Feeling Blue? Soothe Your Senses

Heartache enriches you as much as victory.

Some consolation, right? You feel crappy. Screw the enrichment. It’s time to wallow, dammit.

There’s no shame in that. Wallow big, wallow deep. Make it the best wallow you’ve ever had.

Eventually, something inside of you will yearn to feel good again. That’s your natural state of being – your spirit always hangs out in that high-vibe state – and you’ll seek to rise up to it, over and over.

Here’s the bad news: You can’t go right from feeling devastated to feeling happy.

Here’s the good news: Yes you can.

Just not all in one swoop. The chasm is too wide. You can’t see the other side and your legs are too weak to a big leap anyway.

Here’s the key: think in increments. Look for one small, easy thing you can do that feels good.

Look for what soothes and pleases your senses: Pet your dog or cat. Slide into a favorite sweater. Light some lavender incense. Give up your seat on the train to an elder and notice that it feels good to stretch your legs.

These may seem like excruciatingly small steps, especially when chaos seems to be swirling around, but one self-nourishing act will lead to the next.

The morning after the election, the only thing I could do was sip my warm cup of coffee. It was a simple pleasure I had control over when it seemed like the world had turned upside down. It helped me feel just better enough to go to the myofascial release class I’ve been taking. Doing something good for my body lifted spirits. After that I had enough momentum to make a healthy, satisfying soup for lunch.

Feeling bereft was being replaced by feeling fortified. I was slowly but steadily starting to rise back up to my natural state of wellbeing.

Next time you’re feeling blue, don’t try to power through it. Instead, take a warm bath with rose or vanilla essential oil. Find a water sounds station on Pandora and take a nap swaddled in soft blankets. Go for a walk and stop for a hot chocolate. Savor it.

Don’t worry about whether you’re being self-indulgent. You are. And that’s fine. Taking whatever steps you need to feel better isn’t weak, it’s empowering.

In fact, the more consciously you care for yourself, the quicker you will ascend back to your natural state of feeling centered and whole. You might even feel even better than before.

What’s one simple, nourishing thing you can do to feel a little bit better than you do right now?

Do it. Then do another.

soothe-your-senses

She’s Got Guts. Do You?

Do you stand in your own power and make decisions based on what you truly align with? Or do you hem & haw, justify and then acquiesce even when you know better? If it’s the second one, how does your body feel when you give away your power? (I’m not talking about power over others; rather, the power of honoring your own authenticity.) Maybe you feel a little queasy or tangled in the core, as if someone’s tickling (or wringing) your intestines from the inside. Our bodies are wise, and it’s imperative we pay attention to it’s signals (or screams) as we develop our mind-body-spirit-heart connection.

For the past few weeks I’ve been editing a book called She’s Got Guts, by holistic health coach Laura Sprinkle. Besides being witty and incredibly informative about the many crucial factors that affect our health, the book also draws a direct correlation between gut health and personal power. Laura points out that a weak 2nd and/or 3rd chakra can cause gut issues, but if we only focus on healing the physical body, we’re missing an opportunity to heal our spiritual and emotional bodies as well. (The 2nd chakra is related to creativity, money, sex; the 3rd is related to gut intuition, personal power.)

The gut area, including our stomach, is a good example of how our systems function holistically because there is a direct correlation between what we eat and how we feel. If our diet consists of nutritionally void foods such as preservative-laden packaged snacks and sugary sodas, we’re going to feel lousy, both physically and emotionally. And most likely, the reverse is even more true: we eat poorly because we don’t value or love ourselves on some level.

One beautiful thing about understanding and working with the body-mind-spirit-heart connection is that it gives you more options than just popping a pill. You can pick up on the signals your body is giving you and then listen to what your heart says about it. Then you can use your mind to figure some stuff out and employ your spiritual practices to assist you in releasing and evolving. One affects the other, so you can weave together all of the information they provide to keep getting closer to holistic healing.

Stomach ache? As yourself if you’re feeling short-changed or powerless in a situation. Journal about it and read some helpful articles. Then do some yoga poses that massage your internal organs or go for a brisk walk. Check in again… How’s the stomach? Did the pain move to somewhere else? Did some anger or jealousy get stirred up? Keep asking yourself questions and letting the answers come to you from a variety of sources. Be as kind to yourself as you would be with a sick child. Nurture yourself. Rest (without guilt).

Recently I’ve been informally counseling several friends who are in the process of making big decisions or are on the verge of major life changes. Some are relying on a strong intuition to guide them, while others are only listening to their mind (in a conventional “I should do this” way) and ignoring what their heart and body are trying to tell them. Who do you think is having stomach/intestinal trouble? The lack of will to stand up for what they truly want is in direct correlation to their gut issues and weak 2nd & 3rd chakras – all of these need to be addressed so they can strengthen each other and heal in tandem.

I learned some helpful new tips and tricks from She’s Got Guts, such as the best and worst foods to eat for gut health and the most effective forms of energy work and exercise as part of a gut-healthy lifestyle (and gut health leads to overall health). I recommend it to people who have digestive disorders (or even just some symptoms now and then) and to anyone who is interested in health and healing.

I not only listen to my gut (physically and via my intuition) but I also pamper it with nutritious food that I thoroughly enjoy eating – no need to sacrifice pleasure! (And hey, red wine and chocolate are health foods as far as I’m concerned.)

How about you? Do you listen to your gut? What’s it saying? Feed me better food, love me more, stand up for us, get a massage, you are fantastic as you are. Listen. It takes some guts, but just listen.

Here’s the scoop on Laura and the book:

Laura Sprinkle is a holistic gut health coach, creative business mentor, speaker, and author. Learn more about her services at www.laurasprinkle.com and receive a book or other goodies by contributing here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/she-s-got-guts

go deep then bloom watermark med

Love Note #1

It’s easy to love what we perceive as our own good qualities – bakes killer brownies for friends, loves unconditionally, always helps a seemingly lost pooch, lends an ear when needed. But what about our faults, are they lovable too?

gorgeous chaos

It’s no secret that self-love is the key to feeling peace in your soul. Just try it. Look in the mirror and say, “I love you,” to yourself. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. Wink at yourself, flirt a little. Let it feel fun, pure and warm.

Some days doing this exercise is harder than others. You made a bad decision. Your words hurt someone you care about. What the hell is your life about anyway and why haven’t you figured it out by now? In these moments where fear and doubt have gripped you, are you still lovable? Do you still deserve your own love?

These are precisely the times when it’s imperative to love yourself. Berating yourself and withdrawing your compassion toward yourself will create a downward spiral into desperation and confusion. More bad decisions will be made. Guilt heaped on. Flame doused.

Love your mistakes as much as your triumphs because the goof-ups help you to grow. They point directly to where your attention needs to be – not as a reprimand, but as a guiding light. Love the part of you that doesn’t know how to do it better yet, because that part of you needs it the most. Like fertilizer on a droopy plant.

Then take it one step farther and love your pain. Love the hardships and the whole mess of life. Not because you want them to continue, but because you want them to transform. Love nurtures positive change. Acceptance yields a sense of compassion. When we feel safe to admit our mistakes or look honestly at what isn’t working, we can begin to see through a lens of love toward a better way.

Love is a balm and love is a catalyst. Love all of yourself – dark, light, happy, sad – and feel yourself bloom.

bleeding hearts

Wisdom Via Cell Phone

“You’re a young man here.”On my walk today I overheard a man talking into his cell. That was the only line I heard, but from the tone of his voice I knew exactly what was going on. A father was talking to his son who had apparently messed up. I couldn’t stop thinking about how brilliantly he had phrased it:  “You’re a young man here.”
We know you’re not yet a full grown man who should be mature enough to know better. But you’re in the beginning stages of becoming that person, someone who takes responsibility for his mistakes, apologizes and makes things right. Here – in this situation – you’re at the gateway of manhood, one foot in, one foot out. We realize that you’ll go back to playing video games with your buddies, but here, now, this is your chance to start out strong, be brave, step up and do the right thing. Soon you’ll get more interested in girls and eventually have to pick a major. You’ll go out on your own and have adventures that will shape your life. But here, now, you’re a young man and I’ve got your back in all the complications of that. But I’m counting on you to take a brave step into adulthood. Here. Where you and I are, right now.
young man statue

Wisdom Via Dementia

I had the honor of driving an elderly woman 1.5 hours to the airport so she could go visit her sister. She talked the entire time, telling me stories (the same ones over and over with slightly different variations) and capping each one with what she had learned. By the time we arrived, she had repeated each of the following lessons numerous times. I realized I was being given some valuable advice from someone who had lived well. I hope she’s having a wonderful time with her sister.

  1. You teach others how to treat you. (Dr. Phil adopted this but she learned it from her parents.)

  2. Treat your body well. (“Don’t get sunburned.”)

  3. Let your children know you have their backs. Be their advocate.

  4. Stick up for what you know is right, and respect others in the process of doing so.

  5. Treat your home with respect and don’t allow others who are in your home to be disrespectful.

  6. If you can’t get along with the other children, go find another group to play with.

  7. You’re never too old to find true love.

  8. Having a garden, even a small one, is one of life’s pleasures.

  9. Nature is revitalizing to the spirit.

  10. Don’t ever be violent, with your children or anyone else. Make them sit in a chair and think about what they’ve done. Then talk about it.

and my favorite…

  1. Trees are their own special thing.

trees

wavy tree

We Are All Holy Creatures

My neighbor’s feisty young cat attacked my old girl numerous times over several years.  I have scars on my arm from where the offender jumped up and clawed at me as I threw water on the battle to break up a fight.  Our time outside was guarded and tense, never knowing when an attack might come.  Vet bills racked up.

Christmas Eve 2012.  I pulled into the driveway at 11:30 pm after attending a candlelight service.  The bad girl was sitting in the slushy snow at the end of the driveway; she stared at me solemnly.  In the spirit, I wished her a Merry Christmas and told her to go home where it was warm.

She disappeared two days later and hasn’t been seen since.

The weather is warm now and my girl and I frequently perch in the sun on a lounge chair.  But I can’t totally relax, my nerves on habitual alert.  I feel angry that our lives were so disrupted, and I feel sad that my 21-year-old girl had to endure pain and fear.  Still, I pray for the terror-inducing feline – may she be warm in someone else’s home, not torn and bloody from being ravaged by a fox.  She’s a holy creature, just like we all are.

Be sad.  Be mad.  But please don’t let hate and fear settle into your heart.

Detail of Assemblage with Painted Frame by Simon Sparrow

Detail of Assemblage with Painted Frame by Simon Sparrow

(This piece is included in Great & Mighty Things: Outsider Art
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through 6.9.13)

You’re Right

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, and forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

I say “you’re right” way more than I used to.  Why?  Because now I really listen to what people are saying and try to put myself into their mind so I can understand their perspective. I’m less attached to being right or asserting my own agenda as soon as they take a breath.

My world expands as I stay present in the conversation.  My opinions change.  And the speaker feels my attention and interest; they feel respected.
I still get frantically excited sometimes during an inspiring chat, but I take a couple deep breaths and focus back in.  I hold the connection, reverently.

trees 2