Most of us have a strong reflex/impulse for our attention to be focused outwards. Busy with all the external circumstances, busy doing our best to manage our external circumstances, busy attending to almost every detail externally.
What if we stopped for a moment and walked through another door ? If we turned our focus inwards. This does not mean that we ignore or turn our back on external circumstances. Simply that we soften the gaze to include and to care for ourself simultaneously as caring for others or attending to our daily life.
It often feels as if we have to choose between our hearts and our minds. We could say listening to the heart is the inward pathway and listening to the mind is the outward pathway.
When the door to the heart path is walked through, we discover the mind distils into the heart. In this distilling process of allowing outer and inner processes to be fully met, there is no resistance or we could say no distance between our outer and inner experiencing. We are free to live and experience our aliveness.
A simple yet such a powerful tool to support this process is offering and receiving the gift to our self of self -care and self -kindness. It can be the beginning of including ourself, not that we can ever truly exclude our self, although we can experience being very effective in denying our self. The light of our being, shines always whether we recognise this or not.
The beautiful invitation of allowing the flow of care in our daily lives is transforming in so many ways. One of the beautiful by- products of accepting this invitation of the flow of care is that it includes everyone and everything. There can be a strong inherited belief and conditioning that we do not deserve self -care and self -kindness. Yet it is now emerging more vocally than ever that many of us are worn down with stress, with lack of care for our self.
The first step to begin listening inwardly can be inspiring and asks of us to have curiosity, a willingness to take a leap of faith, a willingness to question our beliefs.
In listening both to the physiology and the energetic body we deepen into knowing our self. Listening to the body can itself be supported, be nourished, be enlivened with the beautiful gift of care given and received. We can use whatever is of assistance to care for the body/mind, this will always support transformation.
Here are just a few suggestions to begin a journey of self- care and self -kindness or maybe to enliven an existing journey.
My suggestion is to take a week or a day and use several of the tools and explore, listen inwardly and discover what supports you. Remembering there is no prescriptive way of self -care, the flow of care asks of us to take our stand from an authentic location, both in the giving and receiving of care. So my encouragement is to investigate what makes your heart sing.
What does nourishment, nurture, care feel like for you?
What is true nourishment/care for you?
I'm going to start the list with baths and footbaths simply because they make my heart sing. The healing/restorative power of water infused with herbs is nectar to my heart and body.
Any of the nervous system supportive herbs , or restoring herbs work well in baths. You can also use epsom salts, again you can add herbs to the salts . ( use 1 tablespoon of herbs to a pint of boiling water, steep for a good 5 to 10 minutes, strain and add to the bath water )
Also add whatever assists you to rest back, maybe candles, music etc.
Baths are also a great environment to listen to sensations arising in the body (in the course The Great Mother and the Amazing Power of Softness we dive deeply into listening to the body).
A daily herbal cuppa to support the nervous system and or the digestive system. Nourishing and nurturing both these intimate and sensitive systems of the body is such a gift of self -care and self-kindness. We are all aware today of the connection of the nervous system and the digestive system with our wellbeing, and also our state of mind. Not that these two systems are the whole picture of our wellbeing and state of mind but they are a part of it. In my direct experience and the witnessing of others, it is of great assistance to support, nourish and nurture both the nervous system and the digestive system and our herbal allies do this beautifully. Such a simple expression of self -kindness to stop and sip a herbal cuppa that nourishes, soothes, enlivens and more !
I also often suggest holding the nervous system and or the digestive system in the arms of the Great Mother. By this I mean allow the feeling of these systems being held lovingly, without judgement, without any psychological dialogue of what is right or wrong or how things should be. Allowing any sensations to arise and for the movement outwards to be welcomed, to be fully completed and liberated. Then this vibration of sensation returns to the heart.
Spend some time in nature or what makes your heart sing with joy each day, this can be so supportive. Simply looking at a flower or a leaf or bird feeding or walking amongst the trees, or in the park or in the garden. The body relaxes, the mind slows down. We become more aware if you like of simply being. We all know this already, yet at busy times we can be very resistant to allowing ourselves to receive the gifts of nature.
Movement can be great nourishment for the body/mind. My suggestion is to also include the energetic body as well. To sit for a moment or lay down and allow the body to energetically move, with very subtle movements. This is of great assistance in dissolving long -held tension/contractions of old memories held in the cells and the muscles of the body.
Spaciousness; this has to be to the queen of self -care and self- kindness. Allowing ourselves as much spaciousness as possible, moment to moment when life is experienced as stressful, difficult, challenging or not how we want it to be. This enables a caring response to arise steeped in gratitude. When we hold tightly to how things, events, people, our self should be or shouldn't be there is very little if any, space for a caring solution/response to arise.
There are of course so many expressions of self -care, self -kindness and as I said earlier there is no prescriptive way. We can take the first step to include self- kindness/self -care in our daily life. From here as we directly experience the beautiful byproducts, here now in each moment, we can commit deeper and deeper to listening to ourself, to expressing ourself authentically and allowing the flow of care to permeate our body and our daily life.
Below are links to nourishing support offered through my website.
- The Great Mother and the Amazing Power of Softness - a course for women focused on deeply listening to the body, including self-kindness, self-care.
- Herbal teas - all the formulas offered have arisen from the many years of working with women in my herbal healing practice.
- Apothecary service - a service offered where you can email me with your symptoms or difficulty and I will send you 2 herbal formulas plus an email containing suggestive tools of assistance.
- Consultations - offered via skype