I did it! I signed up. Even with my already over-extendedschedule, it was something I couldn’t resist. “The Blog Your Heart Out Challenge” starting on Valentine’s Day 2015 was calling my name. I have never written a blog before, but with my intention to develop a website devoted to putting my writing, art, and personal evolution out for the world…it seemed like a good idea. So, I signed up.
The very first challenge, Grounding Your Writing in Self-Love, asked us to write for 10minutes creating a list of what we do, or would like to do, that is truly nourishing for our creative spirit, body, and heart. When finished, we were to select 1-3 of the practices we were willing to commit to for the 2 week Blog Your Heart Out Challenge. Knowing I was going to select 1 -3 practices to do every day created resistance in me. I know all too well the demands on my time already, and committing to adding more to my schedule felt like more than I could do. More than I really even wanted to think about. However, I did sign up for this. I know there is something to be gained from meeting my resistance head-on. I have faith in the process. I started my list.
I am fully aware of the importance of self-care, the revolutionary power of self-love. And,somehow, in the busy-ness of my every day, that is the ONE thing that gets sacrificed on a regular basis. The very thing that sustains me, opens the channel to my muse, powers my creativity,gives me the strength to face a relentless to-do list, keeps me calm and centered, and cultivates my ability to connect with others through first connecting with myself is the very thing I so easily cast aside with the “I don’t have time” mantra I find myself constantly chanting. “There are only so many hours in the day,” I tell myself, attempting to ease the pain of my own neglect. I discovered that my resistance to this exercise was actually an act of self-love, protecting me from further over-extension. However, the intention of this resistance and the impact were incongruent. I need self-love to be effective in every other thing I do. There had to be a way to meet both needs – the need to protect myself from further over-extension and the need to incorporate self-love practices.
What occurred to me during this 10 minute exercise was a more poignant awareness of the importance of self-love, a more heartbreaking awareness of how easily dismissed this practice is in my life, and, most importantly, the possibility that self-love does not have to take dedicated blocks of time. The practice of self-love, I discovered, can be simple gestures, divine intention draped over a mundane task, easily incorporated with what I already do.
Believing that others might also struggle with the practiceof self-love and self-care, and curious if they too may have no idea how to fit the practice in an already over-full schedule, I decided to share some ideas of how I will incorporate this practice in my life. Maybe these ideas will create a crack in the paradigm of ‘not enough time’ and generate some creative ideas of how you can add self-love practice to your life, without adding to your to-do list.
· Add some intention to my daily shower, washing away stories that don’t serve me, negativity, and other stressors.
· Make a little altar to myself, maybe on my dresser with its grand mirror. Maybe leave tokens or gifts for myself. Take amoment to light a candle and catch my own glance. Just a moment.
· NVC Body Scan. Take a moment, especially lying in bed before I drift off to sleep, to scan my body for any tension, pain, or area that grabs my attention. Ask it what it’s trying to tell me, what its name is, what it’s born from. See ifthere is a feeling living there, born from some unmet need. And then ask what I can do to help meet the need.
· For at least one meal a day, be fully present to my meal. No multi-tasking, no reading, answering emails, occupation with my to-do list, some unresolved interaction,or whatever else may be running around my mind. Be fully present. Notice the aesthetics of my plate, the aroma of the food, the taste and texture that explode in my mouth, and the nourishment my body feels from the feast.
· Imbue the task of housework with an ambiance of self-love, creating space that nurtures my serenity and sense of well-being, rather than the attitude of “something I have to do” and “just get it done”.
· Get enough sleep. My schedule is very demanding and what I know about myself is if I don’t get 7 hours of sleep, I am emotionally incapable of dealing with the pressures of daily life. I become overwhelmed, intensely negative, and lose my ability to cope.
Hopefully this crack in my paradigm of ‘not enough time’ will grow, and my awareness will flood with more ways to incorporate self-love as a daily intention and way of moving through my to-do list.