Tag Archives: self-care

Here’s the deal. It’s a daily practice.

There’s a reason they (whoever “they” are) call yoga a practice. It’s not (supposed to be) a destination. It’s not (supposed to be) an end point you’re aiming for. It’s not (supposed to be) something to check off your to-do list or to “win” at.

It’s a practice. Day by day. Being where you are in the moment and playing with the poses one more time to see what they bring you now. And now. And now.

Most days my yoga practice is different from other days. Sometimes poses are un-understandably easy. Sometimes they’re un-understandably difficult, or near impossible.

It’s a practice.

The same, I’m learning more and more, is true of my practices of meditation, finding joy, gratitude, allowing peace and ease, soothing my heart and soul…all of them.

They are all practices.

They are practices that may come easier some days than others or may seem like they have more and better “results” some days than others. They are practices that feel awkward at first – like the first time you stand in mountain pose…and stand…and stand – but that get more comfortable as time goes on. Or at least more doable.

I’ve told many of my clients recently that meditation becomes more effortless the more you practice. It’s funny that a practice that is mostly about doing nothing and sitting still seems to require so much effort at first. But as I practice and practice, I’m more able to be with my feelings as they come up or to watch my thoughts rather than get lost in my thoughts. I’m more able to let things be. I’m more able to catch myself in moments when I’m not meditating and notice my weird thoughts, accept my weird thoughts, and find something less weird or self-lambasting to think about.

I practice and my muscles grow stronger. Even if they’re muscles for not doing something. Even if they’re muscles for letting go and letting be.

It’s a daily practice. I need to remember to sit in quiet each day (or almost each day). I need to remember to first go to self-compassion…or at least second or third. I need to remember to actively look for things that will thrill my heart or ease my troubled soul.

The more I practice this, the more I intentionally build more muscles of self-care and self-love, the bigger my muscles get and the easier they become to tap into when I need them most.

I’m fueling new thought-patterns and building new muscles. It’s a daily practice to do that. A daily practice that I’m lucky – and grateful – to be able to do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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This breath. Just this breath. This breath is all I need.

It’s really that simple. What else do I need?

I think I need so much more. I look outside – and inside – for something to soothe me. Or something to excite me. I look for meaning, connection, purpose. I look for healing, comfort, ease. I look for someone to make it all “better” for me.

But all I need is this breath. And this one. And this one.

Because in each conscious breath I am grounded. In each conscious breath I realize I am whole.

With each breath I simply note that I am alive, and – perhaps because I’ve trained my mind and soul to do so – with each breath I see joy and beauty. I feel love and peace.

I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. I don’t have to heal from yesterday. I can be in this moment, and know that – at least for just right now – I am okay.

As I share with clients, again and again, I do believe our fears and reactive tendencies are safety mechanisms. My need to read the environment and “handle the situation” (even when I’m not in a “situation”) is a learned behavior that kept me safe when I was young. There was turmoil and danger around me. I was, at least in some ways, threatened. With parents who didn’t seem to put my welfare first (or second…or anywhere high on the list), I learned to be always on guard.

And I’ve learned that I don’t have to do that – or be that – any more. I’ve developed a new learned behavior. It’s called breathing.

Just this breath. And this one. And this one.

I’ve trained myself to breathe and relax. I’ve taught myself to breathe and notice that I am safe – or if I’m not, to do something about what’s going on that comes from mindfulness, wholeness, and love, rather than from fear. I’ve realized, and I remember, that pushing against against my fear only makes it worse. That criticizing myself for reacting only makes my reactions stronger. That fighting my need to fight only makes me need to fight more.

I’ve compassionately disciplined myself to allow each breath to calm me. To look for beauty so that I can open my eyes and mind to more than what I’m reacting to. To take a breath. And another. And another. And let myself know that all is well and I’m okay.

This breath. Just this breath. This breath is all I need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

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Whatever you do is enough

Again our yoga instructor offered this to us during our practice. Again it resonated.

As someone who has, and can, get stuck with “I’m not enough.” As someone who has worked at replacing that self-defeating (and lambasting) mantra with a full-blown recognition of my own enough-ness, I latched onto our instructor’s gift. And held on tight.

Over the years I replaced, “I’m not enough,” with “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” I still have visions of myself riding in a taxicab home from a support group one evening, repeating over and over and over to myself, “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” Over the years I replaced “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” with “I am more than enough. I have more than enough. I do more than enough.” Somehow the extra “more” was necessary – or at least helpful – to pull myself out of the not-enough-ness that I could throw myself into.

So when our instructor suggested that whatever was enough, there in class as well as outside in the “real” world, I felt myself ease again. As a friend said to me recently, while reflecting on our similar reflex to push and punish ourselves, that reflex comes from a desire to “control everything happening around me.” If I don’t make mistakes, I reduce the chance of being hurt or abandoned. And if I try harder, and harder, and harder still, and hard “enough”, I reduce the chance of making mistakes.

It amazes me how many of us are wired so hard and so tight, with such lack of self-compassion. It amazes me how prevalent this self-defeating and lambasting mental approach is.

It also amazes me how easy it is to let it go, at least for a moment. How permission from outside – from my yoga instructor – reminded me to ease up on myself.

It also amazes me how I’m getting better – and better – at this. The other day another friend asked me how I juggled all that I had going on without freaking out or going into (too much) overdrive. I’m diligently (and delightedly) working on moving my memoir towards its publication date in September. I’m relatively managing (and enjoying) my leadership consulting practice that is booming and busier than ever. I’m still a (extremely lucky) parent with one child at home. It is a lot.

I laughed when my friend asked me, and I acknowledged that I’ve learned to just do what I can do, do what’s in front of me, and trust that somehow everything else that needs to happen will somehow happen. So far it’s working at least relatively well.

Which means that somehow deep down inside of myself I must be reminding myself, as my yoga instructor did, that “Whatever you do is enough.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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