A Deeper Meaning of Self Care: Testimonial from Arielle M.

Arielle, who was in my pilot group for Self Care 101, was one of the first ladies who showed me the incredible connection between self-care and self-love.  

Listen to the journey of this yoga teacher and working mother and learn her gentle + curious approach to caring for herself and her family. I was buzzing from inspiration after we finished our conversation!

This is part of the ongoing series on self-love and self-care I’m hosting this fall. Listen and learn how to use self-care to stop looking everywhere for love (because you’ve finally found it in yourself).

It's Here! The Next Self Care 101 Starts in January 2018

Hello everyone!  

I can't think of a better time to start our next round of Self Care 101.  This chilly January, we will begin our tenth session of group self-care work.  We'll bring 20 more amazing women into our thriving self-care community.  

This dark winter, we'll work together.  We'll support each other through the hard moments of change. Using this support, we'll finally live the lives we have been craving for so long. 

This will be my first session where I will be a leader and a mother.  Becoming a mother has not only been a lot of wonky sleep, changing diapers and baby soothing. It's also been a huge identity shift for me.  Although I have spent the past 11 weeks caring for a baby, I still feel way more like the single lady business woman I was than the mama I am becoming.  

In my hardest moments, self-care is what brings me back to myself and whispers that I am strong enough to weather this change. 

I believe I can change because I have seen my clients do it so often.  I've watched over 200 women go through Self Care 101.  After finishing the course, these ladies have taken promotions, changed cities, started nonprofits, and become leaders in their own lives. They have transformed into the women they've always dreamed they could be. 

Along the way, I've watched women support each other through the ups and downs of transformation. Tears need to be cried, stories must be told, and healing has to be witnessed.  We can no longer go it alone. 

This kind of change has to be done in a community.  In order to truly transform, we must know that we truly belong.  This is the deepest self-care that I know. 

***

In this self-care work, I talk to so many women who feel stuck in their lives.  They don't like their jobs.  They aren't sure if they want to start families or are nervous to care for ill parents.  They feel like their health is slipping away from them but aren't sure how to feel better. 

These women work hard to be their best.  Yet, so many of them aren't in touch with what they really want in their lives.  They are still trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of their own joy.   

They are trying to do it all perfectly but still feel like failures.  They are exhausted and not sure what to do next.  

***

Does this sound like you?  If, so there is real relief.  Your breakthrough truly isn't far away. I'd like to help you get there. 

This winter, I am leading a ten week habit change program designed to help you build a life based on real self-care.  A group of 20 women will journey together, share their stories and help each other create the lives of their dreams.

Along the way, you will learn inspired self-care and how to insert it into your overly busy life.  Yes, even you can do it.  Really, truly, absolutely. 

After taking over 200 women through this program, I can attest to how much it works. Yet it's best to hear it from my someone who has gone through the experience. (Listen to Erin B.'s amazing journey here). 

Would you like to join this next group?  It starts on January 7th and goes through March 11th.  Together, we will move through the darkness of winter and learn the self-care habits to give us an inspired spring.  

We'll learn to replace our perfectionism with imperfect, yet powerful steps in the right direction.  We will learn the true spirit of generosity - how to be nicer to ourselves and trust our instincts.  We will make some amazing friends along the way. 

For this round, I am looking for people who are really ready to get unstuck and finally create the lives of their dreams. 

Could that be you? Are you ready to go? If you are saying "yes!" inside, then this is your moment.  

***

To learn more, please fill out this application, schedule a free 30 minute chat with me and we can see if it would be a good fit for both of us.  Of course, there is no obligation to sign up if we talk.  Sometimes the conversation will plant important seeds for the future.

If it’s not right for you then I’m guessing you know someone who needs a clear pathway to greater self care.  Please pass this along to that person.  You never know whose life you can change.

To make real change, we must dig deeper into what we want and examine why we are so afraid to get it.  We must find real self-care skills to carry us along the journey and a community to support us through the hard parts.  

Please know that you deserve it 100% - the self-care, the support, the life of your dreams.  Realizing that is what creates all the magic of this world. 

Achieving Your Big Dreams Through Self-Care: A Testimonial From Erin B.

Years ago, my good friend Erin B. signed up for Self Care 101 to help her achieve a very big life dream. Years later she made it a reality (yay!), although the path to her goal had way more ups and downs than she could even imagine. Learn more about her dream, how she made it happen in the midst of big life challenges and the self-care skills that helped her along the way. 

The Connection Between Self-Care And Self-Love

When I first created my self-care programs, I was still operating from perfectionism and thus suffering inside. Then my clients taught me the real definition of self-care: self-love.  

In this podcast, I explain how my clients breakthroughs changed my perspective on real self-care. Plus, I reveal the upcoming fall series of self-love podcasts with interviews from those very clients! 

Self-Care For When You've Been Ghosted

Last month, someone close to me shared how a budding romantic relationship had ended.  Her last partner passed away a few years ago and she recently decided to dip her toes into online dating.  Right away, she met a guy who she really liked and who told her that he liked her back.  They ate food together and laughed a lot.  She felt chemistry - it was really exciting!

Then, after more dates than you can count on one hand and a few weeks of texting multiple times a day, he just never responded to her last text.  When she inquired if he was ok, he never wrote back to that.

Just silence….

Of course, he could have been in a horrible accident-induced coma.  However, most likely, my dear loved one got ghosted.

When she told me, I got so angry.  I was angry for her and for the times I had been ghosted.  I remembered a similar experience when I was fresh out of the Peace Corps.  I had been dating a guy for over a month and thought it was going well.  My impression was that he felt the same way, too.  He let me borrow a sweatshirt and convinced me to take his lucky Gumby doll home. It smelled a bit like a relationship.

Then after I went out of town for a weekend, he stopped calling me.  Because I am proud, I waited two weeks before getting in touch.  When I asked him what happened, he sheepishly apologized about the pause and admitted that he didn’t think we were compatible.  

Despite my anger, I knew that I wasn’t innocent.  From early on in my romantic relationships, I have ghosted people, too. It wasn’t that I wanted to leave them hanging.  Rather, I just didn’t know how to express that I didn’t see our dates turning into a relationship, or really didn’t want to hang out anymore.  

Mostly, I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.  So I avoided responding to a message for a few hours, which turned into a few days, which eventually turned into never.  It wasn’t my intention to disappear, but my nonaction turned into exactly that.

The root cause of why we ghost probably comes from a fear of disappointing people.  It’s painful to be broken up with or told we are no longer desirable. However, from experience, we know how much more being ghosted hurts than the pain of someone being direct with us.

Direct rejection may sting in the moment, but at least we are able to heal from it.  With ghosting, we may forever wonder what happened and keep pining for the good moments.  It triggers old, often inexplicable wounds of abandonment that can fester for a good long time.

Being ghosted often might give us the message that we aren’t worthy of communication.  We wonder if we are tragically flawed. This makes us terrified of opening ourselves up in our next relationship.  If we never open up, we never get to experience true intimacy (which is an essential part of having the healthy relationship we are craving).

What’s scary is how much ghosting has become part of our culture.  With our swipe-happy fingers, we can easily dehumanize the people who come into our lives.  If we don’t like one, we just have to try another and another and another….until we meet the perfect one who satisfies all of our needs.  (Hint: Sadly, this person doesn’t exist. Even people we like are deeply imperfect, and staying in a relationship with them can require a lot of work.)

If culturally we think ghosting is a decent way to interact with each other, it might just enforce the message that people are a commodity that exists to serve us.  Not only is this a super dangerous justification that has helped people engage in immoral practices such as slavery, it also makes us feel empty on the inside.  We wonder why we are still so alone when we have so many options.  We withdraw deeper and deeper into ourselves and get lost in a sea of shame.

Yikes, that’s a bleak picture!  So what do we do?  How can we work with ghosting when it happens to us or we catch ourselves doing it to others?

My idea is to practice very intentional self-care around ghosting, perhaps starting with these internal scripts...

Self-Care Script for the Ghosted:

“Wow, I just got ghosted!  How rude!  First, even if every part of my brain is telling me differently, I truly know this has nothing to do with me. That person must really be afraid of something to not get back in touch with me.  I’m so lucky to have dodged the bullet and didn’t begin a dysfunctional relationship with this person.But ugh, it still really hurts.  It’s allowed to hurt.  It’s hurtful when I begin to open myself up to someone and then they pull away.  This could be triggering abandonment issues from way back when.  I’ll dig into that with my therapist when I see her next. But before that, I’m just going to breathe with my hurt for a little while.  It’s tender and needs a little TLC.  Then I’m going to call my friend who gets me. I’ll ask her to repeat my great qualities and share her own ghosting experiences.  This sucks, but I’m going to feel this, take care of myself and emerge stronger, because that is who I am.”

 

Self-Care Script for Those Who Are Ghosting:

 

“Hmm...it’s been a few days since I responded to that text.  I guess I’m really not that interested.  I think I’ve been avoiding writing back because I am afraid to end it.  I don’t want to hurt anyone and I’m not sure how to say what I feel.  But you know what?  It’s probably hurting this person more because I’m ghosting. I don’t want that. Ok, this is hard and I’ll do it imperfectly but I’m going to write back.  I’m going to be direct and kind.  I’ll say that our relationship is no longer working for me.  If I feel safe enough to say why, I will, and if it doesn’t seem like a good idea, I won’t.  I’ll end by saying thank you for the time spent together and wish them the very best.  If they respond with a mean message, I’ll know there are other  issues.  Ok, I did it, and I feel strangely sad.  Did I do the right thing? Deep breaths.   Yeah, it was right.  It’s just sad to end things, even if it’s for the best. I’ll just feel sad and take myself out to the movies. Then I’ll call a friend who will help me see that I’ve done a healthy thing.  I actually feel pretty good about how I handled that.  I’m acting like the person I want to be.”

***

Of course, edit these scripts so they fit your voice.  Repeat them over and over so they drown out the sh*tty voice in your head that wants you to feel like the worst person in the world.

Don’t worry if you wake up the next morning still feeling guilty for having ended it cleanly or bad that someone you liked never called you back.  Relationships touch us in such a sensitive spot.  There is no “off” switch to make these feelings stop.  This may be one of the hardest and most beautiful parts of being human.

Remember that you have the power to care for yourself during these tough spots of transition.  Self-care means living with integrity and not taking on other people’s issues as your own.  Working consciously through the experience of ghosting will help you in both arenas.  

Believing in the inherent worth of yourself and others is not easy work, especially in a culture that wants to convince us otherwise.  Everything that has value is usually an uphill climb.  Luckily, we have the power to remember this and the energy to keep going.

Grateful for Loneliness

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Baby carrying is essential! After weeks of healing from the birth, I notice myself getting more itchy to be outdoors. Jonah’s nervous system is also stronger and he seems like to like being out too (he’s so curious!).

Another layer is that so far, this moment of motherhood is kind of lonely. Although he has wrangled his paternity leave to have four day weekends until the end of the year, the days that Micah is back at work are hard. Jonah needs quiet to nap but too much laying in bed makes me feel off and disconnected from the world.

It’s funny, when I was single and having my lonely moments, I assumed motherhood would be the escape from any inkling of isolation. I’d say half of the time that’s true - there’s just so much contact in motherhood - and the other half I feel real separation. This is about the split I’ve felt my whole life (perhaps we all do?). Why would this phase feel any different?

What I know now is that it’s futile to escape lonely feelings. They are built into the human experience and I think have real value. When I stop desperately trying to escape them and instead meet them with awareness, they really do soften my heart. I so need this genuine compassion to navigate motherhood, so yeah I’ll say I’m grateful for loneliness too.

Why You Haven’t Heard From Me in a Spell

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that my weekly Wednesday emails haven’t shown up in your inbox for a few weeks.

This is because I decided to dial everything back a bit for October. These early days of motherhood are so awesome and so very challenging. Although I love my work and get lots of energy from writing these messages, they were still another moving part of life.

My main form of self-care these days is simplification. I’m always asking how I can make life easier and expend less energy. 

Answers, like taking a pause from writing for a few Wednesdays, come forth. It takes discipline to listen to them but when I do, I can feel the benefit almost immediately.

When I chose to rest, my mind switched into idea mode. As I nursed and soothed and played with Jonah, I began dreaming about the next iteration of this newsletter. Taking a break from doing so much helped me to gain a bit of vision for the future of Beautiful Life Self Care.

Next week this newsletter will look different. I’ll keep the same honest self-care storytelling that I’ve shared over the years, but I’ll be adding in more concrete tools and resources to help guide your journey.

It will have more elements of celebration and fun. I’ll share articles and podcasts that help me deepen my perspective on self-care. 

This newsletter will be a place to recharge, regroup and get inspired again on how to authentically take care of yourself. 

More than ever, we need these reminders in our culture (I need them and this is my job!). I remain committed to sharing them and to relishing the joy this conversation brings.

Stay tuned next week for a new phase of Wednesday self-care love. Until then, be good to yourselves and perhaps think of one thing you can take off your plate. 

As challenging as simplifying is, it might just be the thing you need to get that updated vision of your own beautiful life.

Labor of Love

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Jonah is such a happy baby...sometimes. 

I’ve definitely learned to read his signals which has decreased a lot of his fussiness. Still he has his days and particularly his evenings. 

Especially when he hasn’t napped well, he can completely lose it at night - full body shrieking with actual tears coming out of his eyes. It’s so incredibly hard to stay steady in these moments. 

Yesterday was really hard. I tried all day to calm him and when that didn’t work, to calm myself. I used all my normal feel-better tricks but I couldn’t get a foothold out. 

Overwhelmed, I remembered some sage advice for the spiritual path (can’t remember from whom) - “when you’re down, just stay down.” 

Instead of always working to feel great and feeling bad when I can’t, could I just work with the hardness? Could I laugh within it? Could I take care of myself there? Could I use the humility to actually become softer and kinder? 

Regardless if we are parents, I think these are important self-care skills to practice in our dominant culture that glorifies success. We use our perfectionism to pretend we shouldn’t have bad days and then use it as an excuse for self-destructive behavior. We need to punish ourselves for failure, right?

The truth is that we are all struggling in our own ways. It’s healthy and a normal part of growth. The more we can keep this in mind, the more we can flow with the ups and downs and support each other along the way. Perhaps we can even enjoy the miracle of being alive within it all.

Staying Present

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Becoming a mom is teaching me a lot about staying present. Jonah is so full of life with emotions that change from moment to moment. I feel so connected to him and treasure our time together. 

And yet, I also want to look at my phone all the time. Get this: sometimes I want to take a pause from our in-person interaction so I can look at photos of him. Kinda crazy right? 

I think of this as a cultural affliction rather than a personal problem. We haven't been taught how to deal with the intimacy of the present moment, even though I think we are all craving it so much. 

This affects all our relationships, particularly with ourselves. It's the most basic and often the hardest layer of self-care - just being with what is without trying to change it. 

For me, staying present is a practice. I feel how much I want to be there with Jonah AND how much I want to look at my phone. I breathe and giggle at the situation. 

Sometimes I look at my phone still and try to relish the escapism. 

Other times I put my phone down and gaze deeper into my babe's eyes. He's looking back at me. He sees me. He's teaching me so much about myself.
 

A few thoughts on guilt (and motherhood)

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I admit that guilt is a feeling I've experienced often in my life. 

I want everyone to be happy (and to be more honest, I want to escape conflict). This is impossible but some part of me still magically expects that I could and thus I feel guilty when I can't show up perfectly. 

After working with so many clients, I know I'm not alone. We are letting guilt rule our lives! Becoming a mother has intensified all this. 

This little guy needs me so often. I am his food source and even when he's not hungry, my boobs are still the place he turns for comfort (this is called non-nutritive sucking and no, he will not accept a pacifier so far). Sometimes I just can't anymore and I feel so guilty to hear him cry. 

I realized that I was putting more pressure on myself to let go of guilt. My idealized self always feels confident and is taking motherhood in stride.

My real self is riding the ups and downs, can sometimes see through guilt and sometimes feels like she's drowning in it. 

Somehow accepting this truth and taking perfect off the table makes it all easier. With this, I'll keep going, thriving one moment and struggling the next. 

Mostly I'll realize that I'm not alone in being a real deal human being who keeps learning a whole lot about life.