Choosing Self-Care in 2011

I stumbled into my first Shadow Process Workshop thinking that I had it all together.  I was a successful self-employed “healer”, single mom, managing the mortgage and bills, and caring for my elderly, blind father, just as I had cared for my mother.  I could keep all the plates spinning like a circus performer, no problem!  What I realized that weekend was that I was exhausted, burned out, and felt like a fraud.  I left liking myself for the first time in a very long time and I was excited about the possibilities that were growing as a result. I couldn’t wait to begin my life seeing with a fresh perspective with an awareness and enthusiasm that I had never known.

One of the biggest gifts I received is realizing that every day I have a choice.  My perceived obligations were just that “perceived”.  When I woke each day realizing that I could choose to care for my elderly father, my child and my clients, my life changed.  I no longer felt exhausted and put upon.  It was the beginning of a healing journey that
continues today. My favorite “tool” is Debbie Ford’s book, “The Right Questions”. I have used it in women’s support groups and book studies.  If you read this book and practice the questions in your daily life, you’ll learn that every choice you make, even choices that seem to be the least important, have a big impact on how you show up, who you will be tomorrow and how your future will evolve. It is simply brilliant.

As we say good-bye to 2010 and embark on a new adventure in the New Year, I want to share some coaching tips.   As a daily practice, I know they will lighten your load, energize you, and make room for more love in your heart.

Each and every day make the choice to:

  • Put yourself at the top of your “to do” list. Whether or not you are a caregiver, the demands of our busy lives takes us out of the habit of caring for ourselves, if we ever did.  Put your appointments with yourself in your day planner first. Time to exercise, relax, prepare nourishing food, and play time with loved ones. This can give you the fuel to use your “working” hours with greater efficiency. And when you choose to give to others it will be with joy.
  • Live in a state of awareness and presence. Notice when, where, how and with whom you are inspired and notice where you are dragged down. “Energy sucks” of any kind need to be recognized and eliminated in order to live your best life. Choose to surround yourself with uplifting and inspiring people, places and things.
  • Notice where fear runs you and step into faith. Recognize how often decisions are based in the past and the fear that nothing will work out. Bring faith to your fear and affirm that there is no truth that the past determines your future. Faith tells you that you are always connected to a greater source that will guide and protect you. Ask for that guidance and allow it in.
  • See the gift in adversity. Whether you are experiencing a “crappy day” or are in a really awful situation, there are lessons to be learned and gifts to receive. Ceasing to resist and accepting “what is”, will allow you to invite the lesson into your life that will ultimately diminish your distress.
  • Say NO. Nothing can get you into more trouble than saying yes when you really want to say NO. Be truthful and honest right from the beginning. Having to make an excuse later or berating yourself for over committing is an energy drain. It takes practice to get over the “guilt” of saying NO, but it’s worth it.
  • Reach out for help/Offer help. Humans are social. We need community. Though it is important that we do our own “work” to avoid co-dependence, we are not intended to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. People want to help. Just ask. Return the favor. Share your talents, strengths and gifts with others. Your heart will overflow.
  • Practice gratitude. Of course you know this, but has gratitude become a practice? Keep a journal or notebook by your bed and write down five things you’re grateful for each morning and evening. This will shift your perspective from lack to abundance.

Happy 2011 !

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