I have earned it. So have you.]]>
It will be so easy over the coming months to sacrifice selfcare time; a truth that especially applies to anyone who still has moments of giving in to the old thinking that practicing selfcare is a luxury instead of a priority. Challenge yourself to not give in to those moments. Remember, it is impossible to be the best version of you unless you take care of yourself.
The question then becomes how do we practice good selfcare in the time of coronavirus and isolation? How do we carve out time for ourselves when every inch of our homes has been taken over bit by bit by the rest of our lives?
The short answer: intentionally.
The easiest and best way to begin, as always, is with the breath. Two short minutes of a practice called box breathing can lower your blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm. Sometimes referred to as four-part or square breathing, box breathing allows you to disconnect from the chaos and noise around you to calm your thoughts, slow your heart rate, and regulate your autonomic nervous system. It is a simple, but meaningful practice that will allow you to reconnect to you.
Start by sitting up straight with your feet on the floor and eyes closed.
1. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
2. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four.
3. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds. Feel the air leave your lungs.
4. Count slowly to four before taking your next inhale.
Repeat at least three times for 2 – 4 minutes, until a sense of calm returns.
You can work on your breathing anywhere – the couch, the kitchen table, or even on the bathroom floor if that’s the only place you can find two minutes of solitude. Wherever you can, however you can, carve a few moments out of each day to be present for you so you are better able to be there for everyone else.
Women inspiring and supporting other women was also a big piece of the inspiration behind Rio. My intent for the center was to create a space where people could unplug from the stress of daily life and instead focus on all aspects of their selfcare. When there, our clients weren’t focused on what’s for dinner. They weren’t panicking over forgotten permission slips, stressing over an out of control inbox, or obsessing over any of the multitude of other things that we women carry on our shoulders daily.
Within Rio’s walls, we focused on taking a moment to breathe and be present. We found ways to keep learning and developing ourselves – independent of our roles as moms, sisters, friends, coworkers, and partners. It was a designated time for us, about us.
Now that Rio has evolved into its next phase, what I have learned is that the physical space is less important than the intent of the moment. In taking time each day to breathe and mindfully unplug from the world, we show up better in the rest of our lives.
Those moments of selfcare allows us to keep showing up. It’s that simple.
So today, on International Women’s Day, I send a huge shout out to all the amazing women who get up day after day and make the choice to keep showing up. You are an inspiration to us all.]]>
In truth, what happens for many of us is a stumble. We fall backward, land on our asses, and wonder what the hell just happened. Make no mistake, it is not graceful or elegant or in any way reflective of how we see ourselves now. It is not something we are proud of, especially because it often happens right as we are feeling strong and confident in our growth. But still, it happens.
We may find ourselves once again hurt or devalued. Or we may even have slipped and trusted the wrong people, but in a whole new way. It didn’t happen because we ignored the parade of red flags or because we made excuses like we did in the past. It’s not because we forgot everything we learned when we stepped into our new confidence. It happens because the universe will always place people in our paths to teach us a new lesson or give us an opportunity to relearn an old one.
The challenge for us is to remember that a stumble is not a failure. It takes nothing away from the value and the truth of our work. It doesn’t invalidate all the progress we have made. The stumble makes us human and it makes us beautiful. It does not make us broken.
My hope is that when you stumble, you treat yourself with kindness. That you breathe through the panic and the feelings of failure and terror. My hope is for you to fight the urge to run back to the safety and security of your solitude. To the place that kept you sheltered while you stared down all your pain. You don’t need it anymore. Not the way you used to.
My wish for you is to remember that while healing the past was always a goal, it was never the only one. Having the courage to live and love your life on your terms is the grand prize. Keep moving forward and trust that the stumbles will never be enough to derail you for good.]]>
After all, the work involved in getting to that level is more than enough for one lifetime. By the time we reach the glorious summit of believing without question that we did not deserve our pain, we are tired. Of the battle. Of the work. Of it always feeling so hard.
Make no mistake, we are proud of what we have overcome. We will rightfully honor and celebrate achieving a milestone that at times felt impossible. And for some, it feels like enough to have just made it here. The very prospect of doing more work is exhausting. Those who stop at the penultimate summit of their own personal Everest do have some measure of peace. However, they remain convinced that true happiness, true love, and a life filled with genuinely good things is a destiny reserved for others. A nirvana set aside for those less scarred and less guarded.
To my kindred survivor spirits, my holiday wish for all of you is that you gift yourselves with the determination to push through the final bits of negative self-talk that linger in the corners of your mind. Happiness and love are not saved for a group of mythical unicorn “others” who have never endured pain and trauma. Choosing to believe that is no different from our old broken logic of believing we deserved the bad. It’s simply not true.
Today and every day remember, you deserve good. You deserve happiness. You deserve love. You deserve every bit of the beautiful, hopeful, peaceful life you wish for others.
Do the work. Choose you.]]>
It made me wonder, if you know who you are, does it matter how anyone else sees you?
Does the answer change if you don’t?
I have always had a bit of an identity crisis. To the outside world, it’s best summed up like this: I have three college degrees. Each in a different last name. None in the one I use now. On the inside, it looked and felt like chaos. A broken and damaged little girl acting out soon grew into a woman who did the same.
Feeling like a woman without an authentic identity led to decades of confusion, with perceptions that ran to both extremes. It lasted until I finally committed to doing the hard, hard work to put the noise to rest.
Part of my wellness and self-care journey has been to both forgive the person I believed I was while working to heal the pain and trauma that felt burned on my soul. Along the way, I learned healing is nonlinear. It’s not as simple as moving from A to B, hurting to healed. I learned that it is possible to slip up and make mistakes while still moving forward. And thanks to the beautiful and supportive tribe of humans who surround me with love, I learned those missteps do not erase my progress.
But perhaps most importantly, I learned that I am the one who determines my identity. When I chose to internalize the negativity that allowed me to believe the worst perceptions were true, I behaved in a way that validated and reinforced that view. When I learned to first challenge and then change my thinking, when I chose to accept that I am a good person who has done both good and bad things – a person worthy of happiness, joy, love, forgiveness – I behaved in a way that brought more of it to my life. It was as simple as that.
Turns out perception only matters when considering how I perceive myself.]]>
I have always been a big proponent of reflection as a self-care tool and as a path to honor what came before. I remain so. I’m a firm believer in the healing power of looking back to learn, understand, and grow. I know it is critical for peace at a core cellular and spiritual level. That said, overreliance on any tool risks its evolution into a crutch. And I am a woman with no use for crutches.
The fact is, I have learned an unbelievable number of lessons and life truths in the last twelve months. Even more in the last ten years. Truths and lessons that may one day fill a memoir. Someday. But that work is for another time because right now I am exhausted by reflecting and mining my history for insight into who and how I am. Quite honestly, I’m over it.
So, for 2020 – and the next decade – I am not looking back. Instead, I choose to look forward. For me, that means:
Boundaries – I will no longer apologize or hesitate when setting and resetting. I know myself better than anyone, which means I know what is and is not okay for me. Explanations are not owed and will not be given.
Trust – I will trust myself. My gut. My inner voice. My heart. My head. My body. I will trust all of me.
Respect – I will treat myself with the same respect I give to the rest of the world.
Forgiveness – I forgive myself. Always. The power of self-forgiveness is so important that I have it tattooed on my arm in case my soul ever needs a reminder.
Priorities – I will prioritize the people and the experiences that are important to me without apology or rationalization.
Joy – I will actively pursue because life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.
Love – I will accept the love that has always surrounded me, and I will be open to new opportunities for it to enter my life.
Peace – I will continue to choose peace.]]>
I began the journey with an abundance of excitement and joy, believing success was inevitable. I was so certain of my path and its outcome. I knew exactly what I wanted to bring to the community. I knew how I would do it and I knew where. I surrounded myself with people who understood and believed in my dream, and who were excited to help make it a reality. We launched with hope, faith, and absolute certainty.
All that planning. All the positive intent. All the loving energy. All the confidence that I was doing it right. And yet, here I am. Relearning that nothing is certain. Relearning that so many things are truly beyond our control, despite what the obsessive planner and preparer in me needed to believe.
Closing the doors on our physical location is bittersweet. In so many ways, it’s a goodbye. A goodbye to my dream as I’d always imagined. A goodbye to a heck of a lot of money – a truth rarely talked about in “polite” conversation. When I walk through the nearly empty space for the final few times, I think about how much has changed in the last year. I’m still me, but not the same me who dove all-in to go for her dream. I’m freshly humbled. By the realities of launching a startup. By the belief that brains plus sheer willpower and planning would equal success. By the constant truth that everything happens exactly as it’s supposed to – even if that feels horrible or makes no sense when living life in the middle of the process.
Now, as I look at my path, I wonder where the next turn will take me. I have finally accepted that I have no idea where the journey will lead. And that’s okay. For now, I know that my dream remains strong and I choose to believe that success is still inevitable.]]>