Friday, February 23, 2018

Light, Please

"Shine your light!" I say it often, to myself and to my kids. It's usually the last thing I say to them in the morning, after I love you, as they swing open the car doors to race to the school playground.

I consider it part of my life purpose, to shine my light, and to remind you to shine yours. Every light, just like every being, is completely unique. Your light is different then my light. Brighter, softer, a different color, serves a different purpose. Not better, but different. Your light offers something that mine doesn't, and I need to see what that is. Your light offers growth and truth for me, as mine does for you.

Light can be understood in many ways. Just look up light on and you'll find a page of various definitions, nouns, adjectives, verbs. As I speak of light, I refer to something along the lines of....

the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible

Now, I know I'm a bit of a logophile and find excitement in words, but I love this definition. Light makes things visible. Basically we help each other see by shining our lights. How cool is that? I think it's pretty magical.

What does shining your light mean? How do you do it? Is there a hidden switch somewhere that you were not aware of? Can every person shine their light? What if I don't wanna shine my light? What if I wanna keep my light to myself. I'm not even sure I have a light.

We all have a light. Everyone of us. It never ever dies. It may go dim. It may struggle to shine. It may scare you to let it be seen. Maybe it's a funky and fantastic tie dye rainbow swirl and you are convinced there is something wrong with it. There is not. Your light is perfect. If you aren't ready to shine your light, that's okay. At least allow yourself to recognize it. Acknowledge it's presence. The more you acquaint yourself with your light, the more likely you are to begin to share it.

When I think of shining my light, I consider the why. I think, although the meta purpose for all of us is to walk each other through this earthly plane, sharing personal truth and offering support... opening eyes to things that may have never been seen, I believe each of us has a smaller more intimate place in that big picture.

When I shine my light I am authentic. I am ME. I do not filter myself, nor diffuse myself. I allow my personal truth to be known. My human struggles and my soul's desires. I puke my guts into a blog post and share it with you. I do not play small, instead allowing myself to fill the space if it's supposed to. I, for that time, live in my power, knowing my power offers you power. It offers you an opportunity to see something you may not have seen before. Most importantly when I shine my light, it invites you to shine your light. Like one candle lighting another. I gently bend to you, flame burning, wax melting and offer you ignition.

Sometimes I shine my light by offering comfort. By holding space for another and allowing them to just be. Giving them time to connect with their own light, maybe long since forgotten, or becoming aware of what might be blocking their light from shining.

Other times I shine my light by being silly. By encouraging us to laugh at ourselves. By telling personal stories with cuss words, extreme hand gestures and award winning facial expressions. It's a thing.

So maybe take a minute today. Think about your light. Visualize it inside of you and surrounding you. See it's color. See it's breadth. Feel whatever feels it brings on. Then ponder on how you share it. What are you doing when it shines most true? Do more of that. We need you to help us see.


Monday, February 5, 2018

The Self-Care Mash Up - Pills to Savasana

Self Care. It's become a bit of a buzz word I guess, but seriously, I think it's worthy of the buzz. I imagine some of the responses when people hear self care mentioned probably go something like this....

"Oh geez, people, come on. Quit worrying so much about whoo whoo self care and just sack up already."

"Self care? Who has time for self care. I work, and have kids, and don't have enough hours in my day as it is. I'm lucky if I get the gym twice a week"

" Does wine count as self care?"

"I'm all about self care! Meditation, yoga, plant medicine and all natural EVERYTHING all the time!"

It can be tricky, finding a version of self care that works for you, and understanding that it can and will change.

Self-care can be defined as any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.

Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.”

As with most things, I have found giving grace in this area is the key. Grace allows for balance. Because honestly, it's easy to get wrapped up in all or nothing thinking.

I've kind of always been one of those people who has friends in various circles. I find different points of view intriguing, and like to give and take. Sharing ideas, beliefs, ways of doing things that differ, that get you thinking and exploring, and then deciding which of those you can add into your potpourri, and hopefully offering something that someone else can add to theirs. I do believe we are all different for a blessed reason, and no one way is right for everyone.

I am a student and teacher of yoga. I meditate and share guided meditation with my yoga classes in most instances. I have been attuned to Reiki, share Reiki and have attuned others to Reiki. Being part of this circle of gorgeous souls, has taught me so very much. I have become open to parts of myself I really wasn't sure existed, and have grown in my capacity to give and receive love and compassion, and my ability to train my breath, thoughts and reactions exponentially.

I have found that some in this "circle" of wellness can be anti-western medicine at all costs, leaving it ostracized from their self care regimen. Medication may be considered poison and likely blocking you from reaching your fullest potential. Plants, breath, self inquiry and awareness, essential oils, juicing and supplements are IT. All you need to live a healthy, happy, authentic life.  I love all of those things, but do not believe they are the only way.

 I hold faith close to my heart and have a treasured relationship with God. The Creator loves us unconditionally, as we are and as we can be, and every single one of us has God's love. No matter your religion, no matter your sexual preference, no matter if you read the bible, the Torah , the Qu'ran or any sacred text at all. Even whether or not you believe in the One, God, Goddess, Great Spirit, etc. He/She/It believes in you.

I have found that some in the "circle" of spirituality can put so much emphasis on religion that they neglect to see the other beautiful options of self care available. So much fear of good versus evil, causes them to try to pray away their trouble, which is likely caused (in their minds) by sin or the devil. They are often afraid of "letting things in" or "letting their guard down", which unfortunately can be very limiting for your self care options.

I've done quite a bit of self study in terms of the science of the brain and mind, as well as mind body connection. I'm not a trained professional. I am not a doctor. I've been to see a few though (as have most of us), doctors for my physical health as well as my mental health. I've participated in therapy, and even took part in a study through John Hopkins on the role genetics plays in OCD.

I have found some in this "circle" of science find it hard to believe in anything without having experienced it themselves and/or cold hard facts. Alternative therapies aren't given much support, not often recommended and kind of looked as..."sure try it, it can't hurt, but don't expect it to actually work." Sometimes they want to throw medication at everything and that is scary.

I do see this changing, which I think is very exciting. I recognize that many more alternative therapies are being covered by health insurance companies, and offered in hospitals as supportive/in-tandem options. This very much plays into my potpourri theory.

As you read this please know, I am not trying to create a separation between these some and the rest. I believe with my whole heart that we are one. I am pointing these things out to say, not everyone (inside or outside of your circle) is going to support your self care plan, and that is absolutely okay. Doctors may recommend things that don't ring true for you. You can say no. Friends may not agree with your choices. That is their prerogative and it really doesn't matter.  The only one that needs to believe in your plan is you. That's were the potpourri comes in......

I recently posted something on Instagram about prayer. I described my prayer life, and the potpourri I have created, that serves me well. I look at self care the same way. I love potpourri you guys! I little bit of this and a little bit of that. Exactly what is right for you, and only you. I can often be overheard saying, "take it with a grain of salt'. What I mean by that is... read that book that everyone is recommending....try that class that your friend guarantees will make you feel great....learn the stuff. And as you do, listen to yourself. Take the parts of that book, or class, or whatever that work for you and leave what doesn't. You don't need 100% buy in all the time.

My self care potpourri changes occasionally, but the main ingredients usually stay pretty true. I shoot for balance in these areas, sometimes I achieve it, sometimes I don't. All about balance and grace y'all!

I allow western and eastern and alternative therapies and medications to work together for my mind and body (that has included an anti-anxiety med. in the past, and may again someday in the future because that works for me, and there is no shame in my game).

 I exercise mostly by staying active in things I enjoy doing like hiking with my family, yoga, and even sometimes working out (I don't really enjoy that last one very much, but as I get older I see the benefits and feel it is worthy of a place in my potpourri).

I am conscious about what I eat (most of the time). I enjoy food and like to keep it nourishing. I don't eat animals or dairy. I juice... sometimes.

I pray the way I want to (see the aforementioned IG post) and I meditate.

I write and take pictures, re purpose things and paint rocks with my boys to feed my creativity.

I allow myself to rock out to loud music and dance with the kids, and in my car, and whenever it feels like a good time.

I support others, through sharing yoga, Reiki and holding space, through volunteering at my kids school and by being there for my loved ones. You may not see that one as self care but I do. Giving to others is a beautiful and unique way to give to ourselves and fills a very special place. Again balance is key. Can't support others without supporting ourselves; can't pour from an empty vessel, all that jazz.

Maybe take a few minutes today to ponder your self care potpourri. Have you been allowing others' ideas and beliefs to limit what you allow yourself access to? Have you been stuck in the scenario of no time for me? Do you sometimes feel defeated before you even start? Remember, it doesn't have to be all or nothing guys. It doesn't have to be a perfect plan, and it doesn't have to be right for anyone but you.

Take care of you, whatever that means and however feels rights. You know best.

So much love.