This week as we’ve talked about leaving, which sounds a lot like the act of releasing and letting go. But, it occurred to me that there’s a big difference between releasing and letting go versus leaving.
To me, releasing and letting go means that although you have made your break with a situation or a person or memories, there’s still a connection–a subtle one.
Releasing and letting go is a passive act. In a sense, you’re still looking back; you still have a longing for that thing, person, memory that you let go of. It can be likened to when a child is holding a helium balloon and it slips out of their grasp. They cry as they watch it float off into the sky, hoping that somehow something will change and make the balloon come back to them.
Leaving, on the other hand, is active and decisive. When you leave, you’re stepping away, turning your back, and moving in a different direction.
In fact now that I think about it, releasing and letting go is the first part of moving on and leaving–turning your back and going another way–is the second part of moving on.
The next time you have trouble moving on, even though you’ve released and let go of what’s bothering you, perhaps you need to take the next step of turning your back and walking away. I’m certainly going to keep this strategy in mind!
Think of the act of self caring as making a pilgrimage to feed and nurture that part of you–those parts of you–that gets dismissed and trampled by every day Life.
The pilgrimage doesn’t have to be traveling to a Holy Site, a basilica in a far-off country complete with a centuries-dead saint’s relics; the pilgrimage only has to be holy to you. This is what elevates self-indulgence to an act of self-care.
A pilgrimage of self-care is a form of honoring, connecting with, and even consecrating the place within you that is deep, rich, and eternal.
Sometimes I need to sit on my deck at night or in the early morning and gaze at the stars in astonished wonder at the exquisite magnificence of the heavens. Other times I need the camaraderie of my family or my very good friends. At another time, I may need the nurturing comfort of a bowl of soup that I’ve made from scratch or the sustenance of a freshly baked batch of cookies made from a recipe handed down from my mother.
Then there are times when all I need is to take a breather by gazing out my window and daydreaming, or pulling out my bottle of bubbles and filling the air with shimmering, iridescent bubbles.
My pilgrimage of self-care morphs and shifts to what I need in the moment. It’s all good!
For instance, my pilgrimage today is reading. I’m reading a book about an autistic person’s experience and fascination with language, and another book on a person’s spiritual journey.
Of course there are those who would say that nothing good will come of this reading: these aren’t books to choose if you’re looking for entertainment; they aren’t books that I can somehow use to further my career by making my skills and knowledge more marketable.
But they’re feeding me and nurturing that part of me that’s feeling pushed to the side and overlooked.
They make me see the world from another’s point of view. My mind considers ideas I wouldn’t have had on my own. As I go about my other tasks today, I ponder a sentence, a phrase, or a whole thought from each of the books. I know I’ll continue to do this in the weeks and months to come. I know this pondering and considering will lead to insights that will smooth some of the rough spots on my path or show me beauty and goodness I would have otherwise been blind to.
So, if eating gourmet chocolate while sipping a fine wine is an activity that restores calm, peace, and balance in your life; if it fills you with hope and reinforces your belief that beauty, love, and goodness in all forms out-weigh the negative in the world, then I say you’re on the right track.
What self-care pilgrimage are you currently on? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!
People often confuse self-care with self-indulgence. People think treating themselves to chocolate or ice cream or cookies is a form of self-care. They think skipping their session at the gym is self-care. Or, they may convince themselves that staying out late with their friends, getting drunk or high or zoning out in front of the TV are forms of self-care.
All of these are self-indulgence.
The difference between self-care and self-indulgence is that self-care helps balance the effects of emotional, physical, and mental stressors in every day life. The effects of self-care are long lasting.
Self-indulgence is a quick fix for stressors and the effects are very short-lived.
Self-care is doing things such as eating nutritious food, getting plenty of sleep, making sure you have quiet time for meditation and contemplation, including exercise and movement in your day, regularly engaging in activities that are enjoyable, and spending time with people who celebrate you.
Self-care is all about balance, moderation, and thoughtfully choosing what to do–how best to soothe and comfort yourself.
What are some things you do to care for yourself? I watch the sunrise or sunset and I enjoy blowing bubbles. How about you? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!
No matter what the weather is where you are–cold, rainy, foggy, hot, muggy, or picture-perfect–get outside today!
Get outside ESPECIALLY to meditate-sit in silence-pray-contemplate.
There is something very simple, very peaceful, and very profound about sitting outside. Many studies have proven the health and well-being benefits of getting outside and reconnecting with Mother Nature.
You don’t have to do anything big or spectacular to get the benefits. No need to move to the country so you can live off the land. You can still get the benefits by sitting on your fire escape in the middle of the city and noticing and absorbing the birds and other animals, the sky, the weather conditions that day.
Make this a regular part of your week, and, if possible, figure out a way to spend a few minutes every day outside contemplating natural world around you.
Life can be scary, especially when we let our imaginations go and conjure all sorts of disasters waiting to befall us. Or, our imaginations can be more petrifying by not dishing up anything specific but yet terrorizing us with the Nebulous Unknown.
I hope one or all of these selections can help you feel grounded and safe when you’re in the throes of fear and anxiety:
The Cradle Song composed by Brahms
Ave Maria composed by Franz Schubert
Ave Maria composed by Bach/Gounod
Canon in D Major composed by Pachelbel
Clair de Lune composed by Debussey
Let it Be composed and sung by The Beatles
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sung by Jewel
Over the Rainbow as sung by Judy Garland
Angel Standing By as sung by Jewel
If you have favorite songs that help you feel calm and safe, please share in the comments below. Thanks!
As we touched on in yesterday’s post, forgiving people who aren’t sorry is difficult. When we find ourselves in this type of circumstance, it’s important to step back and take a deeper look at the situation to gain a better understanding of what’s going on below the surface.
The next step after doing this non-judgmental thinking is to take care of ourselves. It’s important to be compassionate and kind toward ourselves. Here are a few quotes to remind us of this:
Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness. – Deborah Day
Nothing external to you has any power over you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life. – Jill Bolte Taylor
Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.– Christopher Germer
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.– William James
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. – Jean Shinoda Bolen
Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. – Nathaniel Branden
Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.– Thaddeus Golas
It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. – Mandy Hale
Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior. — Mark Victor Hansen
When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving. ~ Kim McMilllen
If one of these quotes resonated strongly with you, jot it down and keep it handy. Refer to it whenever you need a boost.
When we think of meditating, the image that comes to mind is someone sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion, back straight, eyes closed, and hands with palms up resting on the knees.
That’s only one way to meditate or to sit in silence.
If sitting like this doesn’t work for you, try a reclining position on a bed or couch. For instance, sometimes I will sit in my recliner. There’s a certain angle that’s impossible for me to achieve when sitting upright that, when I’m leaning back in the recliner at that particular angle, my lower back seems to instantly relax, which then allows me to meditate deeper.
Perhaps a walking meditation would suit you better, especially if it’s in a lovely garden or lightly wooded park. You may find that being near moving water works for you, such as walking along a beach or sitting beside a burbling brook. Or maybe it’s still water that does the trick for you. A serene and calm lake or pond with its mirror-like surface may inspire you to release, let go, and to become calm and unruffled like the tranquil waters.
I came across this website that lists and explains 23 types of meditation. Try a few of the methods. Perhaps you’ll find that by combining a few and tweaking them a bit, it’ll be the perfect vehicle for your daily silent mediation practice.
Give it a try!
Let me know which of the meditation styles you like. And, please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!