time. They will ALWAYS tell us the truth.
It is our responsibility to listen.
This weekend, really listen to your body when you ask the question--What do I value? Record the answer in a journal; share with a friend; or just write out a list. There is NO right or wrong way to do this....just open your ears and honor your response.
If you're stuck, or wanting to share it hear, leave a comment below. I'll be sharing mine after I give myself the space this weekend to answer it, so I can't wait to see what you've heard!
Well, January was hard. I mean, don't get me wrong...I definitely felt the spirit of the new year. I was totally ready to turn the page and say goodbye to 2017.
But, January 2018 felt very unsteady, shaky, and pretty unnerving to me. Was it to anyone else?
I've attributed it to many reasons--busy time at work; my birthday; unexpected snow days; a breakup; but especially to illnesses. Two major illnesses did slow down a lot of the momentum I was hoping to make this past month. I was hoping to just start with a bang January 1st and keep it rolling all the way to the end of the year.
It still surprises me how I can tell everyone to soften up and be easy on themselves...and yet, when it comes to me, I'm one tough drill sergeant. I don't allow rest or down time for myself. Sure, I want everyone else to that break, but not me. I've got to always be doing something.
And that mindset isn't serving me AT ALL this year. In fact, I'd argue its never served me well....other than to make me quite tired, stressed out, sick, and overall, intense/high strung/dare I say...hornet-eque? Maybe that is why I have been so sick, especially these past few years. My body is flat worn out from all of the tough love I put it through.
Yeah, I've spent most of my time on this planet really living that way. In fact, I've prided myself on that work ethic. But, this year...that way of thinking just doesn't feel good. And I'm not doing it anymore.
This is a 1 year for me...which in numerology means I'm beginning a new cycle. In basic numerology, you progress through a cycle every 9 years. That cycle begins/ends based on the month, day, of your birth and the current year--add them all up until you get down to a single digit, and boom--there's the number of your year. (If you want more info on this, please let me know! I'm definitely still learning, but I love talking about this!)
And once I recognized it was a 1 year (at the end of January no doubt), no wonder I've felt wobbly and unsteady. Like a baby learning to take its first steps, my steps in this new cycle will be unsteady. I will shake. I will fall down. I will lose my footing as quick as I gained it. But, that is okay. Because it is all a part of starting anew.
And guess what? In a 9 year, the number which represents the year of completion (my enitre 2017), I felt that way too. It was tough to get traction on anything while this 9 year phase was ending. So, beginnings and endings can be tough. They can feel awkward. They do feel unsettling. But, I believe this is just the growth process and the start of something SO.DAMN.GOOD.
And as I begin this new cycle in my life, I want to really look at ways I can be better. Not because I think I'm awful and need to change (my ego would surely tell you that); but, because I want to evolve and become an even better version of myself. I know there are some parts of my shadow coming to light, and in order for me to heal them, I've got to look right at them. I've got to be honest with myself. I've got to give myself time to just listen to what my heart has to say.
And that ain't easy my friend. Especially for someone who prided herself on being busy and overbooked all the time.
Yet, looking back, that sense of busyness and stress did nothing but wear me down and take me further away from myself. I thought I was being productive, but I really only ended up hurting the one person I can't live without--me.
Enter the foreign concept of......."self care".
I used to think the term (and if I'm honest, the whole concept itself) "self-care" was bull. I mean, I hated baths....so if I was being told in order to perform self care I needed to take a bath, uhhhh think again.
***Let the record show that as of this typing, I am recanting my previous statement...baths are wonderful. Especially with epsom salt. And lavender. But, I digress.***
I realized during this past year, self care is more about taking intentional action towards making myself feel good on the daily than it is just bubble baths and yearly manicures. No, self care must be something I really put effort in to make my life feel cared for....protected even. And this isn't just a luxury....it is a necessity in order for me to feel safe, loved, and free.
Enter my friend Emily Levenson's blog post on January 30th. It just so happened to the be a day I was at home recovering from a bout of food poisoning. And reading this article, I knew something had to give. I'd given up so much of my life to other people. I'd just let others just take care of things with me giving little to no input. I let my boundaries be completely walked over (lets face it, I'm not sure I had good boundaries to begin with). I knew I had to really make an effort to protect myself and my life if I wanted--and needed--anything to change. And boy, did I need something to change. Well, I still do need that change. That's where this blog comes in.
I'm diving into learning how to take care of--and protect--myself and my health/well-being. To tell you the truth, I've been studying self care for years--by reading books, taking classes, diving in all things wellness related--but, book learnin' isn't the same as actually walking the talk. And now, its time for me to practice what I've been reading for all these years. It just took one weekend trip of studying under Tara Stiles at Strala Yoga to show me what I've been missing--tuning inside and just simply slowing down to feel GREAT.
No more just digging into the books to say I read them. No more just consulting with experts to say I've worked with them. I only wanted them to give me the answers anyway. Never once did I think to really ask myself what I needed from their teachings.
By questions, I mean asking things similar to--"What do I need in this moment? What food choice would actually serve me here? What do I really want to say? Why do you want to protect and care for yourself?"
Seriously, just thinking of an answer to some of these makes my mind go blank. But, like I talk about in my Barre3 classes, thinking of these answers will help you when things get hard. When you get down on yourself. When you want to give up. These answers are your anchor. They always help to guide you back home.
That is what this blog will do (at least I hope so anyway!). I want to help you start to ask (and answer!) these questions as I'm answering them myself. Maybe you just want to know you're not alone. I get it....you aren't. We are all in this together. I'm glad you're here....lets get started!