Entries organized under Everyday Sacred

Try this: a strategy to dissolve shame

March 27, 2018

Try this: a strategy to dissolve shame. Hint: it's connection. Sign up for self-care workshops and self-care tips inside! >> www.christytending.com

There is something predictable that happens when I feel shame. Maybe some (or all) of this sounds familiar…

I get very quiet at first. My face flushes, my palms sweat, and my shoulders hunch inward. My mind races and my heart speeds up. Sometimes I close my eyes, trying to visually shut out the experience. The first instinct is to reach for anything to make the sensation stop…

To distract, to numb. In the past, it’s been food or my phone or even taking action on something to make myself feel less helpless. Anything to not feel that shame.

In my body, shame and trauma land virtually the same way.

When shame creeps in, there is a veritable buffet of fight, flight and freeze instincts that arise. And I can’t help but scoop some of each onto my metaphorical plate.

No matter how hard I try to numb or run away, that sensation of shame remains in my body until I’ve properly processed it. As Bessel van der Kolk, a trauma specialist says, the body keeps the score.

Shame can feel so utterly personal. Yet my (perhaps, our?) response to shame so often is to detach.

What I propose instead is connection.

Compassionately, tenderly, come home to your experience. Note what is happening in your body, in your mind, in your heart, in your energy. When you are intimately connected with present-moment experience, you can then move from your wise intuition, rather than fear.

In our society, shame is often met with more shame.

“Don’t take it personally!” they cry, as though it is our response (and not the shame itself) that is out of place. But what if we refused to let shame rob us of our connection to what is often deeply personal? What if we chose compassion and connection in those moments?

If we did, we could stay close to that intuitive, loving energy, following (and trusting) its guidance, instead of numbing out or following shame away from our hearts’ calling?

Here’s the kernel of truth in all of this: it’s personal.

My business is me. My activist work is my community. My child is of me. My whole life comes from my heart. None of it isn’t personal.

This makes it all the more vulnerable.

But it also makes it all the more necessary not to let shame win, not to shut down, not to numb out. So I choose to stay with what is in the moment and meet it, as I would meet anything else, with tremendous love.

Try this with me: the next time that shame creeps in – in front of the mirror, in front of your boss, in front of your kids, or in that pesky negative self-talk – hold your own hand. (I hold my left thumb with my right hand.) Feel that connection.

This is the heart of self-care: that willingness to be compassionately present with yourself even when things suck.

I wish this for all of us.

With care,
Christy


NEW WORKSHOPS!

In this spirit, I’m offering two live workshops in April, each designed to support this idea: to eradicate shame, connect to our compassionate hearts, and deepen into our intuitive brilliance.

Join me:

Resilience Practice: whole-hearted action for difficult times. I’m bringing back one of my most popular workshops; we’ll explore strategies for claiming your power and developing resilience through a blend of skillful action and deep rest.

Creating a Vessel for Magic: body-based practices for intuitive brilliance. In this brand new workshop, I’m getting back to my yoga-teacher roots with movement, breath, and chakra practices for any body.

Finding Freedom in Discipline

February 15, 2018

Finding freedom in discipline_ how to create good boundaries, liberation, self-care and journaling. Plus get your seat for a free self-care workshop! >> www.christytending.com

Each Wednesday morning, I get into my car. I turn on some sort of uplifting Spotify playlist and I drive 25 minutes to Alameda to my writing class. I sit at a table with a small group of extraordinary women. For two hours, I write, read out loud, and listen to what others have written.

The goal, to hear my teacher explain it, is to write as badly as possible. When the two hours is up, I drive home.

I’ve been doing this since my son was 4.5 months old. Drive. Listen to a poem. Write badly. Read my work. Listen to what others have written. That’s it. It’s the whole thing.

And very little has been as healing and revealing to me in this new phase of life as this writing class.

In its simplicity, it is incredibly challenging.

Each week, I hear my mind start to throw up roadblocks about whether or not I’ll go to my beloved writing class.

It spouts stories about how I could be using the time to be “productive” or how nothing I write is ever any good, so why bother?. I mean, it’s not like I’m made of free time.

But since my stories about how “busy” I am feel both boring and untrue, each Wednesday I get into my car. I drive, I write, and I drive home. This takes discipline.

Each and every week I renew my commitment to showing up. Not just because I already paid for the class, but because there is magic that happens at the table. Because it is a place where I own all of myself.

Within that discipline of showing up at the table to write even (or especially) when it seems frivolous or pointless, there is freedom.

There, I can say whatever I like. I can share the ugly, shameful parts. There is the freedom to suck at something and to be devoted to it nonetheless. It is vulnerable to commit to something and not give up when it feels hard.

But this discipline beckons us back to our humanity, to be in that vulnerability no matter what. It reminds us that we can do hard things and we can survive.

Within that discipline, there is the freedom to sit with the truth. Not to fix it or change it, but to simply sit with it and not look away.

Discipline is often uncomfortable. There is almost always a moment where we want to throw up our hands and walk away. It is also the case that on the other side of that moment, when we realize that we’ve made it past all of that resistance, that we find freedom.

That freedom may not look or feel or sound like what we expect. But there it is.

In that new landscape, we are not prisoners of those narratives that keep us small, but devotees on a pilgrimage to what is possible.

Sending you deep care,
Christy


New from me:

Join me for a free workshop next week!

On February 20th, I’m teaching a (free) Better Boundaries Workshop!

In the workshop, you’ll learn:

  • My top tips and tools for creating awesome boundaries – and communicating them skillfully.
  • One simple practice to clarify your priorities and draw clear boundaries around them.
  • How to create more space for what is sacred through ritual and energetic boundary practices.

Plus ask me all your burning questions (live!) and get awesome workshop-only bonuses!

>> Sign up now! <<


Coming soon:

Doors open later this month for my signature course, Sacred Focus. In response to feedback, this time around, Sacred Focus will unfold as a nine moth program to help you show up excellently for what is most sacred to you. In this course, we will refine what is personally sacred to each of us, and become fluent in this art of self-advocacy. I can’t wait to see you there.

How to Plan Your Sacred Year

January 8, 2018

I love New Years Eve. It’s also true that I used to really dislike it. There were loads of expectations around having the more glamorous time ever, going to the best parties, and generally having the most fun. It always felt like a let-down.

I’ve also always had a bee in my bonnet about goals and new years resolutions. (Neither ever resonated for me the way they were supposed to.)

But over the years, I’ve honed some New Years rituals that feel meaningful and set me up for joy, intentionality, and deep love at this time of year.

The result? My Complete Guide to How to Plan Your Sacred Year: rituals to create intentionality, self-care, and compassion in your year ahead. I hope you love it, and that if you’re looking for more you join me for the Plan Your Sacred Year workshop on January 18th or check out my signature course, Sacred Focus, where we dive super-deep into all of this.

Setting the stage

One of my most important New Years rituals is spending the holiday with people I love. I’ve spent most New Years with (roughly) the same crew of people for the last ten years. There have been some skipped years and the cast of characters rotates slightly.

For the turn of the year, I aim to be in a beautiful place with people I love. That’s it. It’s not about the best parties, but about the people and natural beauty.

Tools of the trade

Make sure that you have some sacred items around. They could be family heirlooms, some objects from nature, or however else you define “sacred”.

I usually bring with me a few crystals, gather some beautiful objects from wherever I find myself (e.g. seashells in Mexico, pinecones at Lake Tahoe, stones from Joshua Tree), my journal and a pen, plus a tarot (or oracle card) deck.

Ground yourself

I usually use the The Wild Unknown deck to do a Year Ahead spread. Place one card in the middle for your year’s theme, then select a card for each month in the year ahead.

You might also do some meditation, journaling or walking in nature. I do all of these, since they’re part of my foundational self-care. You could also incorporate the natural elements into your practice. I like a good soak in hot water, myself.

 

Planning Your Sacred Year

Want to join me for planning your sacred year ahead? Sign up for the live workshop on January 18th!

Rather than setting pie-in-the-sky or numbers-based goals, I break my year planning down into something more intuitive (link) and self-compassionate. For me, goals and resolutions don’t tend to have the same resonance.

Instead, I focus on three main areas when it comes to my year-ahead planning:

  1. A word of the year

  2. Intentions for the year ahead

  3. Sacred Focus

 

A word of the year

Using Susannah Conway’s Word of the Year course (which is free!), I spend time as early as November figuring out what my word for the coming year will be. In short, my word for the year is a combination of:

  1. How I want to feel during the year ahead

  2. What I need — this could be comfort or a kick in the pants

  3. What I want to embody in my everyday

This helps envision what I want the year to be. From there, I can fill in the details. The what, the who, the where, and so on — until I build a year ahead that feels like my word. This word often leads me to more questions — and a phase of intention-setting. (Want to know how intentions are different from goals? Read my post about that over here.)

 

My word for 2018 is GOLDEN.

Here’s what that means to me:

You can read my past word of the year posts here:

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

 

Intentions for the year ahead

Again, this is not about what I intend to accomplish. It’s not about numbers in my business or any kind of quantifiable outcome. This is about how and where I want to show up. My intentions? They’re really about attention.

They answer the questions: What do I want more of? What am I ready to release? How do I want to respond to what has happened in my past and greet what will happen in the future?

Which means that I’m really asking: How will I take care of my heart?

My intentions are about my word in action. They provide the map for where my word could take me — and how I’m willing to let that word transform me. These provide a useful foundation where we can start to build the themes of our year.

I find that intentions are a more compassionate and flexible approach to envisioning the year ahead. No matter what curveballs life throws at us, we can return to our intentions.

My intentions for the year ahead:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last, but certainly not least: Sacred Focus

Sacred Focus was my first word/phrase of the year that I ever chose. Or rather, it chose me. It landed in my lap like a puff of dandelion pollen and I’ve never been the same.

If you’re new to the concept, Sacred Focus is the 3-5 areas of life where you’re placing your most heartfelt attention in any given phase of life. This is where we choose to show up excellently.

Your Sacred Focus, once you choose it, is the heart of your life. This is where our intentions and our energy are funneled into impact.

Sacred Focus needs both of its pieces always. It’s not just about the sacred piece, where magic randomly comes into our life. It requires the practice, devotion, and discernment of Focus. Nor is it all focus. It asks for spirit to guide us.

My Sacred Focus for 2018*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Although I take myself through the Sacred Focus process at least twice a year, this is what I’m currently focused on for the year ahead.

 

Want more resources to plan your sacred year ahead?
Grab your seat for my live workshop on January 18th!

 

Want more of the inside scoop of how I plan my year and craft a life that feels sacred? Follow me on Instagram!

Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.
Load More

 

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!

What is Enough?

August 22, 2017

Ever feel like you work your ass off all day and it’s never enough? Read on. This one’s for you.

What is enough? You don't have to do it all. Instead, create awesome boundaries to avoid burnout. Sign up for the free self-care course here! >> www.christytending.com

Light Up

A free tiny little self-care class for spirited beings who want to
create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

“Even if I work for 40, 50, 60, even 70 hours a week, there’s always more to do. I never feel like I’ve done enough.”

That statement you just read? It’s something I used to say to myself all the time.

The constant refrain of “never enough” echoed through my mind. It’s the first thing I’d say to myself every morning. It’s the last thing I’d think to myself every night.

It didn’t matter if I spent every single moment of my day working. Often, I’d still go to bed feeling disappointed in myself.

Even when my colleagues and I experienced a big victory, rather than pause to celebrate, I’d move quickly onto the next task. There was always something else.

Does that resonate? Are you stuck on the “never enough” hamster wheel, too? If so, here’s a question to consider:

What does “enough” mean for you?

Can you define “enough” in a sentence or two? (Be specific.) Can you describe how “enough” feels in your body?

So many people chase this elusive feeling of “enough.” We feel like we’ve never gotten “there.” And yet many of us don’t even know what we’re chasing, exactly.

Here’s how I currently define “enough”:

At the moment, my self-care looks like a hot shower, drinking plenty of water, and occasional yoga and walking. I read a poem every day. Right now, that’s enough. (Because even self-care can trap us in “never enough” if we let it.)

For me, those are realistic, feasible numbers.

For you, the numbers (and projects, and priorities) might be very different.

But for me, in this chapter of my life, those numbers feel like “enough.”

If I suddenly find myself worrying, “But should I do more…?” I can interrupt those thoughts and remind myself, “I did what I intended to do. And that’s enough.”

My definition of “enough” doesn’t have to be rigid. It can bend and flex.

I give myself the space and flexibility to adjust any/all of those numbers as needed, because I’m a human being, not a robot. Some months I have more bandwidth than others.

So, what does “enough” mean for you—at least, for right now? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Write it down.

If you notice yourself writing lofty and vague goals, consider re-wording that statement to make it more feasible and specific. End each statement with, “That’s enough.”

The work of caring and compassion is limitless. Our human lives are not.

Yes, there is great work to be done. But not all of it can or will be done today. More than anything, we need you for the long haul. Which means doing “enough” and doing it well.

That’s why it’s crucial to place boundaries around our time, and to be compassionate with ourselves about what “doing enough” means. (Instead of trying to “do it all” and half-ass-ing it.)

Look:

Urgency is not an invitation to burnout.

Breaking news does not automatically expand our capacity. Difficult times are really an invitation to go deeper with our practice and to fulfill our purpose with greater love and attention.

There has never been a more important time to bring love to both our work and ourselves. This starts with defining “enough.”

Once you’ve arrived in that place, there’s no need to strive for more. You’ve done your piece, wholeheartedly. And truly, that is plenty.

Light Up

A free tiny little self-care class for spirited beings who want to
create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

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

Creating a Quiet Life in a Noisy World

March 13, 2017

Sometimes, life can be overwhelming. Learn how to create a quiet life (in the midst of a noisy world). Plus grab your seat for the free self-care mini-course inside! >> www.christytending.com

If you’re a quiet, sensitive person, it can feel like the world is SO LOUD sometimes. Like everyone is shouting, even over the Internet. If you’re drawn to create something big, it can be a challenge to do that in what feels like a maelstrom of input and sound and shouty-ness.

If you’re looking to create more quiet in your everyday life, start here.

Set intention

Why are you looking for more quiet?

What are you hoping to heal? What are you hoping to find?

Defining the purpose of the quieter life can be a huge gift. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel selfish or anti-social. There is intentionality accompanying the dream.

Of course, you never have to justify why you’re seeking more quiet and stillness, but knowing your intention can help you cultivate it with less drama. It can also be a nice guide for friends or family who can’t understand why you’re suddenly shushing them or switching off the TV at random. Know what you’re hoping to create in place of the noise.

Discover and trust your rhythm

When and where are you looking to create more quiet? What times of day make sense for you to be more quiet? Are there times when external stimuli seem to be more upsetting for your nervous system?

Notice and trust your natural rhythm.

For some, creating more quiet in the hour(s) before bedtime makes the most sense. Others prefer to wake slowly and make their way into the day more gently. Notice what works (or doesn’t) for you. Are there particular times or circumstances where you’re drawn to be more quiet, naturally?

Trust that information and allow your rhythms to guide you, rather than forcing your natural flow into an artificial pattern.

Create boundaries

Once you know your intention, and have a handle on your rhythms, you can begin to create a respectful container in which they can thrive.

This is highly personal. But notice: what kinds of boundaries do you need? Are they boundaries with others? Or is it more about internal boundaries and structure?

Offer yourself what you need. Boundaries can be your best friends, if you create them in a way that reflects your needs. Maybe it’s around certain times of day, certain people, or certain types of media. Maybe it’s limiting your exposure to social media, the news, or particular foods. No matter what boundaries you need, you don’t need to apologize.

Life can feel noisy, boundaries can dampen the sound and create a filter for what we’re consuming so that we can feel less overwhelmed.

Dedicate quiet time

I set aside time every week to be silent. This means that I’m also not accepting external input in the form of sound, either, aside from ambient natural sounds and sounds from my neighborhood. It’s a time to turn inward. There is silence, but the silence isn’t just there for me to fill.

It can exist for its own sake.

It can nourish in its own way.

I can accept the present moment, without needing to alter it with my words, with music, or with technology.

This time is sacred and gives my brain the opportunity to integrate all of the input it accepts on a daily (hourly, really) basis. Sometimes, I don’t use the time for anything in particular. Sometimes, I meditate. Other times, I’m struck with inspiration and spend the time journaling, sketching or teasing out the fragile details of my day dreams.

In that quiet space, I don’t get sidetracked, and my ideas have the space to germinate and grow.

Switch off everything that doesn’t need to be on

The lights.

The phone notifications.

The ready-alert instinct in your brain.

If you’re seeking more quiet, walk through your house (or your own mind) and look at what you can switch to off. When I disabled all of the notifications on my phone, life suddenly became so much more still and easeful. My attention could finally rest in the present, where I wanted it to be.

Not only was it literally less noisy, but I could also drop the vigilance that had become my default setting. I wasn’t constantly waiting for the next interruption. I could simply be in the moment.

Similarly, bright screens and overhead lights go off at 9pm in my house. I switch my phone to airplane mode. I am off-duty at that point. My time and energy and attention is truly my own.

 

Related:

What is your Sacred Focus?

Edit Your Schedule

On Devotion

 

Tiny actions to bring more ritual into your life

March 6, 2017

The idea of ritual is incredibly appealing to me. I crave routine and habit. I source comfort and connection from these. Ritual nourishes me and keeps me grounded. But if ritual intimidates you? If you think it needs to be complicated or overly woo?

There are tiny actions you can take to infuse your life with more ritual – without breaking the bank or turning breakfast into a séance (unless that’s your thing, in which case, please invite me over).

Rituals don't need to be complicated. You can start creating more sacred in your life today. Here are some tiny actions to bring more ritual into your life. Plus, sign up for the free self-care mini-course inside! >> www.christytending.com

Because these actions should fit into your everyday life, I’ve broken them down into three categories: morning, evening and mealtime. I mean, we all have these times in our lives. Also, because they usually mark a transition (sleep to waking, for instance), they are natural times to mark with ritual.

Caveat: do what works for you. If one of these works better for you at a different time, do that. These are suggestions. Take them with a grain of salt, and feel free to make them a custom expression of your life, flow, and needs.

Morning Rituals:

  • Quiet until a certain hour
  • A special morning beverage or meal
  • Prayer or meditation
  • Gratitude journaling or morning pages
  • Greeting the sun
  • Drawing a tarot card for the day
  • Setting an intention
  • Sun salutations or other mindful movement

Evening Rituals:

  • Self-massage (especially your feet or scalp)
  • A cup of tea
  • Screens off by a certain time
  • Inspirational reading
  • Journaling or creative writing
  • Lighting a candle
  • Tracking the moon and acknowledging where it is in its cycle
  • A restorative pose or other therapeutic pose

Mealtime Rituals:

  • Expressing gratitude
  • Eating one meal per day in silence
  • Turning your phone off while eating
  • A short walk after a meal
  • Breathing practice before or after the meal
  • Have one piece of (super-high-quality) chocolate afterwards
  • Bow to signify the end of a meal

Joy is an act of insurrection

February 6, 2017

“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.” – Rebecca Solnit

Joy is an act of insurrection. Joy is a gift, and embracing that joy can be an act of outright defiance and resistance. Get your free workbook inside! >> www.christytending.com

 

As I’ve heard from students all over the world, it is a difficult task to be joyful in the face of deep, collective, global distress, injustice, fear, and sorrow. Guilt surrounds any mention of things going well. But I want to issue us a challenge: do not give up on joy. Do not become so hardened and cynical that you are robbed of life’s beauty.

We may need to look for beauty in new places these days.

But it is there.

It is in the creative protest signs, the music we make in the streets, and the babies marching (or being rolled by) their parents, who are so brave in their hope of creating a more compassionate world. We find it in the cheers from the crowds when detainees are released, because we can taste what it will feel like when all cages everywhere are empty.

Joy reveals itself, unwittingly, in the potlucks and the hugs and the tender tone in which we ask each other, “How are you, really, sweetheart?”

That kind of beauty remains.

In fact, embracing that joy can be an act of outright defiance and resistance.

Those who would seek to oppress others want to create suffering. Yes, suffering is a natural part of life. But we do not need to succumb, necessarily. We can dance and sing and be unapologetically ourselves. In the face of a government that would seek to make those selves “less than” – to hold ourselves up in our beauty and our joy is a wildly optimistic, rebellious act.

In that spirit, we reclaim our worth as something which originates inside of us, rather than something others define for us. I saw a t-shirt the other day that said:

“WE’RE ONLY GOING TO GET BROWNER AND QUEERER AND WITCHIER AND LOUDER AND STRONGER AND PROUDER”

And I thought, yes!  We are only going to become more and more unapologetically, exuberantly ourselves in the face of repression. That is joy as insurrection, self-love as a tool of political resistance.

Joy imagines the world in which we want to live.

In Sacred Focus, I talk a lot about creating more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. Little by little, taking baby steps in the direction of what feels sacred to us. Joy does this on a subliminal level. It lights the way for us to create a new world.

Instead of only focusing on what we don’t want (which is important, too, but not the point of this post), we can take a more proactive approach. We can start building the world we want to live in by following where joy points us. It is a pre-figurative tool to create new models and a new world in which all people and beings are honored for who they are.

What brings you joy and comfort in these times?

Dare to do more of that.

Quite frankly, joy is a big “Fuck you” to those who would keep us small and afraid.

And it keeps us connected to one another – something else the powers that be would rather not happen. It facilitates and strengthens connection and the remembrance of interconnection. It lets us experience our small wins, rather than falling into despair and defeat.

Exuberant joy is, at its heart, a refusal to be small or silent or subdued.

In the dark times, joy is a gift to others.

Shortly after I got engaged, there was a sudden and great loss in a community to which I belong. It was heart-breaking and anything joyful felt sacrilegious. And yet. My sweetie and I had our engagement party anyway.

When it came time for toasts, a friend stood and thanked us for, among other things, giving the community something (anything!) positive to celebrate. She said that things had been really hard, but that our event proved that there are silver linings. That life, in some form, goes on. That new beginnings follow difficult endings.

So: do not be afraid to show your joy. Yes, rise up and resist, however that looks for you. But don’t be afraid to celebrate the small victories, the little milestones, and the small glimmers of hope.

 

 

 

On Devotion: what happens when we invest in self-care

January 17, 2017

I believe in devotion. On giving it over to a higher power – or at the very least remembering that I am but a teeny-tiny cell in the body of the universe. And that impermanence is very real and very much not faffing about.

On Devotion: what happens when we invest in self-care. Click here for free self-care resources! >> www.christytending.com

For a long time, devotion scared me.

It frightened me to think about something so very great and surrendering to it. See, I like things just so. I like my ducks in a row and my space tidy and my shit together. I enjoy care-taking. Which is its own devotion…

But the devotion I was facing was a different sort. This devotion I’m talking about is really about walking into uncertainty; it’s about discomfort and the truth. It’s about trust in what I cannot see.

Trust in what I cannot see is scary stuff (for me).

Because what happens if things don’t work out?

What happens if I made a mistake or it turned out to be a waste of time or money or my heart?

What happens if I devote, and things just stay the same?

I asked all of those questions, and no answers came (surprise, surprise).

And of course I was frightened. Because I’d already been let down so many times by promises of magic fixes and improbable solutions.

None of these quick-fixes worked, obviously, and led me to the conclusion that I’d been offered repeatedly on my healing journey:

I was told that I was broken.

That if only I paid enough money, bought the right things, followed all the rules, dutifully, then I would be “cured.” Or “fixed.” I can’t remember the words, but the sentiment was that I could buy my way into being whole.

When I did those things, I’d be entitled to healing.

All I needed to do was to give away my power and wisdom.

That was the flavor of devotion I was sold: disempowerment and a framework of brokenness. No wonder I was terrified.

But it turns out: Those are not devotion.

You don’t need stuff. You don’t need anyone else’s wisdom. Certainly, you don’t need to rely on outsized promises.

Devotion is something else.

Yes, it is a kind of giving yourself over. It means digging deep and making sincere investment. But it also means committing to the journey, not just to the quick fix. In taking the plunge into the unknown.

It means leaning into equanimity, not as something that devolves into despair or indifference, but as something comforting that says, “We are not in charge, so all we can do is to do our best.”

And there is compassion, and there is joy, and there is lovingkindness – all there, allies for our awakening heart.

Devotion means being willing.

To have some skin in the game.

To invest – not just money (but maybe money).

It is not an act, but a process – a practice – of continually choose to wake up to our suffering, and the suffering of others, and to meet that with compassion.

And, perhaps most importantly, to do the hard thing: to do what is right, regardless if anyone is watching. Sometimes this means being unpopular, making change, and undergoing deep growth. It’s a journey that can take a huge amount of energy and courage.

This change – what happens after we invest – can be painful.

But what we receive in return – the fruits of our devotion – create the conditions where we can endure that. We trust our own strength.

Indeed, devotion means building trust.

It is the ongoing process of having your own back (and letting others having it, too). When we take even the smallest steps toward our devotion, we build this trust. We become someone who is deserving of that trust, as well.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens little by little, within yourself.

Sometimes, devotion means grinding it out, even when you don’t quite feel like it.

By making a true investment in our well-being, we commit to see it through, beyond the ups and downs, toward something brighter, something holier, and something unattainable without diligent practice.

This is when we lean into our belief in whatever we know to be higher than this tangible experience here. What we know to be sacred. It’s this knowing that keeps us on the path, even when it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable or

Devotion is wondrous. Staying devoted is bliss.


Related:

Morning Rituals

What is your Sacred Focus?

9 things you learn from Sacred Focus