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Posts tagged ‘Self care’

Nurturing You

What is it that nurtures you? At first glance this question might seem frivolous or unrelated to your life. That’s understandable since we are conditioned to focus upon our work. If we live our life only concentrating on our career, burnout is sure to follow. Consider placing some attention on what nurtures you.

Start small. Begin with thinking about what uplifts you, notice what gives you energy, inspires you, makes you feel fit, centered or calm and happy during your day. These are the areas that support you in your life. They are a part of self-care and are what nurturing you is all about.

Acknowledge those things that drain you, tire you out, cause you stress and bring your energy down. Doing this is important because these are the opposite of self-care. Continuing to do too much of them destroys your well-being.

In order to nurture yourself commit to doing one small action today that lifts you. Also, let go of or modify one thing this week that drains you. If you add in nurturing things and release unsupportive ones you will begin to experience a lightness and appreciation for your life. This takes commitment and consistency. Nurture yourself each day and you begin to foster a life that cherishes you.

Interested in Coaching? Next Step…

I offer Life Coaching services to assist you with: resilience, healthy relationships, boundaries, self-care, life design, awareness & use of personal wisdom, and goals specific to you.

Interested? The next step is to contact me to schedule a free Discovery Session. During the Discovery Session we will talk about your goals, dreams and ideas for your life. I will explain how the process of coaching works and my approach. Together we will determine our fit and go forward from there.

Use this link to contact me: https://shellyoconnell.com/contact/ I invite you to also visit my Facebook business page at: https://www.facebook.com/coachingbyshelly/ To contact me there click on the “send message” tab at the top of  page and I will respond.

Looking forward to speaking to you!

“Coaching concentrates on where clients are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future.” – Source: International Coach Federation (www.coachfederation.org)

 

Finding Bliss

Thoughts on finding Bliss: 
Today’s treasures are not to be missed.

Splash, whirl, dance and play,
Celebrate with abandon this special day.

Release your burdens for a time,
Take my hand, as together we climb,
And reclaim all that is sublime.

There will be time to drink from life’s bitter cup,
But today let bliss take you and lift you up. 

 

Healing Takes Many Forms

I had the opportunity to write an article for Kajama, an online magazine. The article is on healing. To view the full story follow this link: kajama.com/… Featured Article September 30th. Blessings!

Mid-Winter Celebrations

Today is a day celebrated in many cultures as the mid point between winter and spring. There are a variety of rituals and celebrations that are held both in the spirit of hope and in an invocation of welcome.

Today is significant because it is at this point that the ancestors took time to both acknowledge their journey and fortitude in surviving the long winter and to look toward the coming spring. This pause gave the people time to show their faith that they would see the spring arrive once again. Spring meant that the earth would wake up and the land and her creatures would grow and produce which equated to life for the people.

The ritual ceremonies allowed the people to participate in honoring the cycles of life. I imagine they felt that this celebration was vital in bringing forth the spring and renewal of life. They saw themselves as a part of the whole of nature not separate from it. On a practical note, the preparation, ritual and celebration gave people a tangible relief from the harshness of winter while still being enmeshed in its reality.

I find this sense of optimism and faith expands hope within me today. It is a conscious reminder that yes, the light does return, yes, there will be new growth and new life. Yes, things can begin anew even amidst the dark and cold. Let us celebrate that knowledge!

Whether or not you practice modern rituals marking this day, consider lighting a candle in honor of the light returning. Place the match to the wick in reverence of all renewal of life. Think of the hope it may ignite to see something new and vital grow within you. Remember that even in times of darkness you can offer your knowledge that the light always returns.

Clearing the Air and Energy

Have you ever found yourself feeling overcome with emotion? Maybe you have walked into a room that feels like the air itself is pressing down on you? These can be indications of a room or space that needs a good clearing out.

Sometimes it is not enough to scrub the place clean. Many times the energies, spirits and/or emotions linger long after cleaning products’ applications have faded. This is when clearing the energy can help.

There are many ways to remove unwanted energy or energy that is stagnant or oppressive. One of my favorite and most effective ways to do this was taught to me by my Native American Elders. It involves the use of sacred plants and prayers or intentions. Often referred to as smudging; it purifies the space.

Let me share with you the art of smudging as it was taught to me. Gather your tools first. Collect together; white sage or ceremonial sage, matches, a shell or small fire-proof container and a feather or small feather fan. Put a few leaves of the dried sage into the shell or other container. Locate the direction of the East. You will begin your cleansing of the space and energy in the East.

Take your shell with the sage leaves, your matches and feather or fan to the area of the East in the space you are smudging. Light the sage pieces with your match. Let them catch fire a little then blow out the flames. I put the used match in the shell next to the sage leaves. Take your feather or fan and gently move the smoke up and down the walls of the space while praying or keeping an intention. This can as simple as saying or thinking, “Bless and cleanse this home.” You can substitute the name of the space you are in if it is not a home, such as an office, or you can simply say, “this space” instead.

Move in a clockwise direction as you move the smoke and repeat your prayer or intention. Complete a full circle. When you return to the East and where you started say, “Thank you.”

Extinguish any smoking leaves. I place the shell on my stove or other nonburnable surface until it cools. The shell can sometimes become hot on the bottom depending on the area I am smudging and how much sage I have used. Return you other tools to their storage area. Once the shell is completely cooled, I usually leave it at least an hour for safety, I put it away.

You can sprinkle the cooled ashes on the Earth or place them in a potted plant. Just make sure they are totally cooled by touching them with you fingers. Living in an arid and dry climate makes me especially cautious when handling fire and embers.

Now you are done smudging. I notice an immediate difference in the environment once I have completed this cleansing ceremony. Things feel lighter and more in harmony. You may experience a shift in the area right away or you might notice that you are less stressed, have more patience or it may dawn on you after a while that everything flows better.

If you are interested in using smudging as a tool begin with sage as noted above unless an Elder specifically tells you otherwise. Sage can accomplish cleaning the energy, lightening up the space and restoring harmony.

Sage sticks are also available. If you use a full stick I suggest carrying a shell under it as embers can fall while smudging. Doing so will help to keep this a safe process. Also when you extinguish a sage or smudge stick really grind it down into the shell to tamp out any smouldering embers.

It is important to be responsible and careful when using these tools and teachings.

Recently I’ve read some articles that indicate that smudging can remove germs from the air. These ancient practices hold more meaning and practical applications than generally understood. Be respectful in using this ritual.

Thank you to the Elders who have shared their teachings and ceremonies with me. Aho.

Digital Detox Discoveries

A few weeks back I made some unexpected discoveries courtesy of a concussion. Now that I’m feeling much better it seemed timely to share what I learned. While I am not recommending having a concussion to anyone, I am suggesting that the insights gained could be applied to enrich our lives.

Our brain is the control center for everything in our bodies. It commands our response and reaction to the world around us. While these may seem to be obvious statements, they in no way convey just how much our whole existence depends upon a healthy working brain. Having a concussion gave me a more comprehensive understanding of this reality.

When you have a concussion the doctor instructs you to rest. This translates to: no driving, no reading, no television, no computer, no texting, no use of the internet. In short it means no technology what so ever!

My eldest daughter, Sara, termed my convalescence as a “digital detox.” Thank you Sara for the term that led to today’s post.

You may wonder exactly what is it that you do all day when you are required to detox from digital technology. It may sound easy, yet you quickly learn that even regular daily tasks are initially too much for the brain. The doctor told me, “You will know when you’ve done too much because all of your symptoms will return.” For me that was true. It took me a few days to accept that I really did have a concussion and was truly going to have to rest, follow the directions given by the doctor and let the healing process unfold.

What you do is simply rest. I spent many hours lying down or sitting in my chair watching nature. This was fine with the brain. None of my symptoms amplified or returned if I was engaged with nature. I actually believe that watching the birds, animals, clouds, trees, sunshine and rain benefited the brain. It seemed from my perspective that the brain liked this activity .

However, there were others that the brain did not like. One day, a couple of weeks into recovery, I became really frustrated to the point of being angry. That emotion rose up in my body like a flame. The brain’s response was to have an immediate headache and dizziness ensued. It was crystal clear to me that the brain does not like anger and frustration.

Any activity requiring intense concentration or focus such as any use of technology, including my cell phone, tired the brain out. After very brief uses of technology I would begin to develop headaches or “wonky” brain as I called it then. I would have to lie down and close my eyes until my brain was steady again. Reading from paper magazines or books did this too, although I was able to undertake this activity for a longer period of time before my brain demanded a rest.

As time progressed I was able to paint or engage in creative activities without problems. I had a smaller window of time than normal before I became weary but the brain seemed to enjoy the process.

I find these discoveries fascinating! If I pay attention my brain appears to be telling me that being in or observing nature is a positive experience for the brain and my whole self. Creative expression is also a renewing experience. Conversely, too much technology is taxing to the brain and therefore to my body. Anger, frustration or other emotions like them seem to cause distress to the brain which translates to my entire being.

One other thing that happened has me still pondering the effects. When I struck my head, yes, it did result in a concussion, but my heart chakra got blown wide open. The walls of protection many of us put around our heart were disintegrated when I obtained this concussion. My brain shut down or stepped aside and my heart space opened up fully. An interesting phenomenon don’t you think?

Perhaps the most vital discovery is this: allow the heart to be the control center from this point forward.

I wonder….how might life be from this context?

 

 

Moving Forward

All of my life or for a big part of it anyway, I’ve heard about life’s ebb and flow. Folks have spoken and written about phases of life in an attempt to make sense of what has happened. They use their understanding as a way to move forward from experiences. I’m certain you too have encountered many explanations and encouragements in getting unstuck.

For a long time I subscribed to this view. Now I question the validity of these explanations. I do this because of my observations and experience with life.

I think that life is constantly moving forward as are each of us. I know this concept is in direct opposition to what we’ve been taught so let me explain. When we have an experience in life that is difficult such as a relationship breakup that we don’t want, we struggle against it. We may go through many emotions, have resistance or try to hold on to what was. We do this also when we grieve.

Our perception or the opinions of others may tell us to get over it or move on. We could easily believe that we can’t ever do that. But we already are doing just that by having the reactions that we do to the situation. Even shutting down our emotions is still moving forward.

How can this be? What is actually happening is that the feelings continue to escalate within you until they are expressed in some form. Just like any circumstance that you are in that is difficult. Avoiding doing anything about it or not making a decision is an illusion because the intensity of the experience increases until there is change. This is forward momentum at work.

How then are we able to better deal with the continual movement forward? I believe it starts with an understanding that life is constantly moving us forward so that we stretch and grow as people. If we can operate from this awareness we know that the challenges life presents to us are designed to bring us closer to wholeness within ourselves. When we achieve that realization we find longer moments of peace, beauty and happiness.

We are all moving forward. You alone decide how to respond in your own movement forward. Today I move forward with ease, Grace and consciousness. You?

Gifts of A Broken Heart

A few months ago I read two insights about broken hearts. Elizabeth Cunningham wrote, “Hearts are hard until they are broken.” The other quote was from Anita Krissan. It stated: “Let  your heart crumble into an infinite amount of tiny, precious seeds. Then plant love everywhere you go.”

Each of these statements touched a level of truth within me at the time. My thoughts have returned to them often. As I delved deeper into them I remembered my time with infants and small children. In my experience they do not have hard hearts. In fact, I would say that babies and small children are wide open. Their hearts are gentle and they exhibit feelings of love and happiness. This happens with ease when their needs are met and they are loved.

Based on this observance I’ve come to this understanding: hearts are not hard, but the walls we’ve built around them resemble stone. I believe we construct this fortress around our hearts in an attempt to keep us from being harmed as we may have been in the past. I understand why we do this; I’ve done it myself.

I think we have been misinformed in thinking walls will keep our hearts safe. What those structures actually do is enclose us and cut us off from the rest of the world. Being within the walls of a fortress isolates us. We become shut down from our own feelings too.

What if our hearts are intended to be gentle and wide open even when we’re not babies anymore? I think hearts are meant to be this way. It’s the way they were designed. What’s more, I am convinced that our hearts know that their natural state is one of wide open gentleness.

Consider this prospect for a moment. If the hearts do know then perhaps they are the ones breaking down the walls! Not someone outside of us taking love away or withholding it but instead our very own hearts taking drastic measures to liberate us to a new way of being.

It makes me wonder if our hearts long to be free, to be gentle, to be wide open? Can they be leading us to an experience of ever-expanding love, beauty and happiness? Are the crumbling bits of the fortress walls imbued with the knowledge that the heart holds? Have those remnants of the walls become the seeds that will germinate love like we’ve never seen in the world? I believe it is possible that these are the true gifts of a broken heart.

Journey of a Lifetime

When on a spiritual and personal quest to discover your self and purpose in life, you are instructed to focus on the journey. We are told that everything is part of the journey without necessarily being shown what that means exactly. Added to that vague concept is the structure and conditioning of our culture that emphasizes success via accomplishing goals. Needless to say, it can be overwhelming and frustrating at times.

Some recent changes in my life have helped me to better understand that it is ALL about the journey. Every little thing that occurs gives me a chance to see myself more clearly and in doing so I begin to shift my consciousness to seeing the Sacred in each moment. Oh, it may not seem like such a moment at the time. Quite the opposite you might think!

Take my morning for example. I was headed to the city (San Francisco) and the traffic was brutal! I experienced frustration and had some descriptive words for a few of the other drivers. Trust me when I tell you that none of them were complimentary. I found myself closing the gap at the bridge toll gates so that no one could get in front of me. I was striving to get ahead and stay that way….and then something happened.

I began to see how competitive I was being about simply waiting in line. That awareness took me further when I began to reflect on my morning. I realized that my behavior was a form of control. Wow! Who knew a simple thing like a traffic heavy highway would lead me to  seeing myself more clearly?

Once I got that insight I was able to shift my focus. I began to carefully look around while in that line. I observed other drivers and understood that we are all on a journey. Perhaps they were going to work, venturing out for fun or something else. What I saw were people like me in a small step of their life journey.

I am certain that today’s experience was brought to me directly from the Divine. How else would I have recognized an area where I could let go of control? Where would the connection I felt with strangers on a journey come from if not this event?

We all have a journey of a lifetime, one that is specific to each individual. You may not even have to travel to some ancient, distant land to make the discovery. Just be open and show up for your own journey of a lifetime!