Last weekend I took a last minute trip down to Portland from Seattle. A friend of mine from college just moved there and I was due for a little getaway exploration. The months of January and February have been full to the brim for me with work, and other personal life engagements. I knew I was reaching a point where I just needed to be away from the possibility of working, because truly, with my work I never really “leave the office” or “log off”. I have to make that a distinct and intentional choice and during busier periods that is increasingly harder to do especially since I love everything that I do!
So getting away just came at an opportune time. I needed the time to reconnect with my friend but also to just be. I needed to feel the sideways rain drizzling on my face as we walked along Cannon Beach. I needed to be immersed in the joy of seeing the haystacks for the first time. I needed to relish in the glory of a spectacular rainbow, being in the right place at the right time. To let me mind solely focus on how to get across the water canals that made sand pools along the beach and to contemplate how these giant haystacks are created out in the water. I needed to let my spirit be free and not thinking of anything outside of BEING.
“Culture is obsessed with becoming. Spirit is obsessed with being.”
Allowing the spirit to just be, is the art of receiving. This by nature is the ultimate pillar of self-care. It is solely by receiving that we are able to fully care for ourselves. Of course we have to be open to receiving care from others, but in the end if you cannot create a relationship with yourself where you invest in your own well-being you are constantly working from a deficit. You are by far your greatest investment and without receiving it’s like adding your money to a piggy bank that has an open plug in the bottom, it simply goes straight through. Nothing gets stored in your reserves.
While in Portland I also attended a training workshop. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Kari, that sounds like work? I am laughing because on one hand you’re absolutely right it is a part of what I do for a living. At the same time, this training (and many training’s that I do) are a major component of my own personal self-care. It is the integral part of continuing to replenish myself. Investing in my personal reserves. Continuing education some may think of as an aspect of work that you have to fill in order to meet certain requirements. In my case, I don’t have a quota I am trying to meet outside of my own personal thirst for knowledge and these training’s are ways to fill up my tank, to give myself the ultimate gift of receiving.
This training was hosted by Jill Miller author of the Roll Model Method. I’ve been using the Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls for the past two years in my own personal practice and self-care regimen. I recommend them to everyone I work with, and people I don’t work with for that matter. The training guided me into a increased knowledge of the body, in particular the deeper layers fascia tissue, the formation of our muscles, constrictions and how to use these therapy balls in my private yoga sessions with clients as well in self-care training’s. Outside of gaining insight into implementing more practices for myself, I am now a qualified (read: certified) in being able to share these practices on a larger scale in my work with clients which is so important to me. These are incredibly powerful and useful tools not to only open up the physical body, but to recover emotionally and restore balance in the spirit. You can read some of her success stories in relationship to trauma recovery, it’s pretty amazing.
So why am I sharing all of this with you? It all ties back to receiving. When using these tools, you have to completely be. You have to be present, be gentle, release and receive. You have to welcome both receiving and letting go. It is the foundational aspect of caring for yourself. If you cannot receive, you will not receive – you will constantly operate from a state of depletion.
I was laying on the table at my acupuncturist a few years ago, we were finishing up a treatment and I’ll never forget what she said to me. “You are incredibly giving of yourself,” I smiled, knowing she was right. “But you have a terrible time receiving, so you’re constantly giving from a place of depletion, to the point where you truly have nothing left to give, and this is a perpetual cycle that is manifested into physical disease.” It was by far one of the most profound experiences I have ever had. It was so true. I have always operated from my wide big open heart. But receiving? Asking for help? That is PAINFUL!
I then committed to myself. I committed to receiving, to soaking in my own love, to setting boundaries and making sure that all of my needs were met. Receiving was the stepping stone to creating nourishing self-care practices and rituals. This is the base line for self-care and ultimately self-love. It is an integral part of a positive relationship with yourself. If you are not open to receiving, to caring for yourself, then who will take care of you? Who will make sure your needs are met? When you take this into your own personal responsibility it does not become a question any more. It instead becomes an adventure in figuring how you need to be taken care of by you, and how you can practice receiving love and nurturing from within yourself.
Your life will change when you open up to receive love nourishment from the depths of you own capacity to give.
Have you ever thought, I wish someone would love me the way I love them? Love yourself that way. Give yourself that love. Have you ever thought, I wish someone would have done “that” for me? Do “that” for yourself. What happens when you do this? Your needs are met, and YOU are the one meeting them. This transforms your relationship to yourself, but it also radically changes your relationships to others as you no longer need gratification or validation from outside sources. You are so loved and nourished from within that all that is given to you makes your cup overflow and adds a tremendous bonus in your life, but is not a lifeline.
Receiving opens you up to be your own best love. And that is the key component to self-care.
In love and light,