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.
The other week was a bit of a train wreck for me. It seemed like everything was fighting against me. One minute I’d be really on in the universal groove and then wham the next thing I knew I was flat on my ass.
One day I spent an hour walking around the city in the rain thinking I must have forgotten where I’d parked my car. I mean surely I must have forgotten, only to find out it had been towed. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I mean, I’ve never even been pulled over for speeding before.
In the past decade affirmations have become more mainstream. The use of words or phrases to help change your mental outlook has gained a lot of public notice and support in helping people. Truthfully, affirmations are ancient traditions. Spoken word therapy has been around for centuries and it’s helped people and communities across the globe. They can be traced back to ancient eastern religions, and indigenous tribes. Widely known, mantras are phrases, poems or sayings chanted over and over again during meditation. The word “mantra” Sanskrit and is translated to read “that which protects (tra) the mind (man).” They have been used for spiritual connection to the self and the divine. In so many ways they have been used to free one’s mind of all other thoughts.
Most recently you can find people touting the benefits of affirmations on wellness sites like Well + Good, Mind Body Green and from leaders in the New Age movement like Gabby Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. This wave of self-help ideology has created a movement and momentum behind using therapies such as affirmations in channeling and changing your thought process.
I’d say that my way of coming to affirmations was fairly nontraditional as I wasn’t necessarily seeking a more spiritual connection to the Universe, God, the Divine, whatever you choose to call it. My introduction to their power was during a time of deep desire for physical healing of my body.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. As I continue to dive deeper into my relationship with myself, with my personal yoga practice and healthy living this has been coming up a lot for me recently. And even more so with the clients I see. So often, people ask me what is the best type of exercise to get the body they want, the results they desire, or the energy they’re craving. I am discouraged by this questions a lot. Why? I don’t actually have the answer. Or at least, I thought I didn’t. But now, I’ve decided the answer is reclaiming exercise for every body.
The source of my frustration comes from the societal expectation that we have to move our body only because we want it to look a certain way, instead of actually enjoying the way it moves. Believe me, I have been guilty of this plenty. Which is why I feel comfortable calling some bullshit on it.
I remember sitting across from him, he’d been holding my gaze for a while now, neither of us saying anything as I’d been crying. Finally, I said, “I feel like I have done everything in my power to move on from this.” My therapist then looked at me intently and said “It’s usually when we are resisting something that it continues to appear for us.” Shocked and infuriated I just sat there. I couldn’t believe he’d dare say I was resisting anything. I’d been working through this for nearly a year and had made so many changes. Since the day I walked in his room we’d been talking about this relationship and I’d been working diligently on focusing my attention, embracing my feelings, and allowing myself to deal with whatever emotion may arise. “I’ve done anything but resist this whole process,” I told him, “If I was I would have never come to see you in the first place.”
Self-care isn’t selfish, it is however, a choice to actively love yourself through actions, practices and rituals. Self-care is about learning refinement of how best to take care of yourself, not about attaining perfection. This comes from a deeper commitment to love yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you love every inch of your body, or if there are certain things you’re working on to better yourself. It is a strong connection to honoring yourself for where you are right now. It is a deep, loving support of yourself so that you can live with intention and peace within your life.
I get asked all the time, “What brought you to Seattle?”
It’s a funny a question to me with a million different answers about what could possibly lure me across the country. Most people, are expecting the common answer, a job, or a relationship. Neither was the case for me.
When I begin to tell them what truly brought me, I take a moment, to soak it in, to read the person in front of me a bit and get an idea of how this will land for them. I explain that the only way for me to have made a move clear across the country, knowing not a soul, was trusting my hearts inner knowing. I knew intuitively that this was a place I needed to be and I needed to do whatever in my power to make that happen.
We are inherently social creatures. And so, by nature, we have a desperate need to share with each other our problems, worries, failures, along with excitements and accomplishments. With any relationship, be it intimate or familial, it’s often hard to navigate processing our own lives, let alone being there for one another.
Some of us have a tendency to take on more of the problems of people around us, yea, I’m talking to you empath! And that’s okay, but knowing how to guard yourself from allowing these issues in other people’s lives to consume your own life is important not only, for your personal joy and peace of mind, but for your health.
I know so many friends who have relationships where they tell me that just talking to certain people in their life is stressful, negative, or gives them anxiety.
They love them, but the relationship feels incredibly taxing.
It’s important to identify then, what it is that is actually draining about these relationships. Is it conversations, is it the length, the negativity, constant complaining? What about these relationships makes them so tiring?
It’s such a pleasure to introduce you to Shannon Keating, this months contributor to Soul Power. I came to know this vibrant young woman about a year ago after we were paired together in this interview with Eileen Laird from Phoenix Helix. I got to hear her story first hand in how she battled an autoimmune condition and lifestyle changes while still in college. So much of her resilience and tenacity reminded me of my own but I applaud her immensely for committing to personal growth in ways her peers don’t yet understand, I know because I have been there. What I love about her piece is the ability she has to share conversationally about her experiences as though she is right there talking with you, and trust me, her genuine enthusiasm will radiate to your core.
I have always been highly inquisitive. My dad likes to tell a story about how he used to take me out in the running stroller when I was a toddler and throughout our trip I would babble away, question after question after question.
Every other sentence began with why.
I was all “why this?” and “why that?” Even to passing strangers: “Why are you out here to today?” “Why don’t you also have a kid in the stroller?” “Why are you wearing that outfit?”
He tells this story with a tone of endearment, but I know the truth. I’ve babysat my fair share of chronic why-er’s. That initial touch of amusement fades pretty darn fast when you realize no matter how many why’s, how’s, and but’s you answer, they just keep throwing them at you.
I’ll be the first person to tell you to do what you want. Follow your heart and lead from what feels good for you. I help people tap into a deeper understanding about themselves by connecting more with what aligns within them. Before getting there though, and in order to get to this next layer of connection we have to first step into doing what is necessary, and that most likely may not always align with what you “want”. Or what you think you want rather. This is the highest act of self-love.
When I first started exploring a path to healing I began identifying what really mattered to me. I got really clear on what I yearned for, and gained clarity understanding that what I desired most would only be achieved by doing things I may not always want to do.
What I want is a feeling, or feelings. I want experiences and vitality. I want to live in a space where wanting minute inauthentic things are insignificant because these big desires are always constantly filled. I want to be able to move and feel how amazing it is to live inside of my body. I want to share love and be love itself without being taken advantage of.
Getting to this point in my life hasn’t been easy. I’ve talked about it several times before that the healing process is straight misery, it’s going against the tide of your patterns in order to find a new current. Healing brings up old wounds and may in fact arise inside of you ones you never knew existed. We must go through it in order to get over it.