Asali: Collective Care Interview Series

April 19, 2017

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Asali!

Asali on tarot, acknowledging our humanity and a world with more love. Read the Collective Care interview! -- www.christytending.com

Asali, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

I am a queer Black femme community healer and earthworker. I work with the tarot, herbs, and crystals to work accessible care for both myself and others who live within marginalized identities. My healing practice is rooted in using self-care as a means to disrupt systems of oppression by contributing in some way to my community’s beautiful expansion and growth. When those of us at the margins not only survive but thrive, we shake up institutions that rely on our subjugation to profit.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

The daily task of living as a queer Black femme, with all the baggage that trauma (both mine and inter-generational), mental illness, and daily oppression weighs on me. I may be a healer, but I too still move within the many confines of this world and must also make a way – add to that an empathetic spirit that takes on others pain without question.

What inspires you to keep going?

I am thankful for everyday I am able to practice as a healer – the work keeps my heart lifted. As the world grows ever more tumultuous and cold, I’ve seen folks gather together and weave magic out of the worst of times. That keeps me going and moves me to contribute my own small part to that effort.

Moved by the light of ancestor warrior Audre Lorde, who said: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I affirm that when we take the time to seek for ourselves means of nourishment and elevation, when we take the time to prioritize caring for our mind, body, and spirit, we practice a radical act of resistance.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

Tarot was the first window into my own magic that allowed me to completely trust my instincts. Seeking the cards is one of those means by which we harness the wisdom and insight of the spirits that guide us, as well as honor our own intuition.

It was a relatively accessible way for me to trust that I had some power to work in my own life when I was at a particularly low point. I have healed (and always healing) and tarot continues to be what I turn to for affirmation, reassurance, or a different perspective. I join it with plant and moon magic to make self-care a daily practice that is non-negotiable.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

Ancestors, elders, and community keep me nourished and replenished. I pay special homage to the femmes who have moved in and out of my community (for good or ill) and the lessons we teach other about love and survival and the right to receive as much care as we give.

Elders who not only share their wisdom but practice it, modeling what it means to move with light no matter what darkness tries to grab at us- elders who also know what it means to survive a fight. My ancestors, both by blood and community lineage, who continue to disrupt our narrow notions of time and space.

Sitting with their spirits always keeps me going, knowing they love me and want me to be loved. All of these folks and spirits who have taught me the gift of the earth, and opened me up to pay attention to the magic of the moon, the elements, and plant magic that I can always return to when at a loss.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

First, ensure you have the space and energy for it. I was saved by lessons that taught me to give from the overflow of my magic. Acknowledging our humanity, our hurts, our traumas isn’t weakness but is the path to seeing our own spirits for what they are and accessing our own power to heal – and be healed.

After you learn to take care of yourself and receive it, work within your community to start with. The world might be vast and challenging, but there are always folks to sustain and help within your reach.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

Hmmm, a beautiful question. How about a world where hashtags do not have to remind us that lives matter? A world where trans women of color don’t live in fear of death but have every right to life in all its expanse. A world where people place honey on their tongues before speaking in order to ensure only sweetness spills out with their words.

A world with more love, yeah?

About Asali:

Asali is a Black queer femme community healer and earthworker writing, practicing, and creating at Asali Earthwork. With tarot, ritual, and earthwork she manifests magic for the everyday and the unusual, seeking healing for herself and her clients in order to clarify practical paths to what is sought.

Related:

You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

Post: What is Collective Care?

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Cultivating Intention to live a more sacred life

April 17, 2017

You can choose your inner state in any moment. Learn to cultivate clear intention to live a more sacred life. Plus, download your free self-care workbook inside! >> www.christytending.com

I believe that setting clear intention is one of the most powerful practices we can use to begin creating a life that feels more sacred. We can begin today. It doesn’t cost a thing. It doesn’t take any special training.

At the beginning of every workshop, I ask students to set their intention for the time we’re going to share. Intention is the tool I use instead of resolutions. I even think they’re more effective than goals at times.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Why intentions over goals? Because goals often rely on exterior circumstances.

Intention allows us to experience what we want to, on an interior level, regardless of what’s going on outside of us. They allow us to be present with ourselves, in integrity, without needing a particular outcome. So, regardless, we can remain our whole, grounded selves.

(Magnifique, non?)

So when it comes to creating a more sacred life, I don’t begin by reaching for the sage or the crystals.

I begin crafting more of what’s sacred from the inside out.

This is my best recipe for success.

First of all, what do I mean by “intention”?

Well, it’s not a goal. It’s not an outcome or a wish I’m hoping will come true.

Instead, it’s the tone that I’m setting for a particular phase of time. It’s the quality I want to embody. My intention is how I’m choosing to show up in a specific scenario, regardless of what happens. It’s how I ground myself and stay close to my heart.

Intention is the heart of integrity.

It keeps us rooted in our values and our truth. It doesn’t change. That intention is the spark for skillful response and action, no matter what. And blessedly, when we remember our intention, we can stay out of reactivity.

It lives independently of any contingency. It is ours to choose in any moment, at any time. If you want to live a life that feels more aligned, integrous, and sacred, begin with clear intention. It gives you a touchstone that you can return to, again and again, aiming yourself in the direction of what feels sacred to you.

So how do we create these intentions that lead to a more sacred life? For me, it is a process – an ongoing journey and practice.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

 

And, in my experience, this practice
has three main phases:

 

Setting your intention.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

Choose a single word or short phrase for how you want to show up in your body and in your life for the next hour. Maybe, after some practice, you stretch this out. Choose an intention for your day or week. Some people find value in choosing a word for the year.

The real action here is in the deciding. Your word or phrase doesn’t have to be perfect. Let it sum up the overall experience, but don’t worry about getting it just-so. We naturally refine our sacred vocabulary over time.

 

Matching and align yourself with your intention.

Throughout the time you’ve chosen, bring your mind back to your intention.

  • How is it going?
  • Are you aligned with that intention?
  • What could you say/do that would match the tone of the intention?
  • How could you bring more of its spirit into your words, choices, and actions?

No need to aim for perfection. Allow the intention to be a guiding light. Allow it to illuminate areas of unconsciousness or places where your life is out of alignment with what you find to be most sacred. This kind of feedback is meant to serve you and the sacredness you’re cultivating.

(No guilt or shame if you’re not 100% aligned out of the gate. You’re human.)

 

Refining your tone.

Once you’ve had some experience setting your intention and then matching that tone, begin to refine it. Maybe some words serve you better than others. Maybe some times of day feel more aligned for setting your intention.

Allow it to be an experiment. Invest in letting it be a process. Again, it’s not about the outcome, but continually bringing mindfulness and clear-hearted integrity to your daily life. Over time, you’ll develop an intention-setting practice that works for you.

It will point you in the direction that you want to go, until you get closer and closer to that which is most sacred to you.

 

Related Posts:

 

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

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Pip Bennett: Collective Care Interview Series

April 12, 2017

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Pip Bennett!

Pip Bennett on making change at home, being present, and combining forces. Read the Collective Care interview! >> www.christytending.com

Pip, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

I have always felt that my purpose in life is to help others. For the last ten or so years, I have worked with young people, both internationally and locally here in New Zealand, to grow their capacity and voice. During my time working across the social and environmental justice sectors, I’ve seen the effects of the way we work, both on myself and on others. We strive to do good for others so much that we leave ourselves behind in the dust. So I also provide support to women changing the world to help them have an impact without burning out.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

There are so many challenges! Life is full of them – when you pass one, there’s always another one coming around the corner. Some of the biggest things that stress me come from within myself – my perception and worries about things. The more I learn about myself, my body and my mind, the more I am able to accept the challenges and focus on working through them rather than obsessing over them in my head.

What inspires you to keep going?

I know that there is work to be done. I can’t save the entire world but I can make little things better. I see that when I’m present for people, to accept them as they are and listen to their stories. It helps that what I work on are my obsessions – I’m always looking to learn more and grow myself too.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

I try to make regular time to do things that feel good, such as reading, listening to podcasts, spend time with loved ones. When things are really tough – when I am swamped with work and responsibilities – I have to force myself to make time to look after myself, as it is always put at bottom of the priority list. Making time to spend time alone is important for me, to unwind and get back to myself after spending my time caring for and about others.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

Collaboration is a huge aspect of my work. I love connecting with others who are passionate about the same things as me and working together on a project. Working in community means that by combining your forces, you can share not only your resources, but also your energy and challenges.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

I hear so many stories from people who want to go overseas to help, like all of the bad things in the world are “over there”. It’s easy to rock up to a foreign country and believe you are helping, simply because you don’t understand the complexities of the context. There is SO much you can do at home. And that counts. You don’t have to do good things far away for them to count as making a difference.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

I’m hoping for a world where people take action where they can – that they care and are mindful about the way they live their lives. This includes companies. I know that money speaks and we vote with our dollars, but I do wish that more companies would purposefully pursue sustainable options without having to first be pressured by consumers.

About Pip:

Pip is a youth development worker, writer and professional supervisor. She supports women changing the world to have an impact without burning out at Hermosas Chispas.

How to connect:

Hermosas Chispas

Related:

You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

Post: What is Collective Care?

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Pregnancy Self-Care Essentials Resource Guide

April 7, 2017

Sacred Circle: pregnancy self-care essentials – books, nourishment, recipes, and more. Plus, sign up to receive the free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

 

In the spirit of my Sacred Circle round-ups, and in honor of my maternity leave, I’ve assembled all of my favorite self-care resources and practices from my pregnancy. This list is meant to be representative of what worked for me, only. As ever, please check with your practitioner before using any of these, especially if you’re pregnant. (And congratulations!)

~ Christy

 

Helpful Books:

Mindful Birthing

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Childbirth Without Fear

My sweetie read The Birth Partner and got a lot out of it.

I also, in general, read a lot on meditation and metta during my pregnancy, especially books by Sylvia Boorstein.

Also, Big Magic. Not a pregnancy book, but beyond good and super-inspiring.

 

Food and Nourishment:

New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin

I drank copious amounts of the prenatal tea blends from Traditional Medicinals and Homestead Apothecary

Cookbooks: Love Soup | Smitten Kitchen

General food practices:

One of the most common questions I’ve received while pregnant was about food cravings. I really haven’t craved many strange foods (unless you count the copious Tums I inhaled for my heartburn in the second trimester).

Foods I’ve been eating a lot, though, include: pineapple, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, vegetable soups, anything leafy and dark green, ginger kombucha, white beans

More than ever, making big batches of healthy recipes and eating them over the course of several days. Adding cooked greens or salad and maybe a little cold tofu where necessary. But not having to cook from scratch every single day has been a blessing.

 

Pampering:

These face masks from alba botanical

Honest Company’s belly balm

This lip balm is my all-time favorite.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee leg creamCook’s Organics foot cream.

Pre-natal massage at Glow Oakland

For warmth (because I never really got the overheating thing that some pregnant mamas do): Microwave buckwheat heat pillows   |   Hot water bottles for my feet at night.   |   This super-lux wrap for chilly mornings.

 

Practices:

Physical and mindfulness practice:

In my sixth month, I went on an 8-day, 7-night silent meditation retreat, where I immersed myself in the practice of metta. I cannot recommend taking time away by yourself during pregnancy more. I absolutely loved my experience. Metta has supported me in myriad ways during my pregnancy, and is one of my most vital self-care practices.

Simple, mindful breathing practices like this one.

Pre-natal yoga, walking whenever possible, and being in nature.

Life practice:

Many, many date nights.

Staying off message boards.

Not reading too many books or making it overly cerebral.

Taking a handful of classes, but mostly trusting my own instincts and my practitioners.

 

For Travel While Pregnant:

Compression socks from Sockwell

This eyemask

My trusty Kleen Kanteen to stay hydrated

Justin’s individual almond butter packs = Life. Saver.

Bringing my own tea, so that I have caffeine-free options on the plane.

Getting foot or hand massages, once I reach my destination. Also, I got a cute haircut when we were traveling in Tokyo that came with an awesome scalp massage and really boosted my mood.

 

For the Baby:

Quite honestly, we haven’t bought a bunch of baby things. We’ve been fortunate recipients of a lot of hand-me-downs. There are a handful of things I’m loving, though:

Kim Krans’ books are divine.

I love anything from the company Milkbarn. Everything they make is so cute.

These wooden toys.

I’m also loving my glider – kind of like a rocking chair, but with more gentle movement. I bought mine new, but I’m sure you can find a used one on the cheap.

 

* None of this is meant to diagnose, treat, or (in any way, shape or form) recommend something that may not be right for you. Please check with your provider before attempting any of this. This list of resources is reflective only of my experience and what worked for me.

Organized under Sacred Circle, Summertime Series. none

Grace Quantock: Collective Care Interview Series

April 5, 2017

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Grace Quantock!

Grace Quantock on increasing compassion, balancing needs & rhythms, and blazing a new trail. Read the Collective Care interview! >> www.christytending.com

Grace, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

I love changing the world through increasing compassion – in myself and in others. I help people who want to heal by creating bespoke ethical gifts at my non-profit Healing Boxes CIC at http://healing-boxes.com and offering writing, teaching and psycho-spiritual depth coaching on living well with pain, illnesses at http://gracequantock.com.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

Balancing my needs and rhythms with the requirements and deadlines of the world. It’s a constant dance I am feeling my way into.

What inspires you to keep going?

Seeing the difference my work makes in the world and knowing that I have the massively privileged opportunity to be able to do this work in the world and I want to use this opportunity to it’s fullest.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

I am deeply nourished and replenished by time with my dogs and horse, time in the garden, time at the canvas, intuitively painting and time at my celtic harp, playing and learning. I am nourished on the mat, on my plate with vegan, ethical eating and in my relationships, for which I am so blessed.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

My beloveds; my husband, my dogs and horse, the land, my family and friends, as well as my community in The Wellness Trailblazers’ Cafe are all wonderful support on this journey.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

You are a revolution, an instigation, a coup d’etat de la couer waiting to spring. You are needed, wanted, longed for. No matter what they said there are people who love you. You, dear heart, are worth fighting for. Believe me when I say the world is waiting for you and all you have to offer. It could be a novel, an invention or the love you give when you are baking. Our dreams can be grand(ios) or humbly filled with love. That doesn’t matter. You and the calling in your heart matters.

You are an angel, an answered prayer, a rainbow hope, a miracle worker, a kind heart, a untapped resource, a potential inspiration explosion, a waiting-hiding clear blue fountain. You are the potential of the ages hidden inside you.

You are the result of a million years of evolution.

You are the cumulation, the success, the thriving survival of all your ancestors.

You are the instigation and hope for future generations.

You are here on this beautiful planet for a tiny fraction, a mayfly, firework, glittering second. You have too little time, and too much talent to waste.

You are an un-renewable resource, if you burn-out, get stuck, drown in overwhelm and quit, the world will never experience what you can give in the way you can give it. And honestly, we can’t risk loosing that. To survive, the world needs all of us, now. So please, take care of yourself so that you can do your soul-work. Go gently and know that I am grateful for you.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

I want to live in a world where you are loved, accepted & supported & when illness, disability, trauma or grief throws your life off track you can blaze a new trail to the true you.

About Grace:

Grace Quantock is an award-winning international wellness expert, coach, author and motivational speaker. She is the founder of Healing Boxes CIC and Grace Quantock Trailblazing Wellness (Un)Ltd.

How to connect:

Related:

You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

Post: What is Collective Care?

Guest post from Grace: Strength in the Tenderest Places

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Announcing the new edition of Real Self-Care: a digital toolkit to craft awesome self-care

April 3, 2017

Of everything I’ve created in my work, Real Self-Care, perhaps more than anything else, has been my baby. A labor of love. An expression of what I believe on my most heartfelt level: that self-care is possible for all.

Which is why I’m so proud to introduce it in its new form: a digital toolkit that’s robust, beautiful and actionable. So that you can create awesome self-care to support your important world-changing and healing work.

 

Already know you want the toolkit? Get it now!

 

The evolution of Real Self-Care: a timeline

September 2015: The Real Self-Care blog series debuts. 30 days of simple, sweet, and actionable posts to nurture my personal self-care practice and inspire my readers.

March 2016: Real Self-Care becomes an e-book – a 30-day manual with new practices added and plenty of space for journaling and reflection.

April 2016: I created my free Real Self-Care Planner, which has been downloaded more than 2,000 times!

September 2016: Real Self-Care gets an update. I add a bonus mini e-book with extra inspiration and a video training to create your self-care foundation.

Early 2017: Real Self-Care transforms into a robust digital toolkit, with videos, workbooks, and audio components. The toolkit now includes three modules: to set your foundation, gather inspiration, and make your self-care meaningful.

 

Why Real Self-Care?

I began writing this series to dissolve myths about self-care. I wanted to demonstrate that, even in the midst of a busy life, self-care is possible on a daily basis. This is my mission: for you to know that it’s possible.

There are four pillars of awesome self-care. It should be custom, intuitive, feasible, and kind. Real Self-Care aims to support you in creating that strong foundation of self-care so that you can access it in any moment. Inside, I’ve included doable practices that don’t require tons of time, new expertise, or extra stuff. Because self-care isn’t about bubble baths and yoga retreats in Bali. It’s about making it yours, so you can support your own heart.

Real Self-Care emerged from a desire to cut the crap when it comes to self-care. It doesn’t need to be lofty or luxurious to be nourishing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or even time-consuming to be effective.

 

Self-care is the act of consistently being your own best ally.

Self-care is the act of consistently being your own best ally. Click To Tweet

It’s really about getting as close to your own heart as possible. In our current culture, this is downright revolutionary.

I took myself through the same process that I now offer inside Real Self-Care. It began as a way to reflect on what self-care meant to be personally. Part experimentation, part walking my talk – I wanted to really immerse myself in one practice every day for a month.

It was challenging to keep up every day – a good reminder that even I need to slow down sometimes. But it left me feeling deeply nourished and with great food for thought when it came to how I wanted to offer self-care.

 

Since then, Real Self-Care has shifted a lot.

As you can see above, it has grown from blog series to book, with new bonuses added every few months, and reaching people all over the world along the way. In our small way, we are letting Real Self-Care become a people-powered revolution in how we conceptualize and act on our self-care.

I am so honored to have it touch so many peoples’ lives.

 

Now, Real Self-Care is shifting again.

It is becoming a multi-module digital toolkit, to set your foundation, gather inspiration, and make it meaningful. There are videos, workbooks, audios, and a super-fab resource guide. Plus bonus mini-ebooks.

As ever, the heart of Real Self-Care is the e-book and journal that started it all. Thirty days of practices. Thirty days of reflection pages. Enough empowerment, inspiration, and gusto to help you create an amazing self-care practice you’ll use the rest of your life.

I’m so proud. I hope you love it.

 

How it’s impacted people:

Olwen Wilson Testimonial for Real Self-Care

Ashley Beaudin Testimonial

Kelsey Baker Testimonial for Real Self-Care

 

Thank you for being here. Thank you for celebrating with me!

 

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Jennifer Sterling: Collective Care Interview Series

March 29, 2017

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Jennifer Sterling!

Jennifer Sterling on honoring bodies' wisdom and small steps that add up to big goals. Read the Collective Care interview! -- www.christytending.com

Jennifer, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

I’m a Holistic Nutritionist and Chef who teaches women to treat themselves well physically, mentally and emotionally.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

The messages that women hear constantly about their bodies that makes them feel as though they need to diet and make themselves smaller in order to be happy.

What inspires you to keep going?

The joy I feel when women are able to stop dieting and honor their bodies’ wisdom.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

I am nourished by good food, movement (mostly dance), daily mediation and a great music.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

My friends take impeccable care of themselves which reminds me to treat myself well. We support each other in life and business by making the time to connect and creating the space for conversation and discussion about everything from politics to restaurant openings.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

Do it! Even if the actions you take to reach your goal are small, all of those small steps will add up to be something big.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

The more compassionate world and future I imagine is one where everyone is free – free to be who they are authentically and walk down the street without fear. It is a space where people are treated with kindness, love and compassion no matter the color of their skin, sexual preference, gender or abilities.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Sterling M.S is a Holistic Nutritionist and Chef. As a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Hawthorn University and the International Culinary Center, Jennifer uses her extensive knowledge of food, nutrition, and psychology to help her clients nourish themselves at the table, and away from it.

How to connect:

Related:

You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

Post: What is Collective Care?

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Dissolving Resistance to Create Awesome Self-Care

March 27, 2017

I hear a lot of self-care myths in my work. I know that sometimes self-care gets a bad rap – or that it seems just out of reach. Luckily for all of us, I know in my heart that not only is self-care possible – but that it can be amazing.

But before we can truly accept self-care as something of which we are deserving (and therefore make a truly nourishing experience), we need to dissolve some of our resistance to caring for ourselves.

There are a million self-care myths and so many narratives that reinforce the idea that self-care is selfish or out of reach. Dissolve your resistance to self-care in order to create truly awesome self-care. Plus, download your free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

Let’s look at some of the myths about self-care and see if we can move them out of the way, shall we?

“I’m so busy!”

Self-care doesn’t need to be time-consuming. It can be simple and brief, just so long as it’s intentional. Even just a few deep breaths might support you through your day. Taking baby steps is the key to awesome self-care.

In fact, I recommend against diving into a time-consuming complicated self-care practice when you’re first starting out. Go slow. Break it down into bite-sized pieces.

This will keep you out of a state of overwhelm, which will only discourage you from further self-care. And you’ll experience real success. Let this success build on itself slowly.

The fact is, self-care is a life-long practice. You can’t do it all in one day. So, proceed with gentleness and don’t add more to your plate than you can hand.

“I can’t afford it!” or “I need more stuff before I can start!”

Um, no. (I’ll refer you to this blog post. And this one over here.)

It’s a myth that self-care is all bubble baths, overflowing bowls of bon-bons, or a Hawaiian vacation. But you can begin your self-care right here and now. Self-care begins as an interior experience: nothing fancy, just you and your heart.

You don’t even need to get off the couch. You can start with your interior narrative. It’s possible to start practicing self-care without spending a single dime. Because the heart of self-care is self-compassion and mindful presence.

“I don’t know where to start!” or “I don’t know how!”

You don’t need any kind of special training. Why? Because you are already the expert in your own experience. You might need a little inspiration, but no one knows you better than you. Which means you don’t need a guru.

You just need to be present.

Begin by setting an intention. Start with a few deep breaths. Have a glass of water. Whatever the smallest action is that you can think of that would feel good right now, do that.

The fact is, we are all the experts in our own experience. So often, we already know exactly what we need to feel good.

“I feel guilty!”

The truth is, you are inherently deserving of incredible self-care. In fact, self-care can often be the gateway to dissolving guilt.

Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s survival. In a world that supports so many systems of oppression, it can be difficult to remember that you are not as disposable as everything else it manufactures. You are not disposable at all. You are a precious human deserving of love.

(Ahh… does that feel better?)

I created The Real Self-Care Toolkit to dissolve these myths and empower you in your self-care so you can live a more mindful, joyful, and heart-felt life.

Look, I know.

Our culture loves to teach us that we aren’t good enough – that we don’t have enough, do enough, or exist perfectly enough.

But that’s a nasty lie. We are perfect and deserving exactly as we are. Self-care isn’t something you earn, it’s a birthright. We are all worthy of compassionate action on our own behalf.

No matter what the powers that be say, you can claim self-care any time you like.

I believe in that, and I believe in you.

It’s why I created The Real Self-Care Toolkit with you (and your actual life) in mind.

Or, start by downloading your free planner:

Organized under Real Self-Care, Self-Care. none

Emily Van Engel: Collective Care Interview Series

March 22, 2017

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Emily van Engel!

Emily Van Engel on art that examines our relationship with our planet, having a plan, and creating a body of work. Read the Collective Care interview! >> www.christytending.com

Emily is a dear, dear friend – and exceptional artist who examines our relationship with our planet is gorgeous and fascinating ways through her art. Her pieces aren’t just depictions, but conversation starters. Her work is layered (literally and figuratively) in ways that honor the complexity of our world – how it is and how it could be.

I’m so excited to share her wisdom with you today!

Emily, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

Thanks for inviting me to participate, Christy!

I make art that looks at our relationship with our environment. I see myself as a change-maker because I want everyone on our planet to live in a clean and safe environment, and the art is about getting to that place. The work is unpaid, although I occasionally sell some art.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

Something that weighs on my heart is the knowledge that conducting business as usual in many countries on our planet is on track to change our climate globally, changing how we’ve experienced weather thus far, potentially changing the livability (both physically and politically) of much of the planet for many of us.

I know that there’s action I can take; for me it’s initiating conversations about this topic either in person or through my art. But that presents another challenge because I sometimes feel like I’m not doing enough because the problem is still there.

However, I know that I can’t just pull all-nighters and make art 24/7. Taking care of myself is integral to that process of facing the challenge.

What inspires you to keep going?

Seeing other artists’ bodies of work inspires me. I once googled Picasso and scrolled through pages and pages of artwork, and felt my own drive to create such a prolific body of work. It helped me get into an inspired mindset of creating.

I’m also inspired to see other artists, activists and writers address climate change. There are so many angles to approach the topic and it reminds me that my voice is part of a larger picture.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

I recognize that I have several goals; make the art, earn income, take care of my health, just to name a few. And that usually the action that I take to satisfy one goal doesn’t overlap with another… or at least in the present moment, making art while going for a hike is not a paid activity (but I won’t rule it out entirely).

There have been times when I felt like I was falling short in one area while I was in the in the middle of actively pursuing another goal; I was constantly feeling pulled and torn. While pondering your question this week, I happened to tune in to one of my favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend, where the two hosts, Ann Friedman and Aminatou So, addressed this topic of work/life balance in a witty and insightful way.

Ann Friedman said; “‘Having it all’ is a lie from the pit of hell sold to women so we’ll feel bad about ourselves all the time and work harder for capitalism.” (Call Your Girlfriend, Episode 71) I agree with their take on recognizing that there’s more to do than there’s possibly time for, and the solution lies in being okay with the choices that you make. For me, having a plan to be in my studio, go for a walk, or pursue paid work later that day or later that week, and building in the time and space to follow up with it, helps me stay in the present moment and focus on the activity at hand.

Also, taking breaks and having veg-out time replenishes me. Being proactive about these breaks somehow multiplies the effect for me, perhaps because I can look forward to them. I have an hour-plus train commute to my grad school program where I usually plan on doing school-related reading and work, but one day I decided to throw a magazine instead of my school materials into my bag, and I felt light and giddy with the prospect of reading for pleasure. (I also have been known to just stare out the window with the bag unopened, or listen to podcasts).

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

I receive so much support from my partner and my family to do the art, that I feel that I couldn’t really prioritize it the way that I do without them. (I’m talking encouragement and financial support.) I also have a few friends that double as exercise partners, so twice a week I have regularly scheduled hikes, which is fun and social, and making the plan with someone else helps me be accountable to follow through.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

There are many ways to show up for and take action on something that you care about, so first I want to stress that there’s not just one way. Some possibilities include learning more about a topic by reading and research, attending a community event, or volunteering time and/or money to groups doing good work.

I’ve been thinking lately about the phrase “take care of yourself so you can take care of others,” so on that note I will say that whatever you do, show up full (well-rested, present, or whatever that means to you individually) so you can be in a place where you can be yourself and truly give.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

I laughed out loud when I first read this question because this is literally the reason why I’m in grad school now. I yearn to paint what it looks like to live in a world where we have ceased the behaviors that are causing climate change.

But since I don’t know exactly what that looks like, I am slowing down and giving myself time and space to explore it. But in all seriousness, even though I can’t paint this picture, I have a hunch that at the underbelly of a more compassionate world is an economy that is based on generosity.

About …:

Emily Van Engel’s paintings and glass work look at our relationship with the environment. She exhibits her work in the California Bay Area and is a candidate for an MFA in Pictorial Art at San Jose University.

How to connect:

emilyvanengel.com
etsy.com/shop/EmilyVanEngel
redbubble.com/people/emilyvanengel/portfolio?asc=u

Related:

You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

Post: What is Collective Care?

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Creating Self-Care That’s Custom (not cookie-cutter)

March 20, 2017

Excellent self-care is self-care that's truly custom – never cookie-cutter. Learn how to create your own custom self-care plan. Plus grab your free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

When I work with groups (usually in non-profit settings) to help them develop self-care, there are always a few skeptics in the room. “What if I’m not into ‘woo-woo’ things?” they ask. “What if I like going to the movies or dancing in clubs to unwind?” “What if I [they always get quiet] hate yoga and meditation?”

All good questions. And I will tell you, I’m never, ever offended, even though I’ve been a yoga and meditation practitioner my whole adult life. Why?

Because I know that my self-care won’t look like your self-care.

Self-care is different for everyone. In order to be self-care, it need to be custom, not cookie-cutter.

Different things that feel good and rightful for them.

Each of us has a different schedule, budget, source of inspiration. We have a different set of priorities, interests, and things that bring us joy and healing. We have different bodies and unique personalities that shape what feels nourishing, replenishing, and healing.

Custom self-care honors our unique selves with unique care.

So, when I’m teaching in groups, I never offer a self-care prescription. It’s more like a treasure hunt or a choose your own adventure. It’s not something that anyone can ever create for you.

For self-care do its true restorative work, it needs to be completely customized to you. Like a fingerprint.

Custom self-care honors your sacredness.

Cookie-cutter self-care only squelches your spirit.

Your custom self-care may not even look the same day to day, week to week, or season to season.

This is truly custom self-care: care that adapts itself to your ever-changing life and ever-evolving needs. Once you understand this, and how to create this customized self-care, you have a practice that will last you a lifetime. Because it’s never over. There is always an opportunity for that restorative healing to take place – whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

If you’re looking to create custom self-care, I recommend beginning with these three questions:

(Seriously, take out a journal or notebook and answer each of these for yourself.)

What do I know?

You are already an intuitive expert in yourself. In fact: no one will ever know you as well as you already know yourself. Which means that you’re the person best positioned to be an advocate and champion of your self-care.

Write down: What do you already know about yourself? What information is already available to you?

What is my life actually like?

Not the life you wish you had. Not your Pinterest-perfect life. And not even your Instagram-filtered life.

Your real, actual life. No fixing or filtering.

This doesn’t mean you can’t make meaningful life changes. It just means that, for today, your self-care needs to meet your actual reality face-to-face in order to be effective and to feel joyful.

What are the circumstances that lead you to seek self-care? What are the limitations in your way? Finally: what is possible, right here and now? Begin there. Don’t be afraid to evolve, but be even less cautious about beginning.

What feels good?

This is important, and loops us back to those initial questions I get from my skeptics. What feels good for me, won’t necessarily feel good (or even be appropriate) for you. Which is totally okay!

It just means that you need to get really clear on what does feel good. What lights you up? When do you feel most yourself? What kinds of activities are you always glad you did?

Knowing yourself well enough to know what brings you pleasure is a deeply important dimension of self-care. While self-care can lead us to uncomfortable truths or through tough emotions, most of the time, it should be something that brings us comfort, joy, and a sense of well-being.

 

Related:

Organized under Real Self-Care, Self-Care. none