Posts tagged self care sundays
come home to your creative practice

"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time." Mary Oliver

During one of my most recent meditations, I got the nudge to begin writing poetry again. It's something I've done therapeutically ever since I knew what a poem was (and I've got the notebooks full of angsty boy poems to prove it). I even studied it in college and had a few poems published. 

But I've really let my creative practice go. I feel creative in a lot of what I do on a daily basis, but I haven't had something set aside just for me, just for the sake of creative expression. And dare I say, just for fun! 

Perhaps you can relate. When was the last time you created just for fun? Just for you?

These things get put on the back burner because with all of the things we need to do, it's hard to justify. But studies are now proving what we have already felt: creative expression is vital for a healthy mind and soul. 

For inspiration for my own practice, I've been reading one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, and I want to leave you with one of her poems. 

I'll let the poem speak for itself, but perhaps it could inspire you, as well. Perhaps it could be just the thing to call you home and follow the path within. 

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One Habit To Rule Them All

I've been pretty obsessed with habits and rituals lately. I've been reading books and experimenting with different habit forming goals and analyzing where I get stuck. 

It's all been a part of my personal Year of Daily Rituals project I set out on when I turned 31 this past April. There shall be a proper update on that soon, but an interesting concept I've been playing around with lately is something called a cornerstone or keystone habit. 

A keystone habit is one habit that can naturally lead to other habits. By doing one thing, like making the bed everyday, you then are more prone to keep the rest of your space tidy. So it's like setting multiple goals without the stress and overwhelm of feeling like you have to do a million things. 

Now doesn't that sound nice? Some other examples might be exercising every morning, meditating for 10 min. before bed, or listing 3 things your grateful for each day.

So why does this work? And how do you know what would be a good habit to start with? Well, in a Lifehacker article, Charles Duhigg lists three characteristics to look out for when choosing a keystone habit. 

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It's All In Your Head: How To Retrain Your Social Media Brain

A few weeks ago I talked a bit about social media. About how it's becoming more and more overwhelming. How it started to become less fun and more of an obligation. How it made me feel more disconnected than connected to what I was doing and those around me. 

So over the past few weeks I've taken a step back from it. Only posting occasionally. Not checking as frequently. Taking the pressure off from needing to share everything. 

And I've been learning a few things. I'll mention more tips in a later post, but for today, here is one of the most useful tips for creating a new relationship with social media. 

retrain your brain

One thing about bad habits that we fail to remember is that we've trained our brain to behave a certain way. We've done something so much that we've created a neurological pattern to keep that habit alive. 

When we go to change that habit, we don't give ourselves the time or the effort to reprogram. 

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What Taking A Break Can Teach You About Self Care

Even when you are quite mindful with your self care, you can still get in a self care rut. You can still max out your systems. You can still lose sight of some negative patterns you've been forming. 

That's why incorporating what I call "big picture" self care things, like travel, dance lessons, turning off your phone for long periods of time, basically things that are separate, but complimentary of your everyday self care practice, are so important. 

Recently I had the opportunity to travel with friends and relax at home with the mister. My two weeks of big picture activities solidified my theory of their importance, and it made space for some very nice revelations. Today, I shall share three of them with you. 

1. step away. like all of the way.

There's something really powerful about getting completely away from your everyday life. About breaking your cycles. 

Lifecoach Tony Robbins does this with his clients by using harsh language and tough love. It shocks the brain and their emotions so much that it can allow them to look at their issues differently. 

I personally don't take that approach, but I agree with the principle. We gotta do something to get away and lovingly shake up our routines so we can reflect back with new eyes. 

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how mountain pose can heal your pain

I have a pretty big soft spot for mountains. I lived in the Rocky's for over eight years, and those mountains always brought me so much peace and healing. And now when I go back to visit, I still get this strong feeling of home. 

On some level, the same is true whenever I do when I do Mountain Pose or Tadasana. 

At first glance it seems like a very basic yoga posture. I mean, you are just standing there. But the secret, magical thing is that you are not just standing there. You are bringing your body back into alignment, or a neutral position that serves as a counterpose to any negative patterns in the fascia (or connective tissue) that have been created. In a way, you are coming back home.

Let me break it down for you. Imagine your body like a sailboat. When you pull on one rope, a sail goes up. When you let go of that rope, the sail goes down. The sails are always responding to the tension of the rope. 

The same is true in your own body. If you lean on one leg all of the time, the opposite hip goes up and becomes tight. If you tend to should pain on one side, the other shoulder responds. Your body is always trying to balance out the tension, thus creating odd compensation patterns that continue to create more pain and dysfunction. 

Mountain Pose is a simple, yet profound way bring the tension back to neutral and balance it out in a healthy way. Yes, it is subtle. Yes, it takes time. But I can say from personal experience that it works. I come back to mountain pose regularly throughout my day, and it has made the world of difference with my hip and leg pain, but also the quality of my body overall. 

Here are the steps I teach to create a stable and aligned Mountain Pose. 

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How to Use Your Guilt for Good

I was hitchhiking through the North and South islands of New Zealand one summer, many moons ago. A life coach and his girlfriend picked me up at Pancake Rocks (not as delicious as it sounds, but quite beautiful rock formations) and gave me a lift back to town. They were kind and personable and invited me to stay with them whenever I arrived back in Aukland. 

A month or so later, I was staying with them for a week. I was struggling with anxiety quite a bit at that time and the life coach offered to do some sessions with me to see if we could pinpoint what was going on. 

"Only agree to these sessions if you are really ready to be done with anxiety. Like really ready," he said. I agreed with skepticism, but those few sessions with him changed my life and did significantly decrease anxiety for many years. 

Now the details are a story for another time, but I share this much with you because it was through these sessions where I realized that guilt was motivating pretty much everything I did. 

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3 Stretches to Save Your Neck

Neck pain is a thing. And very common thing, at that. In fact, you yourself probably have some kind of neck pain or discomfort. If not, all of the gold stars for you because with today's head-forward, rounded-shoulders culture, it's getting harder and harder to prevent it. 

For those of us that do, I have a solution for you. Perhaps not THE solution, but one that is so darn simple that you're silly if you don't do it. And it can make a huge difference. 

I give you three humble neck stretches that you probably already know. You definitely know them if you've been to any of my yoga classes because I start every class with them. 

Ok. Ready? You can do them right now as you read this. Go.

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How to Meditate Anytime, Anywhere.

Ah, the allusive art of meditation. It seems so simple, yet complicated; easy, yet difficult. And where to start? What to do? Who to study with? Are you even doing it right? 

The topic of meditation seems to be coming up a lot these days. More and more studies are proving the benefits of meditation, and people's personal experiences are gaining traction. 

While this is wonderful, I've also heard that it's left more and more people feeling confused and frustrated on how to adopt these practices. 

Well have no fear, dear one. I am here to clear the brain fog with some simple techniques and starting points. I'm also here to state that meditation is not just sitting and trying not to think. While there are formal styles and disciplines that are worth dedicating yourself to, I believe that meditation can be done anytime, anywhere. 

My meditation practice is very, very simple. Simple, yet oh so effective. Allow me to share with you my two go-to techniques that keep me calm and mindful. 

Breathe and notice. Those are my two key words I come back to when I feel anxious, doing a task I don't like, or craving some meditation time. When you are wondering how to meditate, your mind wanders in meditation, or you are having a rough moment in life, think "Breathe and notice." 

Here's what I mean. 

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How to Be the Light in Dark Times

The media is always flooded with not-so-great things, but the past few weeks have been particularly heartbreaking. It’s easy to get caught up in everyone’s opinions and reporters overdramatizing everything, but what does that really do? How does that help anything, really?

What if, instead of perpetuating the drama, we offered something else? Something that might seem completely unrelated, but could actually offer a remedy. And that remedy is simpler than you think. Be the light. 

As my dear friend Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one remembers to turn on the light.” And during dark times we have a choice to either keep feeling around in the dark, or turn on the light. 

The Summer Solstice is happening on Tuesday, which means it’s the longest day of the year. Daylight will stretch and bring light to the darkest hours of the night. What a wonderful time to counter some of the dark occurrences with a bit of light. 

So how to do this? Where to begin? The specific manifestations of it really does depend on the situation. Reading the room, knowing the audience, so to speak. But here are a few things to consider no matter the situation.

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