|I breathe in, and I know I am breathing in. I breathe out, and I know I am breathing out. Breathing … and allowing this breath … and this one … to soothe me from the inside. Noticing the rhythm of the body breathing. Nurturing, nourishing, rocking myself like a child in my own arms. Turning towards myself with tenderness, the breath softening the rough edges of stress, anxiety and pain, like water washing over stones. Finding stillness, even if just for right now, and welcoming myself back to myself. Breathing, and then asking silently in my mind: “what do you need, Nikki? What do you need right now, in this moment?” |
This is my practice.
It has taken me a long time to cultivate this simple practice of self care — one of several I’ve added to my repertoire over the last few years. It has taken even longer to put down what I thought self care was “supposed” to be, or beliefs about what it wasn’t supposed to be. I have learned that taking care of myself is simply that — taking an opportunity to show myself care. Caring for me by meeting my own needs. By listening in to the wisdom of my body and emotions. By honoring my limits. By even loving myself, if I dare. That last one took especially long to lean into, loving myself, and even still is hard when a torrent of self doubt and judgment storm though my heart.
At retreat this past week, one of my teachers described each of us as buckets … buckets that we must keep full of love and nourishment in order to experience our lives with presence and connection. She invited us to consider that only once our own bucket is full can we effectively care for others from the overflow. Sometimes I feel like my bucket has a hole … or several … that I am constantly plugging up in haste as I run from one task to the other. Self care can fill the holes … the holes being the things in my life that are unnecessary drains on my energy (for example for me that means saying yes when I want to say no). And self care can also fill our bucket once the holes are plugged … filling us up with love and goodness to the point that our bucket runneth over.
This month, as the long dog days of summer are upon us, I invite you to redefine what self care means to you. Put more SELF into self care … finding the ways unique to you that fill your bucket. Here is a fun mnemonic that we will be reviewing each week this month that outlines four simple steps to discovering your own self care practice.
C — Clarity, or the process of becoming aware of our needs based on what is in the present
A — Affection, or tending to the garden of our hearts, minds and bodies from a place of love
R — Removing Obstacles, including filling the holes like I mentioned above or removing what may be in the way of practicing effective self care on the regular
E — and Evolve, or allowing our self care practices to be in an ongoing state of evolution as our needs change
With Metta — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
by Danna Faulds
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still,
and just like that, something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection.
The harsh voice of judgment drops to a whisper and
I remember again that life isn’t a relay race; that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice to stop,
to breathe, and be,
and walk slowly into the mystery
Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches. Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance.