It’s Wednesday again. I am pausing to write and reflect on how self-care continues to open up my life, as I do most Wednesdays. (In case you are ever curious, writing these newsletters helps refocus me as much as they may help any of you out there reading.)
In anticipation of AbunDANCE, the ladies dance party + Thrive DC fundraiser I am co-organizing this Saturday night at St. Stephen’s in Washington, DC, I’m reflecting on the abundance I feel in my life right now.
Let’s summarize: In the past six months, I….
-- got surprise pregnant with a great, great guy, and we both couldn’t be happier about it.
-- led a retreat to an Ayurvedic center in India with a group of eight amazing women where I received excellent prenatal care + necessary advice for my postnatal period.
-- faced failure, dove into vulnerability, and, by what felt like divine grace, filled my spring Self Care 101 program with 20 wonderful women (this session is going so well!).
-- within the first two weeks of looking, found a dream house to rent in the neighborhood we love (and has a fenced in backyard for Poncho!), where we are planning to have a homebirth and raise this little guy for at least his first year of life.
Wow, it’s a lot!
Normally, when I read lists like this from people, I want to envy them or hate them or at the very least, shut down my browser and eat a bag of popcorn. The last thought on my mind is that perhaps I could have all of those wonderful things in my life, too.
I think that obviously, those people are different from me. They had happier childhoods. They have insanely good metabolisms. They don’t have bad hair days.
Yet, I am living to tell this tale, and from within the abundance I am currently receiving, I have a few things to report. My hope is that in sharing them, they might help you feel like an overflow of abundance could happen for you, too.
1. It all feels very imperfect. Due to hormones and my changing body, I’m not sleeping well at night, and so I lay awake often. During this time, I think a bit about what other people think of me. I still get nervous I will say the wrong thing to my boyfriend and he will stop liking me. Or I worry that he will say something that is a dealbreaker for me, and I will have to figure motherhood out on my own.
Most weeks, after I send out this newsletter, I feel all cringey for a while. I’m convinced that I’ve said too much and people won’t like me. The sh*tty voice in my head takes advantage of this vulnerable moment and really digs in with its claws.
My solution to being upset by this voice is to just let it talk as much as it wants. It has its opinions and it’s allowed to express them. The most important thing is that I rarely make decisions based on those negative opinions. Instead, I think about my bravest, most beautiful self, and I make decisions that would make her happy.
I speak openly to my boyfriend about everything I am feeling, even the hard stuff. I hit send on the newsletter and go for a walk outside to soothe myself through the cringey period. Once I feel grounded, I come home and start again.
2. There’s a lot of letting go in the process. So much is being born in my life right now, in both the literal and figurative sense. It’s all so happy and amazing, except when it isn’t.
When it’s not happy and amazing, it’s really sad and hard. That’s because things are dying in my life in order to make space for the new.
So many dear friendships feel different right now. It’s hard to find time for as much social connection. Conversations can feel strained, and people are feeling distant. I’m pulling back into myself, which I know is upsetting some people. My inner people-pleaser is freaking out a lot of the time.
Yet, as much as I hate disappointing other people, I know I am doing the right thing. I am listening to myself more than ever. It actually doesn’t feel like it’s a choice. Rather, a primal force inside of me is forcing me to let go and make space. I follow its lead and feel the grief within the joy.
LIfe is complicated. Emotions are nuanced. Opening to this subtly helps me move through the day-to-day with my self-esteem intact. Denying it makes me suffer even more.
3. Self-care feels pretty much the same. I go to bed each night around 10pm. I drink warm water in the morning upon waking. I spend at least a little time stretching, oftentimes while I’m still in my pajamas. I cook for myself every day, not because I have to but because I enjoy it. The peeling, simmering and kneading calms me down and reminds me that I am loved.
When I am feeling shame or feeling bad about myself in any way, I reach out to people I trust. These people reassure me that yes, I am a perfectly imperfect human being, and yes, I am allowed to struggle in the pursuit of growth. After our talks, I always feel so much better.
I know my self-care will change a lot when I become a mother. It’s already shifted significantly since becoming pregnant (for example, my former no-snacking habit is now snack all the time, with great urgency and glee).
Still, I believe the backbone of my self-care practice will remain the same. I will continue to make little changes and celebrate my progress. I will surround myself with healthy, supportive people. I will work toward gentleness and let myself start anew each day.
And like that, I believe I will keep manifesting a beautiful life. I will continue letting the love in and celebrating the growth of life, as it wants to live itself out through me.
But what I will never do is pretend that it’s easy. Because of this, I will keep telling the truth about how hard it can feel to manage our abundance. This is not because I want to add an extra layer of hardness into life, but because naming a thing can often take away its crippling power.
I want everyone to know that thriving doesn’t have to look or feel perfect. We don’t have to strive so hard for it, or beat ourselves up when it doesn’t happen right away.
The real work is letting down the walls we’ve built, and being willing to love what we find inside. Once we take down the barriers we’ve constructed against life, the happiness naturally rushes in. It cools our feet and lifts a smile upon our faces. There’s nothing to defend in those moments. We just are ourselves, naked, delighted, reborn.
More than anything, I believe this is true. If it’s anything, my life is my testament to the natural flow of goodness that is available to all of us. My guess is your life is, or will be, too (yes, even you).
Just do your best today. Let it hurt where it hurts. Drink your water and let it all go as you are drifting off to sleep. As always, tomorrow will be a new day. You’ll have another beautiful chance. It’s never too late to start again.