Five Self-Care Shifts to Save Our World - Free Training

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Five Self-Care Shifts to Save Our World

Five-Day Free Training

Reimagine Your Self-Care. Take It Beyond the Self.

Do you watch the news and wish you could do more to help the incredibly hard situations in our world?

Would you like to have more challenging conversations around social change but fear messing them up?

Do you know you have something important to say but need support in finding your voice to say it?

Are you ready to step forward?

Are you ready to express what feels true inside of you?

Are you ready to be part of the solution?

Click here to learn more and sign up for the free training! (And please share with others who might also be ready to make a self-care shift!)

Let’s revolutionize your self-care!

How I Wrote My Latest Book, a Conversation with Maria Habib and Erin Segal (aka the "Selfcarefully" Team)

In this episode, I interview designer + illustrator Maria Habib and Erin Segal, creator of Thick Press. Together we make up the team that is creating my upcoming book "Selfcarefully." 

Listen to our conversation to learn how I wrote my book over a series of short train rides, the ways we incorporated self-care into our planning process and our ideas on publishing a book in a revolutionary way. 

Also, get ready to order your copy of "Selfcarefully," which will be available this spring! 

Wednesday Missive: Why it's Ok To Screw Up Your New Year's Resolutions

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Hello Dear Ones,

At the beginning of every new year, I like to pick a word of intention to guide the 12 months ahead.In the past, I’ve chosen words like “love”, “community” and “celebration.”  By focusing on the words, I hope to bring more of these qualities into my life.

However, what usually happens is that by mid-January I feel like I am failing pretty badly at living out that word.  In 2015, I chose “celebration” as my yearly intention.  And oh lady, how I struggled with celebration that year!  I forgot people’s birthdays, whiffed on meaningful presents and underplayed my own milestones.  At the end of the year, I decided that I was just inept at celebration.

But now, three years later, I examine my life and realize that isn’t true. I’m not bad at celebration. Over the past years, I’ve celebrated many things quite beautifully and somewhat effortlessly: Micah’s and my first family Christmas together (our extended family joyously crammed around our too-small kitchen table), buying our first house (eating melty ice cream cones after settlement), and our one year-old’s birthday (a proper luau, complete with handmade leis).  Not only do I enjoy celebration, but I now think of it as an essential form of my self-care.

What I can see now is that at the beginning of the new year, I can’t automatically flip a switch and expect to see change.  Rather, I must spend that year struggling through the hard parts of growth.  I must see where I fall short of living up to my ideals and work patiently to grow in these areas.  I must accept the parts of me that aren’t ready to change. I must ask for and receive support.

Showing up for my own development, even when I can't immediately see results, is quite unglamorous and very humbling.  However, it really does work.  Over time, I’ve changed a lot in my life, although both the process and the results are always more subtle, yet also more meaningful, than I could have previously imagined.

This yearly experience - and learning my own funny, yet effective process of personal growth - has further reinforced the danger of seeing my life through a lens of self-improvement.  Self-improvement, while seeming beneficial, is the idea that I can use my own self-determination to make all the “bad” parts of myself go away.  Self-improvement teaches that if I put my mind to it, I should be able to just fix myself. It urges that I can figure out a way to endlessly excel at life. And if I can’t seem to improve my life right away, it’s because something is wrong with me.

To me, self-improvement is just more perfectionism.  Any mistakes (which are just part of being human, remember?), become proof that I must work even harder to shore up my vulnerabilities. Self-improvement and perfectionism leave me lonely, grasping and feeling like I’ll never catch up.  

Let’s take it bigger.Perfectionism is grounded in oppressive, exclusionary thinking.  This is the same thinking that, when expanded to a societal level, oppresses and exploits our most vulnerable communities.  Poverty is seen as a personal weakness (they should just work harder, right?), and racism is brushed under the rug (because we should already be over that by now, right?).  Because it’s based in delusion, perfectionism robs us of our authentic narrative and thus, any opportunity to mature as a compassionate society and world.

What I now realize is that if I’m still buying into the myth of self-improvement in my own life, and the dangerous perfectionism beneath it, then I am part of our societal problems instead of the solution.  If I can’t honor the strength of my own vulnerability, I will see it as weakness in others.  If I can’t let my own growth process be messy, then I will only criticize other’s attempts to create real change.  If can’t care for the hurting parts of myself, then I will deny support for the parts of our society that are hurting.

We are connected, not only to each other, but from the inside our ourselves to the outside of our world.  As the Buddhist phrase goes: How we do anything is how we do everything.True change does really start within, although it must be then carried out into a meaningful action.

Luckily, for all of us, self-care is different.  Self-care is an a perspective and practice, that when carried out authentically, reminds me that I’m inherently whole and, and despite have many imperfections, very worthy of care.  Self-care tells me that I am a work in progress and that personal growth, because of its inherently up and down nature, is going to be hard.

I've found that when practice authentic self-care, it naturally ripples out into meaningful change in our world. 

So, in 2019, let’s not bring self-improvement thinking into our self-care.  Let’s give ourselves space to mess up royally at whatever we resolve to do.  Let’s make mistakes and backslide. Let’s remind each other that these ups and downs are 100% part of the growth process.  

And then, let's take our self-care beyond the self as way to serve others. 

Are you ready to let go of self-improvement?  Is it time for you to practice more authentic self-care in this new year?  

If so, I have a new self-care training for you!

This January 21-25, 2019, I’m offering a FREE training called Five Self-Care Shifts to Save Our World.  Over five days, I’ll be sharing more of these simple, yet revolutionary personal shifts that will help you become part of the greater societal solution.  

Each day, right in your inbox, I’ll send you a short, yet potent self-care message. These concepts, which have helped hundreds of my clients, have taken me years to learn.  Understanding them will help you unlearn the self-improvement that doesn’t work while inspiring you to implement the authentic self-care that does.  

This training will give you a gentle, yet effective push to uplevel your self-care while dedicating yourself to positive change in your life and beyond.  It will connect you to others who are ready to embrace a much deeper definition of self-care.  Making these changes won’t be easy (real growth never is, remember?), but it will work and it will make your 2019, and all the years that follow, so much richer as a result.

Are you ready?  Let’s go!

Click here to learn more and sign up.  (And please share with others who might also be ready to make a self-care shift!)

Wishing you a week of abundant self-care (with little to no self-improvement)!

With care,
Gracy

PS - Would you prefer to learn a few of these concepts in-person? If so, please join me in February for my Cozy Self-Care Weekend Retreat in West Virginiaor on Sunday, January 20th for my "Communicating Your Self-Care Needs" workshop at The Lemon Collective in Washington, DC. 

Self-Care For Those With Tough Childhoods (Plus, The Last Chance to Preorder "Selfcarefully"!)

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Happy 2019 you all!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and great start to this new year!

First things:

Come on a cozy self-care retreat with me this February in West Virginia and walk away with self-care that will last you the rest of your life! These weekends are so special and I’d love to share the experience with you.

I’m teaching a workshop on communicating your self-care needs (where many of us get stuck in our processes) at The Lemon Collective on January 20th. Hope you can join!

And now, today…

Big news! At the time of sending out this email, we have 18 hours left in our crowdfunding for my upcoming collaborative book “Selfcarefully. In just 30 days, we’ve come together to raise more than $5,000! By buying your copy, you’ve invested in much-needed vision of self-care, one that can help us grow into a more just and equitable society. Thank you, thank you for your support!

If you haven’t gotten your copy, please consider preordering! If you do, you’ll be invited to our virtual book unveiling where our team will discuss what it means to collaborate, what it means to work slowly and why we believe people still value something beautiful that they can hold in their hands. 

Today, I’m sharing the final free selection from “Selfcarefully” on why caring for yourself can also reparent yourself in important ways. In the essay, I discuss what to do if you didn’t have positive self-care role models growing up, and why practicing authentic self-care can have such a powerful effect on your self-esteem. I also touch on why self-care can bring up so many feelings! (Truly, it’s power goes very deep!)

Read the full Self-Care and Reparenting” essay here.

I hope the message from this essay is clear. Even if you had hard experiences before, you have the power to change the abusive or neglectful patterns that you learned. You have the power to take responsibility for your life and forgive those who couldn’t care for you before (even if that means intense boundaries or total detachment). You have the power to become a positive self-care role model for those around you.

Again, if you are moved by these messages from “Selfcarefully,” please donate to our campaign and get your own copy in your mailbox this spring!

Next week, I’ll be back with a few thoughts on New Year’s resolutions and why it’s ok to screw them up year after year.

Until then, please keep taking good care of yourself! You never know whose life you might change in the process.

With care,
Gracy

Self-Care for Those With Tough Childhoods (The Last Selection From My Upcoming Book "Selfcarefully")

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Hello Dearest,

In celebration of my upcoming book, Selfcarefully, I’m sharing five of my favorite sections throughout December into early January. (Read more about how I wrote this book on metro rides and with lots of support here.)

Today is the last one so I wanted to make it special! In the essay, I discuss what to do if you didn’t have positive self-care role models growing up, and why practicing authentic self-care can have such a powerful effect on your self-esteem. I also touch on why self-care can bring up so many feelings! (Truly, it’s power goes very deep!)

I hope the message from this essay is clear. Even if you had hard experiences before, you have the power to change the abusive or neglectful patterns that you learned. You have the power to take responsibility for your life and forgive those who couldn’t care for you before (even if that means intense boundaries or total detachment). You have the power to become a positive self-care role model for those around you.

If you’re learning from and enjoying these reflective self-care missives, please consider preordering your copy of Selfcarefully by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign. We’ve raised more than $5000 with 18 hours left to go! Thank you all so much!

It’s been a pleasure to share “Selfcarefully” with you! I can’t wait to see the places it might go in 2019. I’ll keep you updated along the way and, as always, am so grateful for your support.

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-care and Reparenting Yourself

After working with many women around their self-care, I began to notice a pattern. The women in the course would start to put themselves to bed earlier and wake themselves up with gentle, loving routines, like stretching their bodies or drinking a mug of hot lemon water. Then, a whole flush of emotions would come up about their relationship with their parents. As we worked through these feelings in the program, they began to find a lot of healing and sometimes even forgiveness. I began to realize that these women were reparenting themselves through self-care. 

As I understand it, when we are young, our parents are responsible for all of our bodily and emotional care.  Some of us got the good stuff—the patient, loving, fun parents.  But others—like me—had the parents who were really struggling with their own lives and didn't always have a lot of extra care to give away.  I certainly experienced love and care—but I also remember rushed mornings and conflict-ridden bedtimes.  As an adult, I felt stuck in these patterns, and it seemed so hard to take care of myself, almost like it was wrong. When I finally pushed through the resistance and began caring for myself anyway, I gained more confidence. I realized that I could love myself, regardless of other people’s feelings about me.

And yes, with time, I've even begun to forgive my parents.  I see now that they were just doing the best they could—and that I don’t need to repeat their patterns. Staying angry with them only holds me back from the love and joy I desire in my life.  Growing up means I finally want freedom more than vindication.  This has made my life so much richer on every level. 

I'm always amazed by the healing that self-care opens up. When I see how much self-care helps me open my heart and enjoy my life, I feel inspired to take care of myself, no matter how hard it feels in the moment.

***

Want to read more? Preorder your own copy of Selfcarefully here.

Thoughts on Feeling Lovable (The Next Taste of My Upcoming Book "Selfcarefully")

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Hello Dearest,

In celebration of my upcoming book, Selfcarefully, I’m sharing five of my favorite sections throughout December into early January. (Read more about how I wrote this book on metro rides and with lots of support here.)

Today, I wanted to share one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned through my study of Ayurveda. It has to do with oil and it has to do with feeling lovable, a place that I have often struggled in my life.

Ayurveda practices are centered around oil. During food cleanses you eat ample ghee (clarified butter), and a time of restoration means you get slathered from head to toe in sesame oil. Being oily is a very, very good thing!

There is a reason for Ayurveda’s obsession with lubrication. In ancient Sanskrit, the word for oily is sneha. Sneha not only means rich in oil, but it also means the feeling of love. Yup, for more than 5,000 years Ayurvedic healers have understood that we need the heavy, grounding quality of oil to maintain our feeling of being lovable in the world.

Read the short essay below to learn more. I hope it helps you reclaim the extent of your own lovability (which I promise you is immense!), and gives you permission to eat more yummy butter with less guilt. :)

If you’re learning from and enjoying these reflective self-care missives, please consider preordering your copy of Selfcarefully by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.

Thanks for reading and I’ll look forward to sharing the final sample of the book next week!

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-care and oil

Something that surprised me about Ayurveda was the importance of oil. Oil, oil everywhere! Ayurvedic practitioners recommend that we eat lots of ghee (clarified butter) in order to stay lubricated from brain to joints to colon.  They also recommend daily self-massage with oil. During my first Ayurvedic massage, they slathered me up with sesame oil, including my hair. It was a great big mess! 

But the mess was worth it not just because of the effect on my skin and muscles. It was worth it because, according to Ayurveda, most imbalances, including anxiety and loneliness, originate in the dry, windy quality of vata. In Sanskrit, the oily quality is called sneha, which also means loving. When we feel dried out and alone, getting oily weighs us down a bit and reminds us that we are connected and loved. 

For me, who experienced a lot of loneliness in my childhood, oily food has always been something I crave. When I first tasted ghee, I wanted to eat the whole jar. Although I felt ashamed about it at the time, this is apparently a typical response. We crave the ghee until we fully saturate the dryness. With time, practice, and lots of oil, I have come to crave this quality less. And inside, I experience more sneha, knowing I can love and be loveable in our world. 

***

Want to read more? Preorder your own copy of Selfcarefully here.

Want to Practice Self-Care Without Just Buying More Stuff? Check Out the Next Free Section in My Upcoming Book "Selfcarefully"

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Hello Loves!

It’s been such an exciting December! Over the past couple of weeks, I….

I want to thank you all for your support of Selfcarefully and of my work in general! It’s been an awesome and humbling experience of life to receive so much support in so many ways. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

I’d also like you to know that you can still preorder your copy of Selfcarefully until our crowdfunding campaign ends on January 3rd.

Two reasons you might still do this even though we are officially funded are:

  1. All people who preorder Selfcarefully will be invited to a very special virtual book “unveiling” where the Selfcarefully team will show off the finished copy of the book and share more about our book-making process, which involved lots of self-care like homemade pizza, good conversation and taking breaks when needed. (I want to note that writing this second book has been SO much easier than writing my first book because of this self-care. If you’re considering writing a book, I highly recommend learning more about our process!)

  2. Although the physical copy will not be ready until this spring, you can still give Selfcarefully as a holiday present. Simply preorder your copy and then print out this beautifully-designed certificate. When the book is ready, we’ll contact you to get your loved one’s address. (And yes, I am aware that I am offering this certificate in tandem with an essay critiquing buying stuff as a form of self-care. Alas, although our book could be considered more “stuff,” we hope these ideas extend far beyond the pages into actual people’s lives, work and relationships.)

With that, here is the next essay from Selfcarefully. In it, I discuss how easily we can get confused about our self-care when we try to practice it within a consumerist society. Unless we live off the grid, our lives are bombarded by daily advertising messages telling us that the answer to our problems is to buy more stuff.

And yet, we know in our hearts that real self-care has to go deeper than just things we can purchase. I believer it’s an immense act of self-care to critique the system that tells us we are never enough, and realize that we can be resilient and joyful without buying a single thing.

Read “Self-care and Consumerism” here.

Next week, I’ll share another Boxing Day-section from Selfcarefully. This one touches on something that is both mundane and profound in how it’s affected my life: oil. Tune in next week to read why adding more oil into my self-care routines has helped heal the feeling that I am not lovable (and made my skin so much happier).

Have a wonderful week! And remember that you’re allowed to take care of yourself, even within the most chaotic family moment or during a lonely-feeling holiday. You can drink water, eat food that you love, go to bed early, and politely refuse to participate in a toxic conversation. Trust yourself to take the right action. You know exactly what you need to do.

With care,
Gracy

Self-Care for People Who Don't Want to Buy More Stuff (The Next Section in My New Book "Selfcarefully")

Hello Love!

In celebration of my upcoming book, Selfcarefully, I’m sharing five of my favorite sections throughout December. (Read more about how I wrote this book on metro rides and with lots of support here.)

In this next essay, I discuss how easily we can get confused about our self-care when we try to practice it within a consumerist society. Unless we live off the grid, our lives are bombarded by daily advertising messages telling us that the answer to our problems is to buy more stuff.

And yet, we know in our hearts that real self-care has to go deeper than things we can purchase. I believer it’s an immense act of self-care to critique the system that tells us we are never enough, and realize that we can be resilient and joyful without buying a single thing.

If this message of anti-consumerist self-care resonates with you, please preorder your copy of Selfcarefully by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.

Thanks for reading and I’ll look forward to sharing the next section soon!

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-care and Consumerism 

I often feel confused about how to practice self-care in a culture that equates worth with productivity and buying power. It’s not surprising that my clients and I put too much pressure on ourselves to do more. Nor is it surprising that we buy lots of things that seem like self-care (gym memberships, protein powder, ten different shades of lipstick, etc.)—yet they don’t ever really work.

Consumerism sells the problems and the solutions in one. When I watch commercial TV, I see enticing ads of happy families eating pizza together followed by monthly diet-food subscription plans. They tell us we should be happy all the time (just for the record, no human should be happy all the time), and if we aren’t, there’s something we can buy to make us happier.  When that doesn't work, we buy more and more of both the problems and the solutions.  

Try as we might, it's hard to escape this influence.  The idea that we can buy our way to happiness is woven into our cultural fabric.  Without even realizing it, we've placed time, money, and emotional energy into filling the empty places inside of ourselves with stuff that doesn’t work. We lose faith in ourselves. 

I’ve found that it helps to talk about our self-care struggles in a community.  When we’re honest and vulnerable enough to share our experience of always feeling behind (scarcity!), we see that we aren't alone. What felt like a character defect now feels like a common problem. Bravely, we can support each other to experiment with different solutions—like buying less and listening to ourselves more. We begin to find some real self-care traction (abundance!). 

When we feel like we are failing, we must consider that we live in a culture that profits from us feeling like failures. We can make this influence conscious—and we can consciously choose to practice self-care, anyway.  When enough of us believe that a different way is both possible and necessary, we will begin to create a culture founded on the truth that we are already enough. 

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Want to read more? Preorder your own copy of Selfcarefully here.

Is Change Hard for You? Read the Second Free Section of My New Book "Selfcarefully"

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Hello Dear Ones!

First thing: You’re invited to the cozy winter self-care retreat (you know, the one you’ve been craving)! This February 8-10th, I’m leading a self-care immersion weekend in beautiful Charles Town, WV. I only have a few spots that are not promised to current clients, so please let me know if you want to sign up soon! Learn more here.

And now today…

I hope it’s been a most excellent week of coziness and cheer! This time of year - what I like to call the “holidaze” - can be unsettling to our nervous systems, but it’s also so fun to get unsettled sometimes. Here’s to finding the right balance of settled and unsettled in your life right now!

Personally, I am SO grateful and humbled to report that our crowdfunding for Selfcarefully (the collaborative “selfhelpish” book I’m creating along with Maria Habib and Thick Press) is more than three-quarters funded in just about a week! Wow, thank you all for your generosity! It’s amazing to work as a self-care community to turn this dream into a reality.

Today, I’m back with another essay from Selfcarefully. This self-care essay explores how to take care of ourselves during the transitional moments between seasons. Growing up, I wasn’t taught how to transition gracefully through the seasons. Learning Ayurveda has helped me to stay balanced enough in my health to actually enjoy these changes. I’m so excited to share this self-care knowledge with you!

Read “Self-Care and the Change of Seasons” here.

Learning to transition gracefully between the seasons has helped me during other big life changes as well. Now, when I’m going through a difficult transition, I think of how much nature is strengthen by ongoing change. I take a breath, and remember that this change is building my resilience in the most natural of ways.

If you’re inspired by this message of nature-led self-care, please consider preordering your very own copy of Selfcarefully.

My hope is that this collection of beautifully-illustrated, hand-printed essays will help you develop your own authentic lens of self-care. With this lens intact, I have full faith in your ability to artfully navigate the many changes of your life.

Next week, I’ll be back with another taste of Selfcarefully. I’ll share a few thoughts on how to take care of yourself without feeling like you’re just buying more stuff, i.e. “Self-Care and Consumerism.”

Until then, please know how grateful I am for you. Keep shining, keep enjoying, and keep searching for your balance. Even if you never quite find it, the act of trying to find balance is an act of immense self-care.

With care,
Gracy

Self-Care for Those of Us Who Have a Hard Time with Seasonal Change (The Next Essay in My New Book "Selfcarefully")

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Hello Dear!

In celebration of my upcoming book, Selfcarefully, I’m sharing five of my favorite sections throughout December. (Read more about how I wrote this book on metro rides and with lots of support here.)

This self-care essay explores how to take care of ourselves during the transitional moments between seasons. Growing up, I was never taught how to transition gracefully through the seasons. Learning Ayurveda has helped me to stay balanced enough in my health to actually enjoy these changes. I’m so excited to share this self-care knowledge with you!

If this message of nature-led self-care resonates with you, please preorder your copy of Selfcarefully by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.

Thanks for reading and I’ll look forward to sharing the next section soon!

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-care and The Change of Seasons

As our earth rotates around the sun, nature shifts through the seasons. Depending on where you live, these seasonal fluctuations may be subtle, or they may be dramatic.  Through Ayurveda, I’ve learned the importance of modifying my self-care with the change in seasons.  The easiest way to do this is to eat what is most readily available at the moment.  Living on the East Coast, this usually means grounding root vegetables in the fall, or cleansing green leaves during the spring. When the days are shorter, I take more baths, light candles, and go to sleep earlier. As the days grow longer, I wander more often in nature, delve into creative projects, and stay out later. 

I’ve also learned that the transitions between seasons are important moments for increased self-care. (Aren’t transitions always so vulnerable?) During these times, I like to do a gentle cleanse by eating a simple diet for a little while. Ayurvedic doctors often recommend an exclusive diet of kitchari, a rice and mung dal mixture that has been cooked down to an easily-digestible porridge.  During a cleanse, I do more self-massage and give myself extra downtime. (These are the practices I have access to that work well for me.  They might look very different for others.)

In our one-size-fits-all culture, it can be hard to shift our daily practices with the seasons. We live during a time when strawberries are available year-round from grocery stores and heating and air-conditioning help us escape the elements. Most of us don’t really have to go through the cycles of the year in the same way as generations past.  

This is yet another instance of self-care feeling counter-cultural. Going against the cultural flow and aligning with natural cycles takes energy in the beginning—energy to pay attention to my body; energy to establish a new rhythm; energy to feel my feelings that come with the change.  Once I make the transition, I find that shifting my self-care with the seasons always gives back more energy than it takes.

***

Want to read more? Preorder your own copy of Selfcarefully here.