Practicing self-care and compassion in challenging times

There can be little argument that the autumn of 2016 has been marked by instability and rancor, both in our own country and around the world. And here we are, almost to 2017, with things continuing to feel chaotic and uncertain… potentially with no end in sight.

I see the stress and the exhaustion of this new reality showing up in my family, friends and clients. I’ve been talking about it with them, and I’m going to talk about it some more here, because it’s vitally important to have these conversations; because what’s happening frames the context of the work I do; and because championing self-care in challenging times is part of that work.

To be honest, it feels as if everything we had always thought of as a given is now up for grabs. It’s an interesting sensation, and I see the resulting instability—the not being able to land on anything resembling solid ground—creating all kinds of problems for me and pretty much everyone I know. In my Autumn newsletter I was writing about an aspect of midlife I and many women I know experience:

“As I age I find I’m not willing to try to pretend that I’m still 25, able to stay up late, eat what I want and be all things to all people. I have some health challenges that make it imperative that I take care of myself so I have the energy to do what I want to do, and like most women I have many things that I am passionate about.

Perhaps as a consequence, I find I have no tolerance anymore for things that don’t align with my heart and my soul. That means learning how to say “no”. It means finding ways to plug in and stay connected where I want, in ways that honor my both my strengths and my capacity. It means being discerning. It means being rooted in my own knowing, standing in my own power, and wielding it in a way that feels right for me.

How do we do these things? I’m not always sure. But these are the conversations I want to be having in my work with women:

  • How do we prioritize our needs and our self-care without feeling guilty?
  • How do we set boundaries in ways that feel both firm and gracious?
  • How do we create meaningful, intentional lives?
  • And what it the healing work that needs to happen so that we can confidently own our strengths and gifts?”

These questions feel more urgent than ever now. I find many people experiencing this heightened desire for clarity and purpose. To reach out or take a stand… to make a difference in the world.

It’s like we’ve gotten a giant cultural wake-up call, and no matter how many times we hit the snooze button, the alarm is still going off.

Now I happen to believe that we cannot serve the greater good if our inner state is chaotic and ungrounded. we cannot be of service if we are making ourselves ill with our stress and anger.

We cannot manifest the world we want to live in from a place of hopelessness, powerlessness or cynicism.

Now, more than ever, we all need to practice Radical Self-Care so that we—as individuals and as a collective—can be a counterweight to the stress and uncertainty (not to mention the more

[frankly] evil forces that have been revealed in the shadows).

Only when our actions are rooted in compassion and balance will they carry the power to build a world that reflects those values.

To support you in finding your peace and your power, I thought I’d share some of my favorite strategies. They’re all fairly simple and reflect the essence of taking a Sacred Pause. They are all free or low-cost. I don’t get any kick-back from the ones that aren’t my own – I just wanted to share some ideas and favorite tools in hopes of helping you find your balance.

Meditation

I’ve stepped up my meditation game. Previously it was hit or miss. Now it is how I start my day most days of the week. One of the women at the fall retreat told us about the app Insight Timer, and I have fallen in love. It can be just a timer or you can choose from over 3000 guided meditations. You can even make friends and join groups, though I haven’t really tested that feature. Works for Android and Apple.

Along those same lines, during the centering meditation in a monthly group call that I lead, what was intended to simply bring us together on the call morphed into a really lovely guided meditation for inner peace and compassion. I’ve edited it out from the longer call for your enjoyment. It’s a great listen to help you find your center, build your compassion, and radiate that compassion out into the world that so desperately needs it.

It starts more or less right in, so be sure to get yourself comfortably before beginning, ideally in a private space where you won’t be disturbed for roughly 15 minutes. (If you right-click you can download by selecting “save as” and play it at any time).

SoulCollage®

If you have a SoulCollage deck, I offer you the reading we came up with on the above call, which I titled A SoulCollage Reading for Uncertain Times. If you use it, I’d love you to share what you discover on my Facebook page, or by emailing it to me.

Music

I find music really useful for shifting my emotional state. To that end, I have several playlists on my iPod that have been essential these last months. My favorite is one I call Inspirations, which has songs like Let There Be Peace on Earth, Rainbow Connection, and I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing. If you don’t already have playlists by mood, I invite you to make some now and use them as often as needed. Create some playlists of songs that bring you peace or reconnect you to your optimism.

Be Inspired

Watch this as often as needed. “Today I will offer the world the wisdom of my heart.”

Expand your Perspective

If you would like to explore a different perspective on what’s happening—a big picture view—I suggest checking out the work of Barbara Marx Hubbard. Founder of The Foundation for Conscious Evolution, she is one of the first futurists and speaks about the evolution of humanity as . I find her theory that these crises we are facing are in essence the birthing pains of a new humanity to be reassuring. You can watch the short film, Humanity Ascending, for about $5 online, or subscribe to her newletter (linked at her name above) and get a code to watch it for free. So invite some friends over and take a look. It’s worth 40 minutes of your time and might just expand your view.

Vibrational Support

My constant companion these days is my Essence of Perelandra Infusion Pump. Many of you know of my love for Machaelle Wright of Perelandra, another woman writing about conscious evolution. Her work is about cocreating in partnership with Nature, and she has many books and products to help you bring greater balance and well-being into your life. The Infusion Pump is a new product that requires nothing of you but to wear it within 1 inch of your body. This little bottle carries the essence, or vibration, of balance, and those I’ve shared it with notice a difference when they wear it. It’s only $7, or you can buy a 5-pack so you have extras to give away or when you accidentally put yours through the wash (I’m personally shocked that I’ve yet to do that!).

Filter Filter Filter

Finally, if you find that the news is stressing you out, please find a way to filter what you are taking in. I have had to take a few giant steps back from Facebook for my own sanity. Many of the “news” articles there are inflammatory at best, or even untrue, and it is still challenging to tell the difference. I urge you to mindfully and intentionally choose the ways in which you stay informed. I remember reading once that watching disturbing news has a much greater effect on our nervous system than hearing or reading about it. Consider supporting reputable print journalism for awhile if your blood pressure is too high, if you feel overwhelmed or hopeless. Or perhaps you need a full sabbatical… the holidays would be a great time to completely disconnect for a few days or even a week. And if that feels impossible to do, perhaps ask a trusted friend to serve as your filter and alert you if there is something you absolutely must know or act upon.

It’s my intention that Our Sacred Pause be an beacon that supports women to be their best selves, and in doing so to change the world one awakened woman at a time. I hope that some of these simple tools will help you to find your center and to radiate your unique essence into the world.

If you feel an urgency to step into your brilliance but aren’t sure where to start or want some support along the way, my Art of Midlife Renaissance program may be for you. This 6-month program invites profound transformation and deep healing. I invite you to learn more about the program and sign up for a free 30-minute Exploration Session where we can uncover your own midlife yearnings and potential.

By | 2017-04-24T11:19:14+00:00 December 20, 2016|Midlife women, Mindfulness, Sacred Pause, Self-care|0 Comments

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