A Radiant Beginning - a Motherhood Self-Care Immersion, 4/1 to 5/26

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A Radiant Beginning - an Eight-Week Motherhood Self-Care Immersion

What self-care helps you find a workable, enjoyable experience of motherhood?

Or, are you struggling to even know what self-care means right now?

How do you know the balance between caring for yourself and caring for others?

Or, do you usually feel tipped way in one direction and it's wearing you down? 

Are you able to tell yourself an empowering narrative about being (or becoming) a mother? 

Or, does even thinking about your motherhood journey feel stressful or disappointing? 

For those of you who are struggling, I want you to know you're not alone. This mothering work is HARD, by far the hardest work I've ever done. We mother without important support from our government and often, without support from our extended families. Even with a strong emphasis on my self-care, I still feel at my personal limit most days.

For you who are struggling, you can get support. For you, I've created a new motherhood self-care program which will debut on April 1st. It's called A Radiant Beginning. 

With A Radiant Beginning, I will help you transform your experience of motherhood. Ten mothers will join together in a small, intimate circle of support for eight weeks of in-depth self-care training and support. Some of these women will be preparing for childbirth and others will already be in the throws of caring for young children. Together, we'll learn the self-care that we need to not only survive this period of life, but to thrive as mothers and women.  

Because, it's only when we're thriving ourselves that we are able to inspire our children and our families to thrive for themselves. We teach, not with our words, but by our example. When we practice excellent self-care for ourselves, we will teach others how to do the same. (And we get to enjoy the whole process!)

Are you interested in finding this kind of mama-specific self-care support for yourself? Are you ready to transform your experience of motherhood into one of true self-care and real joy?

This April 1st through May 26th, consider joining a motherhood self-care immersion to help you deepen and enjoy your experience of motherhood through the power of self-care. 

Click here to learn more about A Radiant Beginning!

Adulting and Other Creative Acts with Life Coach Helen McLaughlin

Are the little things in life - the errands and chores - burning you out? How can we make the everyday stresses of "adulting" a creative act? During this episode, I speak with creativity-focused life coach Helen McLaughlin about ways to bring more self-care and joy into the seemingly never-ending to-do list of being a responsible adult. 

In our conversation, we discuss our views on this recent article about the "burnout generation", ways to bring more creativity into a 40 hour work week, and why it's so important create joy out of the monotonous acts of parenting. 

To learn more about Helen's work, visit helenmclaughlin.com and sign up for her weekly newsletter: helenmclaughlin.com/theinsiders. Also, she's on Instagram at @wonderinghelen  On the second Friday of every month, Helen hosts a free co-working event called Get It Done Day. They've been going strong since November 2017! Folks need only to register (at that link above) and then show up with a handful of their most dreaded tasks, or those things they've just avoided doing for too long. Together, we get our stuff done...and have some fun in the process.

Wednesday Missive: Can Mothers and Non-Mothers Come Together in Self-Care?

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Hello Dears,

First thing: After my last email, The Sexiness of Self-Care, my brilliant LGTBQ-sensitive therapist friend Huong emailed me to say the best practice for supporting the non-gender binary and trans community is instead of sharing your “preferred pronouns” just say “pronouns.” Huong wrote: “The feedback I’ve gotten from the trans community is that using “preferred” makes it seem like gender is a choice and preference. The example I hear is: “I prefer Sprite over 7up,” but I don’t prefer to be a woman. I am a woman.” Thank you Huong!

And now today....

In my early 30’s, my then-boyfriend and I decided to end our relationship. After three years of dating and a year of living together, we knew enough to know that although we both really cared about each other, we weren’t going to do well as life partners.

He moved his things out of our apartment and I began my next few years as a single person. Part of this new life meant watching most of my friends partner off and have children. At this point, I felt ambivalent about having kids. Although I had always imagined myself becoming a mother eventually, starting my business felt way more exciting than the idea of being pregnant.

But despite this ambivalence, as a non-mother, I did feel left out. Although my friends always did a great job of including me in social events and asking about my life, I started feeling more and more separate. My dating stories didn’t seem to hold up to their birth stories. My problem of an overpacked travel schedule felt insignificant when compared to their struggles to balance work and family.

The more I denied my story in their presence, the more I felt like my life was fading to the edges of the cultural narrative. I didn’t like this feeling, but also I didn’t know how to change it.

Then, by a twist of fate and some faulty fertility awareness, I got pregnant. (Long story short: My now-partner Micah and I got accidentally pregnant after two months of dating and decided to say “yes!” to parenting together. Now that our son Jonah is 18 months old, I can assuredly say that I’ve never made a better decision.)

As a mother, the view is different on this side of the river. Many of my assumptions about motherhood were correct. Yes, it’s truly a challenge to balance my work, my family, and my self-care. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot, and I’ve needed to talk about those sacrifices along the way. Also, my birth story feels incredibly powerful and I want to share it with the world.

And yet, what I couldn’t see as a non-mother, is how isolating motherhood can feel. Yes, I am checking off the societal boxes, but within having that cultural approval, I still feel like my life is fading to the edges of the cultural narrative. Jonah is at an age where he is not easy to travel with. Staying home cuts me off from the world, but it also feels like the best choice for our family most of the time. I say “no” to so many social invitations that I get afraid people will stop inviting me.

Within this struggle, I also see how easy it is to separate myself from my non-mother friends. I assume that they might not want to hear about my sleep training stresses, and I can get jealous about how much time they can invest in their careers and their self-care. It takes a lot of active consciousness for me to remember how I wanted to wall myself off in a similar way before I became a mother.

As women, I think we have the habit of dividing ourselves into two camps: mothers and non-mothers. It’s very easy to romanticize or demonize the other side and begin to feel excluded. These divides seem to deepen as we get older and our lives are further formed by the realities of whether or not we became parents.

I’m having this realization at the same time that I’ve seen a few articles unpacking the many challenges of modern motherhood in the United States. (Check this one out.) These articles discuss how difficult it is to raise a family under a government that offers the bare minimum of parental leave after the birth of a child and continues that negligence by refusing to help in our daycare costs and so many of our medical expenses. Taking time off to care for sick children, at best, hurts the parent’s career, and at worst, means going without other necessities like medicine or food.

These articles propose that under these immense financial strains, mothers are baring more than their brunt of the pressure. We are the ones who are societally expected to be full-time caregivers, and yet many of us must also financially provide for our families. And despite all this work, when things go wrong, mothers are quick to be blamed and/or to blame ourselves.

Although mothers are most affected by it, I really believe that the lack of governmental support for families hurts us all.*** When the well-being of children is compromised, everyone’s physical, mental, and spiritual health suffers. We all lose out when the quality of our schools decline or when children do not receive the nutrition, medical care, and daily attention from caring adults that they need to thrive. As mothers struggle to care for their loved ones within a system that refuses to care for the well-being of families, we all suffer as a society.

(***I want to speak about privilege for a moment. As a white cisgender mother with the support of a white cisgender male partner, I have so many privileges that help me and my family. This privilege means that I need to speak out about how incredibly tough our current set-up is for mothers and families. If me and my college-educated, professional-job-working friends are reporting such high levels of stress, then you know even tougher problems are rolling downhill to those who are struggling for a minimum quality of existence for their families.)

So, amazing women out there, I have a message for us. I know that we all want to live in a world where the next generation is full of energy, empathy and creative inspiration. If we are ever go to change our culture—which most definitely affects all of us—we must support each other in raising our families well. To do this, it’s time to come together in a new way. We need each other so much right now!

Here are a few things we can do to come together as women and begin changing our culture:

  1. Talk about the places you’re struggling. We suffer most when we think other people have it figured out better than us. We imagine that life would feel manageable if we could just be a little more like that kid’s mother whose hair always looks great and and shows up on time for school events. Or we hear about a single friend’s trip to Thailand and get jealous about the freedom she has to live her life. Or we think everything would be great if we could just meet our dream partner and finally have kids. From talking to a lot of women, I know we all have times when we feel ambivalent about the choices we’ve made. Sharing more openly about these struggles helps others know that there is no perfect life choice. By telling the truth, we begin to understand that although we have a lot to appreciate about our lives, it’s normal to feel like we are missing out on some level.

  2. Ask for help. If you are a non-mother and feeling lonely in your life, call up one of your mother friends. Chances are that, despite other beings depending on her to get their needs met, your mother friend is also feeling disconnected. Hold her baby while she makes tea. Drink the tea while you talk about how tough and wonderful life can be. Mothers, this goes for you too. When you are having a bad day, call up one of your non-mother friends and ask her to help take care of you. We all want to feel needed, within reason, and sometimes asking for help is the gift that makes another person feel better.

  3. Refuse to internalize. When life is feeling like too much, notice what your brain begins to do. Do you start beating yourself up for not being able to find work/life balance? Do you think of every wrong decision you’ve made in relationships along the way? Understand that although there is a lot of personal responsibility we can take in our lives, if you are doing your best and it still feels really hard, it might be because you are getting set up to fail by dominant culture. Don’t get angry at yourself. Get angry at the powers that be. Talk to your mother friends and your non-mother friends and get fired up together. I truly believe our collective anger as women will set us free.

  4. Advocate for yourself and others. You can advocate in so many different ways. Instead of sneaking out of the office to grab your kids from daycare, announce loudly that you’re off to get the little ones. Caring well for our children makes us better professionals and we have no need to hide this. Watch out for other women, too. If another woman in your office is just back from maternity leave, check in on how she is doing. Get her a cookie (nursing/pumping makes you ravenous), and ask her if she feels comfortable pumping at work. If not, approach HR about making a more comfortable pumping space. She may not have the emotional energy to advocate for herself in this tender time of transition. Mothers, encourage your non-mother co-workers to shut down their computers at a reasonable time. Even if they technically don’t have to leave to pick someone else up, they need to tend to their post-work lives. Sometimes it’s helpful to be gently reminded to take time for ourselves.

  5. Relish your self-care. In a society where we are taught that our productivity equals our worth, self-care doesn’t have a real place. By consciously practicing self-care anyway, and seeing how much it helps everyone around us, we begin to create a society that honors and cares for all people.

With this, I really want to invite all of us - mothers and non-mothers alike (and men too!) - to “The Self-Care of Early Motherhood,” a free call I am hosting on Friday, March 8th from 3 to 4pm ET, (also International Women’s Day!).

During this call, I’m going to share the self-care that kept me grounded and sane during my first year of motherhood. I’m also going to share what I wished I had known about early motherhood as a non-mother, so that I could have supported my new mother friends in the way that so many people supported me. I’ll offer a family-friendly framework that will help us all find more connection and joy in our lives, regardless of our realities around parenting.

Sign up for the call here!

Truly, this call is for everyone and I hope you can join! Please invite your friends too.

***

Culture changes, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. I sense we are on the brink of some big cultural changes that will make life easier for mothers, which will make life easier for all women (and men, too!).

This change starts with us. It starts with getting and giving support. When we have the support we need to fully own our stories as women, we gain the power to lift ourselves out from the edges of the cultural narrative.

Together, as mothers and non-mothers, we can create a new story that honors the many incredible ways we care for ourselves and others, every single day. This new story will guide us as we continue creating the world that we really want to hand over to the next generation.

With care,
Gracy

Wednesday Missive: The Sexiness of Self-Love

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Hello Dears,

I hope you’ve had a great couple of weeks! You may have noticed that I didn’t show up in your inbox last Wednesday. This is because I’m shifting to an every-other-Wednesday email routine. This change may be temporary or it may last for a good long while. I appreciate your patience as I change up our rhythm!

With that, I have a quick announcement to make. On Friday, March 8th, from 3 to 4pm ET, I’m leading a free call on the Self-Care of Early Motherhood. As Jonah is about to turn 18 months, I’m finally ready to talk more formally about the ways I’ve navigated my self-care during early motherhood. I’m so excited to share the self-care that sustained me through this tender, transformational time and help us all do our best to support new mothers!

Interested in joining the call? Please sign up here.

With that, I’m focusing today on the self-care of feeling sexy in oneself. This topic has been brewing for a while in my mind, but came into sharper focus last week when a reporter for Oprah Magazine emailed me to ask if I would be a source in an article she was writing on self-care.

I wrote her back immediately and said of course. I mean, it’s Oprah! She replied with a few question prompts and mentioned that her article was on masturbation as a form of self-care.

Reading this, I sat back. My excitement shifted to a slight tinge of discomfort. It’s not that I don’t believe in masturbation as a form of self-care (it’s a go-to energizing self-care practice for me), it’s more that I didn’t see myself as someone who could hold any kind of authority when it comes to talking about sex.

Despite enjoying sex, I still have a hard time seeing myself as a sexual being. Sexual beings lounge around in silk underwear or have drawers full of kinky toys. As a feminine-leaning hetero, cisgender white woman, I feel pretty vanilla when it comes to most things, including sex. I buy packs of cotton underwear because I’ve heard it’s better for vaginal health. I own exactly one vibrator. I dig monogamy. I don’t really enjoy watching porn.

I want to stress that I don’t do these things because I think there is anything wrong with them. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. Role-playing and polyamory seem like glamorous forms of sexual self-care when other people tell me about them. But the truth is that they just aren’t me.

During this moment of sexual exploration and the expansion of our sexual norms, it’s hard for me not to feel repressed and/or boring. And yet, the same way someone can’t turn off their authentic sexual attractions, I can’t change the fact that my inclinations pretty match up with the prescribed norms.

It’s important to recognize that my culturally-approved sexual identity affords me a lot of privileges in society. I try to stay aware of this power and use it to create social change.

(With this, have you added your pronouns to your email signature yet? This is a simple way to help all non-cisgender people normalize their sharing of their preferred pronouns. It’s super easy. Do it today! Example: Gracy Obuchowicz, preferred pronouns: she/her/hers.)

So, yeah. That’s me. I’m pretty vanilla, and this blandness was why I was shrinking back not just from the reporter’s questions, but from feeling like I have any authority to talk or teach about sexual self-care in general.

Still conflicted, I decided to answer the Oprah reporter’s questions, as well as put her in touch with another client of mine (the amazing Reba the Diva) who does wonderful sex education work. I figured after the reporter read my answers, she just wouldn’t include anything I said.  

But I was wrong! This weekend, a friend sent me the full article which is pretty amazing and has my endorsement for masturbation as a form of self-care. Check it out here.

The next day, I brought all this up with my amazing therapist and she asked me to consider that perhaps I am a sexual authority. She prompted me to explore how my vanilla-sex-enjoying, cotton-underwear-wearing self could be its own kind of powerful sexual being. Then, we discussed how others out there might relate to feeling pretty boring and yet still authentic when it comes to sex these days.

I left our session wanting to say more, especially as we approached Valentine’s Day, with its outward focus on giving and receiving love. I always want to make sure we’re including self-love in the conversation, as self-love feels like both the path to and a final goal of a self-care practice.

This year, I’m realizing that I don’t think I can practice authentic self-love if I’m not working to accept who I am sexually. Our sexuality is an extremely personal and vulnerable layer of our sense of selves. If we’re holding back because we think something is wrong with our inclinations or that we have to be like someone else to be considered “sexy,” I don’t think we are practicing authentic self-love.

So today, with as much sexual authority as I can muster, I’m here to say:

You’re sexy if you’re into whips and chains.
You’re sexy if you like the missionary position.
You’re sexy if you have a husband and a girlfriend.
You’re sexy if you’ve been sleeping with one other person for decades.
You’re sexy if you love being single.
You’re sexy if you’re frustrated about being single.
You’re sexy when you masturbate alone.
You’re sexy when you masturbate with others.
You’re sexy when you ask for more intimacy.
You’re sexy when you recognize that you don’t enjoy physical touch.
You’re sexy if you don’t know what you want and just feel confused about sex.
You’re sexy when you let your inclinations change with experience and time (as mine might!).

As long as your sexual inclinations are not hurting or exploiting another person without their consent, they’re pretty alright in my book.

Taking it further, how might embracing ourselves as sexy, exactly as we are, help us save our world? Well, if we can’t embrace our sexual realities and authentic desires as sexy, then we are probably operating from a framework of sexual shame.

At it’s best, this kind of chronic shame will make us shy away from meaningful intimacy and the chance to be accepted for our authentic selves. At worst, we will judge others for their sexual choices or perhaps event resort to violence as a way to diffuse the poisonous energy of shame. The man who murdered two women at the Tallahassee yoga studio was part of an online community of men that blame women for not having sex with them.

When we feel good about ourselves sexually, chances are that we’re feeling good about almost every other aspect of our being. Getting the support we need to understand and accept our sexuality is a supremely good investment, not just for our own self-care but for that of our world.

So my dear ones, this is your assignment: Take a sexual inventory of how you most authentically show up sexually in your life. Breathe as you do this. Then, see if you can slap a big glittery sticker that says “Sexy as Hell” on top of whatever you find. If you can’t slap that sticker on, consider getting compassionate professional support until you can. After, take all this sexy self-acceptance into world. Spread your own self-love as kindness wherever you go and see how much others need this balm.

With that, all you sexy beasts, have an an amazing Valentine’s Day! Be yourself, love yourself, and share all that beauty with our world!

With care,
Gracy

The Beautiful Life Collective - a self-care community of amazing women

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The Beautiful Life Collective

A Cooperative of Women Leaders Caring for Themselves So They Can Care for The World
 

What Is The Collective?

A self-care community providing inspiration, accountability, resources, and the opportunity to invest in your most important asset: your ability to care for yourself, other people and the world as a whole.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”  - E.B. White

 

The Beautiful Life Collective is For You if…

  • You need help setting boundaries so you can establish a true feeling of balance in all parts of your life.

  • You value learning within a community and would like to tap into more meaningful conversation about self-care.

  • You know that in order to feel successful, you have to surround yourself with other amazing women who are taking risks in their lives while upleveling their self-care.

  • You know that caring for yourself without caring for the world and examining power and privilege is incomplete.

  • You feel compelled to change the status quo, but need more support and inspiration when it comes to taking action.

  • You want to show up as the gracious, effective manager/parent/leader that you know you truly are (but need adequate support to become).

In The Beautiful Life Collective, we see serving others as an essential form of self-care and understand that the only way to show up for others consistently is to show up for our self-care. Authentically caring for ourselves, working compassionately with our fears, and being part of a supportive community is the recipe to equip us to create change we know is possible in our lives and in broader cultural issues.  

I advocate that every woman be a part of a circle … a group of people, women - smart, wise, can-do women - who are in the world doing their work, and you need to meet with them as often as you can, so that they can see what you’re doing, and who you are, and you can see the same. …. It is crucial for our psychological health and our spiritual growth – it’s essential.  - Alice Walker

***

Are You Ready to Learn the Self-Care that Truly Works?  

Our membership is open from June 15th through June 21, 2019. After that, we close our doors and bond as a self-care community!

Click the link below to hear the many ways joining the Beautiful Life Collective will make your life feel both more filled with ease and richer with purpose.

Join a community that cheers you on while offering you the invaluable feedback that helps you grow.

Learn the authentic self-care that will not only transform your life, but will give you the real leadership skills to help those around you.

Tap into the self-care that will change our world.

Get ready for a whole new kind of self-care…

How Hard Can It Be?

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I feel like I haven’t written directly about motherhood for a while now. That’s probably because I’m in this phase that’s intense in a way that’s hard to even talk about.

Jonah’s almost 17 months old and is most definitely not a baby anymore. He walks on his own, quite well, and has slept through the night for almost seven months (praise be!). He know animals sounds and can point to his nose and his ears. He gives hugs and has a really well developed sense of humor (with a preference for physical comedy).

He also needs a lot from me! He wants to be lifted up high to see what I’m cooking and helped down from every last piece of furniture he climbs up. He falls, and then cries, so many times a day. He eats two bites of the food I make and then throws the rest on floor and then will only eat cheddar bunnies (please tell me this is just a phase?). He’s adorable and he’s consuming.

I’m hanging in there, but I also feel like I’m stretched to maximum capacity most of the time. Especially in the cold weather, there are days I don’t leave the house because I’m taking care of Jonah or, while he’s in daycare, catching up on work. I have a strong urge to hunker down and hibernate and instead I spend most of my days doing the opposite.

Mothering is intensely intimate and also really isolating. It’s the biggest teacher I’ve had yet.

I hope this doesn’t come off as complaining, because I feel so much appreciation for what I have. I guess I just wish our culture were more family-friendly. I wish we worked less and played more. I wish we could be more connected to nature, especially us city folks.

And I have a much greater appreciation for what every mother has had to do to bring a child up in the world. You all have my intense admiration. I wish you all were leading our world.

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