How to practice: candle-gazing meditation

November 30, 2017

Learn to meditate. In this post, learn how to practice candle-gazing meditation. Plus grab your free meditation toolkit! >> www.christytending.com

There are so many forms of meditation that it can be tough to know where to start. Today, I’m offering simple instructions for candle-gazing meditation, a form of concentration practice. The concept is simple: during meditation practice to focus one’s attention on the flame of a candle.

Also called Trataka meditation, this practice is said to relieve stress, enhance memory and concentration, and provide deep relaxation.

Choosing your candles:

I recommend choosing unscented 100% soy or beeswax candles. Many candles contain toxic chemicals, and many perfumes or added scents also contain unhealthy ingredients.As they burn, you will be breathing in the candles’ vapors. Best to find candles with the fewest ingredients, colors, scents or additives.

Finding a comfortable seat:

Choose either a cushion on the floor or a chair.

If on the floor, make sure that your knees can easily drape down below the bowl of your pelvis. Ensure that your spine can stretch long and upright. If either of these is a challenge, use additional cushioning underneath your seat.

If in a chair, I recommend sitting on the edge of the chair. Again, the spine should be long and upright. Feet should be flat on the floor.

Place your hands in your lap or on your thighs, your choice of whether to have your palms facing up or down.

Set up  your space:

Choose a quiet, somewhat dark or dim place. If you need additional warmth, add a sweater or shawl. (Your body temperature will drop after you’ve been sitting for a while.) Turn off and set aside any devices or distractions.

Place a small table three to four feet in front of where you will be seated, and place a candle on the flat surface, so that it is at or just below eye level. Light the candle. Ensure that there are no cross-breezes that could disturb the flame as you practice.

Practice:

Find your comfortable seat. Relax the space around your eyes. Breathe softly and easefully – allow the breath to lengthen as you settle your body and mind.

Place your gaze on the candle’s flame (rather than the candle itself or the wick). Bring your full attention there, allowing thoughts, outside sensations or movements to settle and cease. If you do find yourself distracted by a thought or emotion, gently bring your attention back to the candle’s flame.

If your eyes get tired, allow yourself to blink. Do not strain your eyes.

At the conclusion of your meditation, close your eyes for a few moments and breathe deeply. At this point, you may either open your eyes and allow yourself to come back into the room fully – or continue with a different form of meditation, such as lovingkindness or mindfulness meditation.

 

Related:

 

The Lovingkindness Toolkit: because meditation can feel kind, compassionate and revolutionary. Download the free mini-toolkit to begin your practice today! >> www.christytending.com

Organized under Lovingkindness, Self-Care. none

My word for 2018: Golden

November 20, 2017

My word for 2018- Golden. Self-care tips and self-care practices for the new year. Plus sign up for the free self-care mini-course here! >> www.christytending.com

Past words of the year:

2015: Sacred Focus
2016: Fly
2017: Trust

When I sat down to choose a word for 2017, it was about what I knew I needed. No matter what, I knew that 2017 was going to bring a lot of changes. I wanted to be ready, and to have a word that would be an ally in that journey.

For 2017, I chose Trust.

At the time, I wrote:

When this word popped into my head, it was out of necessity. It was out of a deep craving for something solid and true and steadfast.

That sounds about right.

I wrote about trusting myself, trusting my wisdom and knowing (which evolved into my course on intuition), trusting the process, and becoming trustworthy. I wrote:

For me, trust is the choice to step into an experience of my own power.

And, honestly, Trust has been perfect. I have had to make some decisions that scared me. I have had to release things that I’d been holding onto tightly. Perhaps most notably, I became a parent.

(This has been both the greatest act and most profound process of learning to trust ever.)

Trust has served me well.

For 2018, I have something different in mind. It’s no longer about what I need, but about what I deeply crave. What I want is to stand in the light of what I’ve created. I want soft warmth, with glittering strands of magic woven through each day. I’ve spent the last few years in full-tilt hustle, in many ways. It’s been sacred and focused, but now I’m ready to bask in the goodness I’ve created.

I’m a little afraid to admit it, but I’m also ready for abundance in ways I haven’t experienced before.

What sums all of this up?

My word for 2018 is Golden.

It’s the quality of light before dusk, when everything is bathed in that soft glow. It’s the quiet of sitting in my glider with my sleeping kiddo in my lap, knowing that it’s the only place I have to be. It is sacred abundance; thoughtful, elegant simplicity; and wise, grounded brilliance.

I find the experience of Golden:

…sitting in silent meditation

…on luxuriously long walks on appointment-free afternoons

…when I open my closet and love the clothes in which I’m getting dressed (and don’t see the clutter of things that don’t fit/suit me, for whatever reason)

…in the act of holding space as a mentor, teacher, and healer and when I dare to own my expertise

…using all of the sacred tools I have at my disposal: tarot cards, stones, animal allies, plants, yoga asana and philosophy, poetry, meditation photography, and writing.

…when I show up with respect and devotion for whatever practice I’m in at the moment.

…doing one thing well at a time.

It feels like slow, light-drenched, devoted, and abundant.

It smells like butter and vanilla and lavender. Maybe it sounds like traditional Appalachian folk songs or 70’s funk (both mainstays of my current favorite Spotify playlist I’ve made). Its colors are gold (obviously), but also mink-grey, burnt umber, turquoise, and that plum-color of dusk. It feels like softness in all forms (but maybe especially cashmere?) and sunshine on my skin and sliding into a hot epsom salt bath. It tastes like turmeric tea and berry sauce.

How I’m taking action to bring more Golden to my life in 2018:

  • Asking for and receiving help. Some of my favorite help is childcare, supportive partnership, friendship, food, a sounding board, thoughtful feedback, and regular massages.
  • Bringing myself back to devotional practice. Right now, that’s my weekly writing class, meditation practice, my climate justice collective, and the work you see here.
  • Taking work-free family days, to tend to my home and spend time with my loves, without the sensation that there’s anything work related I’m “supposed” to be doing on those days.
  • Bringing older pieces of work into new, evolved forms. Making the experience of studying with me more luxurious, lush, and sacred-feeling. Putting more pauses into the work, so that my students can truly savor each bit.

What this means for you:

I’ll only be running Sacred Focus once in 2018. I’ll be closing Hella Metta on December 15th, and only opening it for registration twice next year. Your Magical Intuition will be coming back in late spring. I’m working on a brand-new, year-long program to debut in the second half of next year. (Stay tuned for that!)

 

I’m excited for all of the potential here for all the Golden has to offer. I’m ready for the rest, softness, brilliance, and fullness it has to offer. Mostly, I’m ready to stand in the light.

Want to join me? The best place to start is with my free self-care course, The Tiny Little Self-Care Class. Grab your seat!

Organized under Everyday Sacred, Real Self-Care. none

Your Magical Intuition

October 24, 2017


Announcing my newest course:
Your Magical Intuition

There are many ways to know: in our hearts, our guts, in our minds, on an energetic level. There is more than one way to be sure.

I believe in the intuition as a source of wisdom, of magic.

When I was little, I could look at someone and tell exactly where they hurt. When I was in high school, I could tell when the animals in my life were happy, sad, or scared. Now when I make decisions, I breathe each option into my body, to see how it feels.

When students come to me, they are share a belief in the value of self-care and a longing for healing. But they also share a common struggle: knowing what to do next.

I am so excited to announce my newest course: Your Magical Intuition.

Learning to be in sincere, respectful relationship with your intuition is one of the most spectacular gifts you can give yourself. By cultivating this relationship, you tap into all of your innate wisdom, beauty, and power.

You simply need to learn how to hear, hone, and trust that wisdom. That’s what Your Magical Intuition teaches.

Over the course of two weeks, you’ll:

  • Explore each of the 4 layers of your intuition.
  • Experiment with body-based and mindfulness practices to cultivate your intuition on each layer.
  • Build confidence in your intuition, through experimentation and daily-life practice.
  • Create a support system to nurture your intuition and create a regular dialogue with it.
  • Infuse your self-care with your newfound intuition to amplify healing, empathy, and trust in yourself.

Each weekday during the course, you’ll receive:

  • Audio meditations to cultivate the experience of intuition
  • Short essay’s on the day’s theme
  • Workbooks + journaling prompts

Weekends will be reserved for integration practices and 2 Q&A coaching calls with me. (There’s also a VIP option, in case you’re craving some one-on-one support.)

Want to dive in? You can join the course right here.

Over this past summer, I turned deeply inward in caring for the new member of my family. Those days stretched out seemingly forever, and invited me to a new-found friendship with my intuition.

It was as though I’d been on autopilot for so long, trying to “know” everything. Instead, I had to feel my way. The only way was to following that intuitive guide inside me.

What I want you to know is that you are wise beyond measure and that magic is at your fingertips.

I believe that this is part of what justice looks like: to reclaim our sovereignty from those who aim to make us small or diminish our wisdom. This is a return to feminine wisdom (though this course is open to people of all genders), and to anti-authoritarian knowing. I invite you to step into this intuitive power.

The course will be open for registration for one week only: until October 31st, and we begin that evening (on the eve of All Saints’ Day and the beginning of Samhain). For fourteen days, we’ll circle together to unearth and exalt Your Magical Intuition​.

This is the season for examining all of our layers, for pulling back the veil, and exploring the unseen.

 

​​>> Get all the details and join Your Magical Intuition now! <<

Organized under Intuition. none

Self-Care is Detective Work

October 12, 2017

Self-care isn't always straight forward. Good self-care requires detective work sometimes. Plus get your free intuition worksheet here! >> www.christytending.com

I refer to self-care as a practice a lot.  What I mean by this is that it is not finite. It doesn’t really end. We simply refine it over time. We hone it.

I could also call it a dance or an experiment.

Really, self-care is all of those things.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about self-care as detective work.

Except, rather than trying to solve a case, we are sleuthing around our own healing.

We collect evidence. We interview witnesses. Out of endless data and what may, at times, feel like chaos, we work to make sense of things.

Like detectives, we ignore nothing. There is no piece of information too trivial. Eventually, patterns emerge. Sometimes, we hit dead ends. Other times, we discover an uncomfortable truth.

Self-care is really the act of becoming more and more familiar with ourselves.

Like detectives, we ask the tough questions. We examine every angle. We pursue our quest for justice and healing relentlessly.

Which means that self-care isn’t all sunshine, all the time. It means tracking it into the shadows, into dark alleyways.

The aim is not always to feel good but to come face to face with our being.

This takes courageous detective work. Not to find the easy answers, but to reveal the truth: of what it means to be ourselves, of what it means to be human, of what healing and self-care look like for each of us.

This detective work is specific: it’s never about generalities, but instead the tiny details and idiosynchrasies of our particular case. Self-care is just this: becoming fascinated in examining our lives and selves so that we can move toward lightness and well-being.

This is why one-size-fits-all self-care doesn’t work.

When we become detectives, we learn quickly:

When I eat this, I feel this way. I like this type of movement, but not that type. I need this many hours of sleep and this kind of free time. My batteries feel recharged when I do a particular set of activities.

These are the people who lift me up. My soul is happy when I am in this special place. And so on.

We ask: “What would feel good right now?” and follow the trail, like any good detective would.

It’s why our intuition is essential to self-care.

A good detective might just go down a laundry list and call it a day.

Great detectives follow their instincts, even when they seem zany. They collect the details that others gloss over. They use all of their senses.

It becomes an intuitive process, rather than something rote or by the book. They use every tool at their disposal, including all ways of knowing into solving the case.

If you’re looking to amplify your self-care, begin here: with your intuition and commit yourself to this kind of detective work.

Free resources to amplify your intuition:

Intuition audio meditation

Intuition worksheet

Organized under Intuition, Self-Care. none

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself

October 10, 2017

Get your free intuition audio meditation right here!

You can stop second-guessing yourself and (instead) follow your wise intuition. Learn how. Plus get your free intuition audio meditation here! >> www.christytending.com

There are few moments of regret in my life. I aim to move from mistake to learning to forgiveness with ease. The regrets that do remain, however, have one thing in common.

WIthout exception, the moments I wish I could do over are the moments when I acted against my intuition. I shushed my inner voice. I ignored the small “uh-oh” or “yes” in favor of what I felt I “should” do instead.

I’ve let peer pressure get the better of me.

I’ve let looks good on paper override ​feels good in my body​… with results that were less than stellar.

I’ve learned a few key lessons that help to ground me in my own inner wisdom and keep me from second-guessing myself. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, especially when making a big choice.

Play with some of these practices if you find yourself at a crossroads or to bring yourself back into alignment with your truth.

 

Intuition is a practice.

Start with small decisions. We can build the muscle of our intuition. Begin by making small decisions: what to have for lunch, what song to play for your solo dance-party, the route to take home from work.

Over time, these experiences will give you the confidence to make bigger decisions with clarity.

Try it on.

When deciding between two options, try each one on. Like you’d try on clothes in a fitting room, put on each decision (energetically) and give it a whirl.

Feel and imagine what making each decision would be like. This information may cast light on an otherwise murky choice.

Without judgment, imagine yourself having made one decision or another. What is it like? Which feels more resonant? Wear each decision lightly until you’ve had the chance to make sure it fits.

You’re not always going to get it right.

​No matter what, you will make mistakes. That’s part of being human. There’s a myth about intuition that it’s either right all the time or that it’s entirely BS.

Grant yourself (and your intuitive decision-making) the permission to screw up from time to time. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad, just that you’re human. Which is totally cool.

Perfectionism will stand in the way of intuition, if you let it. The need to be right isn’t serving you, and will actually keep you playing small in order to avoid risk. Sometimes, you need to take a chance, even if it doesn’t work out.

You can’t demand right-ness from your intuition all the time. You can only offer it trust.

Not every decision needs to be an agonizing one.

As I mention above, you won’t always get it right. In certain moments, you just need to make a decision (any decision will do!) so that you can move on.

Don’t over-think it. Not every move need a pro/con list or a spreadsheet.

Again, aim for it to be light. Allow yourself to be in the flow of your life. Offer yourself the mercy of simply moving forward, regardless of whether you’ve analyzed the idea to pieces.

Some decisions take more juice than others. Don’t sweat the ones that don’t need sweating, so that you have more energy and space for the ones that do.

It can be simpler and easier than you think.

You don’t always need to pick the hard way. You can choose the path of least resistance sometimes. There are moments when the choice is crystal clear and you don’t need to bog yourself down with more information.

You can choose to let it be easy. You can choose to let it be simple.

Simple and easy are not always born from apathy or resignation. At times, they are a gift to ourselves: for life to be uncomplicated and liberated.

 

Related:

Organized under Intuition, Moments of Wonder. none

Simple Self-Care Recipe Formula (mix ‘n match guide + free download)

October 9, 2017

For me, food is a huge part of self-care. Part creativity, part nourishment, part intuition. Over the years, I’ve experimented with a lot of ways of eating. What I’ve discovered is that my intuition is often my best guide for how my body wants to eat. This is the formula I’ve developed for meals supports that intuitive spark and feeds me and my family well.

For me, food is a huge part of self-care. Part creativity, part nourishment, part intuition. Over the years, I've experimented with a lot of ways of eating. What I've discovered is that my intuition is often my best guide for how my body wants to eat. Read my self-care recipe guide and download the free recipe pdf! >> www.christytending.com

Below, I’ve written out my guide for the go-to meal in the Tending household. We make up these nourishing bowls with what we have lying around. Less food is wasted, and we always have dinner ready to go. The bowls can be customized to any cuisine or palate, and can even be cobbled together from past leftovers!.

I make the grain in a rice cooker and often chop vegetables ahead of time and store them in the fridge.

HOW IT WORKS:

Simply mix and match from the categories on the next page to suit your mood. I’ve give you categories of food you may want to include in your meal. Pick one or more from each category to create delicious, simple, and nourishing meals.

This approach makes healthy dinners totally feasible. The choices here are just a start — get creative and do what is right for your body’s needs. This is a jumping off point.

May your meals be feasible, nourishing, and inspired.

Mix and Match Recipe Guide:

PROTEIN:

choose from:

  • baked tofu or tempeh
  • garbanzo or black beans
  • lentils (either dal or cooked French lentils)
  • sprouted almonds
  • hardboiled, poached or scrambled egg

GRAIN:

choose from:

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • steel-cut oats (savory oatmeal is delicious!)
  • amaranth
  • farro
  • roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or delicata squash (not grain, but carbohydrates)

GREENS:

choose from:

  • sautéed kale, collard greens or swiss chard
  • steamed broccoli or asparagus
  • sugar snap peas
  • arugula or spinach
  • nori strips

FAT:

choose from:

  • avocado
  • ghee
  • plain yogurt
  • sesame or coconut oil

FLAVORFUL EXTRAS:

choose any of the following for added texture and flavor:

  • carrots (cut into matchsticks)
  • chopped red pepper
  • sliced green apple
  • sauerkraut or kimchee
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sriracha or other hot sauce
  • tahini
  • sunflower or hemp seeds

Finally:

I always finish my bowls with a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt and a huge splash of miso dressing, made from equal parts lemon (or grapefruit) juice, olive oil, and yellow (or white) miso; mix by shaking in a small lidded jar or whisking vigorously.

Combine all of these into your favorite bowl, and enjoy with glee.

*Before we get started, I’d like to note that I’m not a nutritionist. This works for me. I hope it’ll work for you. This is not, however, to be taken for medical advice.

Organized under Intuition, Real Self-Care, Self-Care, Summertime Series. none

Becoming Your Own Expert

October 6, 2017

Get your free intuition worksheet right here!

You do not need to rely on outside experts. You are already the expert in yourself. Use that expertise to cultivate empowered, intuitive self-care. Plus get your free intuition worksheet here! >> www.christytending.com

Scene:

I’m standing at the front of a class full of students, teaching yoga: something I did several times a week between 2008 and 2013. I’ve given the students a choice of three variations on a single pose.

One of my regular students, a woman I’ll call S., raises her hand to ask a question. “Which variation should I do?” she asks.

I reply: “I don’t know.”

For some teachers, this is a danger zone. Not knowing. Not being able to give a student an answer. Having to admit that we’re in the dark. For me, this not-knowing in front of my class feels what I’d describe as, “pleasant neutral.”

When I tell her I don’t know, S. knows what I mean. She smiles, nods and returns to her practice, choosing one of the poses. And this is success for me, as a teacher.

I don’t have all the answers.

I hope you know that. But more than that, I hope you know why.

It’s not that I am keeping these answers a secret. Instead, I choose to believe–and ground my teaching from this understanding–that I am not the expert in you.

I can offer several choices. I can ask insightful questions. Or point out patterns that I observe. I will sit with you while you discover the answers or the solution for yourself. These types of support I freely offer.

But ultimately…

You are the expert in yourself.

This expertise still takes work. It takes trial and error. It takes experimentation. You (as much as I) need to be willing to make mistakes and to be wrong sometimes.

But ultimately, you are the expert in yourself.

Only you know what it truly is to live in your body, to have your mind, to experience your emotions, and to be your spirit.

I can be a guide. I am happy to point the way or to share bits of wisdom that I’ve gathered along the way. What I teach is a combination of my training, what’s worked for me in the past, and what I’ve seen work for others.

Only you can truly know what you need in a moment.

Because only you are your particular expression of the universe in this time and place. Only you carry your memories and experiences and culture. Only you have your particular hopes and dreams and sorrows and challenges.

Each one of us is unique.

This means that our work is not to get it right, but to become scholars of ourselves.

It can be a lifelong process, but it is a gift to do that work: to become expert in who we are and what we need. To have visceral understanding of what feels good and rightful.

 

Related:

You are wise.

Free intuition worksheet

My new course, Your Magical Intuition, opens for registration on October 24th. Make sure you’re on the list to get all the details!

Organized under Intuition. none

You are Wise and Trustworthy

October 4, 2017

Download your free intuition worksheet to begin mapping your inner knowing!

You are wise. Learn to listen to and believe your intelligent intuition. Plus get your free intuition worksheet here! >> www.christytending.com

 

“How do you know?”

I get this question a lot. From clients, from students, from my own family. They want to know how I know my intuition is steering me in the right direction. Really, they want to know how I have as much faith in the unseen magic of my inner knowing as I do in my direct experience. 

How do you know what you know in your heart to be true?

How do you know what your body needs? Or even: how do you know that the thing you want to do next is the best course of action?

How do you know that you’re not just following some illusory woo-woo feeling and calling it intuition?

How do you know that what you feel is really, actually real?

What I really want to tell you is that there have been times when I have felt self-doubt approximately one thousand times a day.

It is vulnerable.

There have been days when I have felt uneasy in my body, my thoughts running away with me. Those are days when it has all felt like trial and error, with no easy answers.

I can’t say that I never feel self-doubt anymore. I do. Of course. I’m human.

But now, those moments of self-doubt are my most potent invitation to practice.

How deeply can I love and accept myself there?

In that space of not-knowing, I get quiet. I breathe into it, willingly feeling my body. The quiet is intimate; and what it reveals is our personal magic: our intuition, a knowing beyond direct experience.

In that quiet, I can see my mind and my emotional body and my energy and my body–all of my parts–laid out before me. Or gathered around a table: a banquet with the dearest of friends.

And these friends have something important to tell me. They whisper it in a small, but serious voice. “This. Trust this.”

Perhaps someone told you when you were small that this small, wise inner voice couldn’t be trusted.

Aside from being a total jerk, that person was wrong.

Each of us has a well of deep inner knowing that we can choose to access at any moment. We simply need to get quiet and to listen. And then, the most magical part of all: we need to trust ourselves.

Our intuition is a real, magical being. We need to learn to let it thrive by listening closely and then trusting the answers that come.

Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we will falter or second-guess ourselves sometimes. But that’s okay. It is all a process, as ever.

Really, what I really want you to know is you are worthy of your own trust.

You are wise and powerful. You are an expert in your own experience. And I invite you to believe in yourself, even when it feels terribly vulnerable.

 

Related:

Free Downloads:

Download your free intuition worksheet right here.

Download your free intuition audio meditation right here.

Organized under Intuition. One comment.

What does your intuition say? The 4 Layers of Intuition

October 2, 2017

Get your free intuitive audio meditation right here!

What does your intuition say? Stop second-guessing yourself and tap into your inner wisdom with the four layers of knowing. Plus get your free audio meditation here! >> www.christytending.com

You know that you are wise beyond measure. You know that you are an expert in your own self.

But how do we truly cultivate our intuition? How do we amplify its voice so that it can be heard? How can we learn to truly trust ourselves and what we know to be true?

The first step is learning to listen.

We do this by examining each layer of our intuition. We peel back each layer, turning it over until we can translate what we experience into what we know and understand.

There are, in part, based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, a concept from Buddhist meditation, adapted and re-ordered as they apply to our intuition. In the Sattipathana, these foundations of mindfulness are: contemplation of the body, contemplation of feeling, contemplation of consciousness, and contemplation of mental objects.

In my experience, the four layers of intuition are:

  1. The body + breath

  2. The mind

  3. The heart + emotion

  4. The spirit + energy

The body + breath

The body holds deep wisdom. It’s where we store our memories and experiences. It’s where we remember love and trauma, both. Through the body, we can access great wisdom and insight about ourselves that we might otherwise have missed.

On a neurological level, our body is supporting us in every moment with quick-fire opinions about, well, everything. It protects us by giving us what we call a “gut reaction”. It is how we decide whether something is safe.

The body offers us flight, fight, freeze, and appease – before we even know that we need one of those responses. When beginning to investigate your intuition, begin in the body and the breath. Ask them what they know to be true. Greet them as wise friends.

The mind

Much like the body, we remember more than we think we do. We store factoids and memories away only to surprise ourselves, years later, with an amazing recall of song lyrics, names, and state capitals (for example).

The brain is so powerful. Our minds can know the answer before the question is finished. It can sense what the next words out of someone’s mouth will be. The brain can (through our vision or hearing) pick up on the tiniest details and immediately suss out imperceptible changes.

Why? Because we observe much more than we think we do. We pick up on these tiny details and translate them into knowing, all in the fraction of a second.

And the mind? It helps us filter the bullshit, all day long. While we might long for things to be a different way, our minds can give us the real scoop.

The heart + emotion

There is a complicated narrative when it comes to the heart.

Our emotions are often painted as unreliable, volatile, and changeable.

Or we’re told to “follow our hearts” with no other reliable map or guide suggested.

While our hearts make mistakes (and we shouldn’t only follow our emotions when trying to find our truth or make a decision), our emotions–our hearts–can provide a lot of valuable intelligence.

Take, for instance, trying to decide whether to take a new job, where to go on vacation, or how to proceed in a relationship. If you discard or discount the heart’s knowing, you could end up someplace you don’t want to be. (Maybe literally!) Instead, check in and notice the emotion that comes up when you pretend to decide one way or another.

If you feel disappointment when you think about moving into that apartment or staying in that relationship, then even if it looks good on paper, it may be time to make a different decision. Likewise, it may seem improbable, but if it lights you up or gives you that good-nervous feeling, it may be something to chase.

The spirit + energy

Finally, your spirit and energy.

Have you ever walked into a room and known that something was amiss? Seen a stranger and not been able to figure out why you feel uncomfortable? Felt sad for no reason?

We use the phrases “good/bad vibes” or “good/bad juju” to describe the experience.

Or maybe you’re a nerd like me and call it a “disturbance in the force.”

There is no outward reason we should feel any shift, but we do. It can happen in an instant, and it is unmistakable when it does.

This is your spirit or energy. Maybe you call it lifeforce or qi. But it is as real as your physical body, and it too, has messages for you. It can instantly sense when things are out of alignment or when there is something that does not belong to you or for you.

This may be the most difficult of the layers to experience because it can feel emphemeral. But it is as real and wise as any of the other layers.

There is no perfect wisdom.

Your intuition will make mistakes. But they are your mistakes to explore, and ultimately, your wisdom to cultivate and explore. Sometimes, it’s better to rely on your own knowing than someone else’s “perfect” prescription.

 

Want to dive deeper into your intuition?

Grab your free audio mediation right here!

Organized under Intuition. 2 comments.

Japanese Forest Bathing

September 27, 2017

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Feeling burned out? Looking for a great self-care practice? Try Japanese Forest Bathing. Plus sign up for the free self-care course here! >> www.christytending.com

I spent some time in Japan this past summer to mark my husband’s grandmother’s one hundredth birthday (and to introduce the new baby!). While there, we spent a bit of time in Tokyo, before heading to Kyushu.

Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite self-care practices: Japanese forest bathing.

One of my favorite places in Tokyo is Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine complex in the middle of the Harajuku neighborhood. In the middle of a city of 40 million people, it is a respite. Inside the beautifully wooded park, dotted with torii (shrine gates, like the one above), you can only hear the chatter of other visitors, birds chirping, and the breeze blowing through the trees.

I love the feeling of the breeze on my face. I love the way the light filters through the branches and leaves. Escaping to this little bit of nature in the middle of a bustling city calms me.

Japanese forest bathing is powerful.

Plus, for most of us, it’s free. It’s simple. It takes only a few minutes to absorb its benefits.

It’s some of my favorite medicine. And when I’ve been in the city too long, it feels like sloughing off tension and energy that has been keeping me stuck. Being in the trees helps me to feel free.

Just a few minutes looking up at the trees makes my soul feel a little bit more quiet and at ease.

In Japan, there’s a term for this kind of medicine: shinrin-yoku. It means forest bathing. Some doctors prescribe Japanese forest bathing to their patients because it’s been proven to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and so many other good things.

Isn’t it interesting how the tiniest actions—like taking one deep breath, or drinking one glass of water, or stepping into nature for a few minutes—can make such a big difference to our health and wellbeing?

Our self-care does not have to be big and showy.

Quiet action on our own behalf can be deeply powerful.

And speaking of tiny, powerful things…

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I recently released a new class. It’s free. It’s called The Tiny Little Self-Care Class. Get all the details and sign up here.

The class includes simple, realistic ideas on how to de-stress, reclaim time for the priorities that matter to you, take good care of yourself, and simply have a better day.

Busy parents, creative entrepreneurs, healers, activists, and world-changers… People who give, give, give, and do, do, do… this class is my gift for you.

I hope you’ll find a way to refill your well sometime today, too. Maybe a forest bath–or a bubble bath. Or a bus ride without your phone in your hands. Or listening to Harry Potter audiobooks while you chop carrots for dinner.

Whatever sounds like “a relief,” like “coming home,” please give that gift to yourself.

Self-care is something you can do today to refuel, focus, strengthen, and prepare yourself for the work that needs to be handled tomorrow. It’s amazing what even the quietest actions can do.

 


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