Entries organized under Everyday Sacred

The Golden Rules of Tending Myself

January 9, 2017

At the time this post goes live, I’ll be heading off on a seven-day silent meditation retreat. No phones, no talking, no outside communication. Just me, my brain, my body, and my practice. In honor of that, here’s what’s true for me. Remembering this is how I tend myself.

tending-myself

One of my all-time favorite things to do is podcast interviews. (Psst! ) It is so much fun to jam with like-minded, brilliant people about the nuances of self-care and how we bring it to life. Yum.

I’m asked a lot what I believe self-care is – and what my self-care practice looks like. While I talk a lot about what I believe self-care is (and a little about what it isn’t), I wanted to take a minute to break down what my gold standard for self-care is.

Without these guidelines in place, things start to wobble, and I start feeling like a hot mess.

This is how I have my own back. It’s what works for me. When I forget to keep these snugly in place, I suffer. When I try to make my life or flow look like someone else’s, that’s when things go off the rail.

If I’m really tending myself well, this is what happens. And in my heart, even when I think I don’t know what to do, this is what I works in my life.

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

Dear Christy,

Here’s what I know about you:

  • A hot shower fixes a lot. When things get tough, massage your scalp with hot water. And towel yourself off with something soft.
  • Stay political, involved, and fired-up. The cure of apathy or depression is not inaction. It seems hard, but getting off the couch and seeing your community for two hours and plotting how you’re going to change the world will leave you better than it found you.
  • Your family comes first always. Look up from your phone and kiss your husband. Put down your work and snuggle your cat. Call your mom. And so forth. You’re always glad you did.
  • Go see some trees. Like, today.
  • Walk a mile a day. Slowly, if needed.
  • Drink chai in the sun. Or drink chai while watching the rain.
  • Don’t ever stop drinking coffee in the mornings with your man. That shit is what life-long love is made of.
  • Take the time you need to just veg out and do nothing. Believe and respect your introversion enough to support it rather than change it.
  • Don’t compare your middle to their end. Or their anything.
  • Practice compersion or mudita or anything else you need to in order to stay out of a competition mindset. There is enough.
  • Similarly: make your own stuff. Make it the best it can be, pack it and ship it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

When things feel tough:

  • Gossip less. Speak even more compassionately, if possible, when people are out of the room than when they’re in it.
  • If you’re feeling down on yourself, make something.
  • Be as generous as possible. Give it all away. Leave it all on the field.
  • Don’t forget your Sacred Focus. Every single day is a gift, so allow the magic in by holding close what matters most.
  • Embrace discomfort, growth, and the space of not-knowing. Try to learn something every day.
  • Respect how deeply your body is working to heal and be of service. Love it for that.
  • Go look at some mountains.
  • Find a way to be of service every single day. Be a vessel for healing.
  • Do other stuff, so you have more interesting things to talk about than your business.
  • Believe and respect your intuition.
  • Laugh, a lot.
  • Hustle does not mean hardship or suffering. Hustle when it’s light out, then pack it in.
  • When all else fails, give it all over to the universe or god or the infinite mystery. It really worked that one time, remember?

And finally…

  • No one asked you to be a martyr.
  • Read that article in the New Yorker than Dan recommended. It’s probably really good.
  • Unsubscribe to blogs and newsletters that don’t lift you up.
  • Phones in airplane mode after 9pm. Snuggle the cat or read poetry. Get off h*ckin’ Twitter.
  • Have dreams and goals and pursue them with reckless abandon and enthusiasm.
  • A yearly plan is good news.
  • Don’t be afraid of devotion.
  • Get cozy with your spirit and your spirit guides. Allow them the space and quiet to speak.
  • Get a massage once a month.
  • Eat avocados, pineapple, chocolate, berries, nettle tea, ginger, yogurt, kale, tofu, and sweet potatoes. And pasta with cream sauce when you feel like it. Eat according to your body’s own incredible wisdom.
  • Sleep however much you need to. Nap more. Go to sleep as early as you like, in a dark room and don’t set an alarm. Your body is doing remarkable healing and sleep is part of its medicine.
  • Keep your healing team warmed up.

It sounds like a lot, but…

This is how I have my back. This is how I best show up in my life, as my best self. Most of all, this is how I come home to myself. It’s what self-solidarity looks like in my life and how I walk my self-care talk.

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

You & Me: self-care, healing & revolution in 2017

January 2, 2017

I really like clarity and giving generously.

Do you also like clarity? Are you interested in connecting? (With me, even?) Great! Here’s the scoop on all of the self-care, healing, and revolution that will be happening here in 2017!

You can make 2017 your most amazing and meaningful year ever. Check out resources for self-care, healing, and revolution, and click here to download your free workbook! >> www.christytending.com

Since there are some big changes in the works for this coming year. I wanted to give you a sneak-peek at what’s afoot for 2017.

This includes awesome new things, magical shifts, and even spiffy things you may not have known that I offer. In addition to how we can work together, I also wanted to share a bit about how I’ll be working behinds the scenes this year, as well. As I welcome big changes into my life, I’m welcoming some evolution into my business as well.

You and me: self-care, healing and revolution.

This year ahead is going to test us all. We are going to need our self-care more than ever. We will need to deepen still our practices, our capacity for healing, and our vision for a compassionate world.

My goals for 2017 are really very simple:

Be of generous service.

Simplify.

Trust the process.

I’m honored to walk this path with you, and I’m humbled, as ever, to serve you. Below, I’m breaking down exactly how this is unfolding in my work, to give you a good sense of how we can connect in this coming year. I’m so looking forward the next steps!

(No spoilers, but skip down to “In the future…” for one of my big, shiny announcements!)

 

Sacred Focus

Sacred Focus is my flagship course.

As ever, I’m thrilled to be offering this course, in a more robust format than ever in 2017. It opens for registration a few times a year – you can get on the waitlist for early registration (and early-bird pricing!) right here.

In nine modules and nine video masterclasses, you’ll de-overwhelm your life and cultivate a self-care and spiritual practice that lights you up. You’ll also be invited to quarterly special events available *only* for my Sacred Focus students. (There’s a Spring Equinox day-long coming up on March 20th!)

This is my very best work and an accessible way to get lots of personal attention from me through quarterly small-group events.

 

Sign up for the waitlist to be the first to know when the course opens.

Self-Paced Courses and Toolkits

Looking to deepen your self-care? I offer self-care courses and toolkits that are available year-round. You don’t need to wait to dive into lovingkindness meditation with Hella Metta or a truly awesome self-care practice inside Real Self-Care.

All of these are available on demand and look deeply at the essential building blocks of my own self-care and self-healing practice.

 

The free self-care resource garden and my e-letter, Tending the Light

Every Tuesday, I send a sweet, encouraging letter that’s exclusive to folks on my list. I also include articles you might enjoy, extra resources, and even occasional discounts.

The best part? You get access to my free self-care resource garden. It’s always my aim to make my work as accessible as possible. As such, you’ll find a treasure trove of *totally free* self-care practices, workbooks, video workshops, and more. Want the secret password? Sign up right here.


Create more ease and fabulous self-care with the Crafting Your Life Workbook from Christy Tending. Grab yours here -- www.christytending.com (1)Want to get started with all kinds of amazing self-care for the new year?

Download Crafting Your Life, my free workbook with essential questions that will guide you in making 2017 an incredible year! >>

 

 


Live speaking events

Getting in front of a live audience lights me up like a Christmas tree. In the last year, I’ve spoken at conferences like Soil Not Oil and Powershift. I’ve led workshops for non-profit organizations’ retreats and at universities.

I would love to talk with you about speaking at your event, conference or organization. for my rates and to discuss what I can bring to your audience.

Live online workshops

I love teaching workshops online. Every month, I offer a couple of different (free, live) learning opportunities, where I dive deep into self-care and self-healing practices that you can bring into your real life.

There’s always plenty of time for Q&A with me, plus awesome exclusive bonuses for attending live. These are some of my favorite ways to share learning and to connect with you. Browse the workshop calendar here and grab your spot!

My blog

I write about self-care practices, healing burnout, and what’s worked for me in my own practice over on the blog. I share my favorite resources and my sacred routines. As I welcome January, the schedule looks something like: new blog posts on Mondays; a Collective Care interview on Wednesdays, and my Sacred Circle round-ups on Fridays.

This will likely shift to fewer posts as the year progresses. (More on that in a minute.)

There’s quite an archive over there.

In the Future

This is where it gets interesting.

Sometime in late April, my family will be expanding! I’m so excited to announce that a new baby will be joining me, my sweetie, and our cats, Dorothy & Harriet in all of our adventures. Yes, we are thrilled. Yes, I’m feeling great and am loving this new dimension of my self-care. No, I’m not sure the cats have any idea what’s going on.

What this means for our work together

I’m going to take some time off from being a full-time self-care mentor, between when our sweet peanut arrives in the spring and the beginning of August. During my maternity leave, I’ll be offering my weekly e-letter, as well as blogs on a more sporadic basis.

I plan to resume live workshops and other more active teaching later in the summer.

But part of the beauty of this space is that you can dive into (most of) my courses or toolkits at any time and work through them at your own pace.

 

It is always a joy and privilege to do this work and to share it. Thank you for being here. I look forward to connecting in the new year.


Create more ease and fabulous self-care with the Crafting Your Life Workbook from Christy Tending. Grab yours here -- www.christytending.com (1)Want to get started with all kinds of amazing self-care for the new year?

Download Crafting Your Life, my free workbook with essential questions that will guide you in making 2017 an incredible year! >>

 

Related:

Less (but Better)

Two Types of Busy

Magic and the Sacred Everyday

Self-Care Tools for Crafting the Year Ahead

December 26, 2016

for Crafting the Year Ahead

Tools for Crafting My Year:

I use the questions in this workbook as my guide at the beginning of each year.

In particular, I look at the last year as a lesson, not an opportunity to scold myself or to shame myself into changes in the future. Truly, I look at it as a learning opportunity: a chance to listen to my inner voice and to be close to my own heart.

In particular, I journal on these ideas, so that I can greet the new year with clarity and a sense of what I’m showing up for in 2017 – and how I’m showing up for it.

  • What I want more/less of?
  • What I’m opening to/calling in/releasing
  • How I’m nourishing myself and building resilience

Instead of new years resolutions, I craft intentions instead.

I believe that resolutions tend to set us up for failure. So rather than choosing goals, which tend to be out of my control, I choose intentions.

Whereas goals tend to be more external-focused and contingent on outcomes, I choose internally-focused intentions. These intentions are commitments to how I want to show up – the tone I want to set, how I want to be embodied. When I’m grounded in that, external circumstances matter less, because I can make informed choices about my own inner state.

What’s Sacred to me:

The turning of the year is always a good time to reevaluate: what’s feeling good? What’s feeling less-than-good? What has been meaningful, memorable and sacred from this past year? What are the moments that have felt holy and precious?

And, then, perhaps most importantly: how can I incorporate more of that in the year to come?

My Sacred Focus:

What is a Sacred Focus?

In 2014, I chose “Sacred Focus” as my phrase for the coming year. It was my guiding light as I detangled myself from “shoulds,” overwhelm, and unfulfilling parts of my life. Through Sacred Focus, I chose to uplift the parts of my life truly felt just that: Sacred. And the places where I wanted to place my Focus. Read more about that over here.

My Sacred Focus for the year

I pick 3-5 areas each year that I’m calling my Sacred Focus. This year, those areas are:

  • My family – chosen family, biological family, and the animal members of my family (like my cats, Harriet & Dorothy).
  • Enriching spiritual practice – deepening my relationship with tarot, taking a meditation retreat, and continuing (and investing time in) my yoga and poetry practices.
  • My home – my physical home, and making it a supportive, joyful place, as well as my body-home and taking good care of it through good food, movement, and laughter.
  • Being of good, generous service – to the world around me, and through healing arts & self-care mentorship. I vow to keep showing up here, with the intention to be of the highest service that I can.

Choose wisely and let everything else moves around it

I find that when I choose just a few areas to focus my intention, attention, and love, those things tend to flow better. They become the gravitational pull around which everything else orbits. Instead of choosing 20 things to accomplish next year, I’ve chosen three places where I want to be most mindful and loving.

With that in mind, the outcome is less important, and I can be more immersed in the magic of the process. I can be open to life, while ensuring that I’m present with what calls me most.

Some goals:

Okay, so I do have some goals. But they’re fairly simple and I’m looking forward to following through deeply on a few precious things, rather than throwing my energy around.

Metta retreat

In January, I’m taking a 7 day retreat at Spirit Rock, here in Northern California. I’ll be sitting in silence, all day for each of those days, and deepening my practice of Metta Bhavana (lovingkindness meditation). This practice has been at the heart of my self-care for many years now, and I’m thrilled to be deepening into my practice.

(Plus, I’m looking forward to sharing what I glean with you!)

House goals

My home is my sanctuary, and I have a few goals for 2017 about making it even more of a love-filled, joyful, and lush space. More community gatherings, more laughter, more shared food, more friends filling my home.

Plus, a little more furniture is on its way!

What’s coming next in this space

You’ll be hearing more from me soon, both here on the blog and in my e-letter, on what you can expect from me in 2017.

The gist? My highest intention is to be of generous service in this space. To continue to offer plenty of free resources, live workshops, and inspiring writings.

It’s also my intention to simplify a bit. You can see some of those plans reflected in the shop. My plan is to pare back in order to make my courses and toolkits even more amazing.

Related:

How to Craft a Self-Care Year

What is Lovingkindness?

 

My word for 2017: Trust

December 21, 2016

I love choosing a word for the year.

Last year, I wrote about the word Fly as my word of the year. Since then, I’ve taken it to heart. Taking flight. Feathering my nest. Allowing myself to soar: to create, to take on new leadership roles, and to step into the unknown.

This year, I’ve chosen a new word. It’s one that meets my heart where it is now, and creates space for what I wish for the year to come.

This year, I choose Trust.

Allowing myself to trust – and more about my word for the year. Click here for free self-care resources! >> www.christytending.com

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. Here’s how I’m calling trust into my life this upcoming year:

To trust in myself:

In this coming year, I choose to trust myself. I place an active faith in myself and my ability to step into all of the roles I’ll inhabit. In 2017, I’ll be taking on some grand new challenges. My trust is not that everything will go smoothly, or that I will be perfect.

Instead, I trust myself to keep my word, stay compassionate, and do my best. That’s all any of us can do really. I choose to remember that I, myself, am a safe space and a good ally in my own healing and life.

To trust my wisdom and knowing:

After nearly 15 years of practicing yoga and meditation, and after devoting myself to self-care now for 10 years, I have some wisdom. I am a wise caretaker for my own body and being. In the coming year, I commit to believing myself and in that wisdom.

My boundaries are sacred, because I know myself well enough to set skillful ones. My needs are not selfish, but the wise and incredibly human longing for connection and healing. None of this is arbitrary. It comes from my hard-won experience and the sincere wisdom of being my own best expert.

To be trustworthy:

Much of what I’ve said so far relates to how I will choose to trust.

But a big piece of this commitment is that I want to be trustworthy in return.

I choose to speak kindly. My word will be my bond. I will show up in a spirit of service and generosity. More than anything, I want to be someone on whom others can rely. I want to provide a safe space, through my presence, for the beings in my life.

This year, I will be a force for fierce compassion and for trustworthiness.

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

 

To trust the process:

Nothing is ever final. There is no “done,” really.

I choose to trust the ellipsis of life and to be present with that which is unfinished.

Life is a process.

We are all works in progress.

I choose to trust that and be present with that, rather than shrinking from it or trying to cover it over.

To walk into the unknown in courage:

By choosing trust, I step into the flow of life willingly. There is much that is unknown. In these turbulent times, and in my own life. None of us can see around corners. Rather than hiding from it or trying to armor myself against it, I choose it.

I trust that I am safe and loved and held. Courage will be my cloak as I step into this new phase of life, as a healer, as an activist, and as a human.

To experience grace:

None of us is ever alone.

I have a remarkable community and family of beings surrounding me. Sometimes, it can be difficult to surrender and to experience the immensity of that. Being loved requires vulnerability. This year, I choose to allow myself to be loved, held, and supported – to experience grace – with a sense of trust.

This is mercy. It is interconnection. This experience is why we are here.

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

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

Create a Home Meditation Space

December 14, 2016

One of the most common sources of overwhelm is that of space. Not enough space. Cluttered space. Sharing space.

I share my home with three other humans: my sweetie and our two housemates – plus two cats. Tidiness, privacy, quiet, and scheduling can sometimes make keeping a space feeling sacred a challenge.

Yet, my sacred practice is vital to my well-being.

No matter how small your space, learn how to create a magical home meditation space. Click here to get a free self-care workbook! >> www.christytending.com

I need a space for meditation, yoga, writing, reading, and general contemplation. Having a space that feels dedicated for this feels incredibly important to me and to my self-care. So, when we moved into our new home in August, it was agreed that the little shed in the backyard would become my studio.

This is where the magic happens.

And today, I’m going to show you how I created it. Plus, I have a few principles for how to create a meditation space, altar or other sacred space, even if you don’t have much room.

How to create your space:

Start with a vision

I began where I begin most big projects when I need infinite inspiration: Pinterest. I pinned hundreds of images of what my little studio *could* look like (to a secret board). Not every one was perfect or even realistic. But I collected paint swatches, rugs, and desk organization tips. I even selected images for their natural light alone.

From there, I whittled down the images to a single aesthetic or set of unifying characteristics that felt compelling to me.

Answer the question: what does it need to do?

Really, how will the space (in an ideal world) function in your life?

Is it a whole room, part of one, or a corner? What will you use it for? What does it need to store?

It might be tempting to focus on the aesthetics of your meditation or yoga space, but it doesn’t work if it doesn’t work. Make sure that you spend some time thinking about functionality. Factors might include light, heat (or a fan), storage, empty space (so you don’t whack your arm against the wall in warrior II), privacy or sound-proofing.

Set the stage and an intention

Your space is only as sacred as you make it. So spend some time there. Put your intentions into it and allow your space to be a vessel for those intentions, as well as your practice. The space will ripen as you practice there, and as it absorbs the preciousness of your practice.

Use the space as it was intended. Allow it to be sacred ground and treat it as such. Fill it with treasures and what is necessary for you to experience joy, spirit, and healing there.

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

How to maintain the space:

Clean it regularly

Using non-toxic (and perhaps even scent-free) cleansers, make sure to clean your space often. This is important. While there are plenty of intrinsic benefits to cleaning a space, it is even more important when applied to sacred spaces.

Cleaning and attending to a space enlivens it through this act of devotion.

Smudging and energetic clearing

Another way to regularly clean and maintain your space is through energetic cleansing. In the same way that water and soap (or baking soda or apple cider vinegar) cleans a space physically, there are other ways to clean your space on the energetic or spiritual level.

I regularly smudge my space with sage, palo santo or sweetgrass to remove energetic adhesions. Once a month or so, I throw open the door and windows for an afternoon to let the light and air move through the space. I also use selenite wands and smudge sprays to move energy that no longer serves the space.

For calling in intention or setting the stage for the space to do its work, I often use energy work (reiki) on the interior of the space, to invite in what does belong.

Swap out what no longer belongs

I try not to keep what I’m not actively using, and if an object is no longer serving me, I tend to swap it out. I either put it into storage, give it away, or trade with a friend. This practice keeps me honest and in integrity with my commitment to non-attachment and not taking what does not belong to me.

How I use my space:

Again, I use my space for its original intention. It’s not for hanging out and watching movies or for distracting myself on Facebook. My studio has four main functions and I try to abide by these in order to respect the space.

  • Meditation and spiritual practice: sometimes seated, sometimes walking. I also include altar-building, tarot or oracle card reading, prayer, singing, or journaling here.

  • Yoga and physical practice (often interwoven with the above)

  • Writing and healing work: again, everything you see here is created in my sacred space. I write for the site, as well as maintaining a practice that includes journaling, poetry writing, and setting intention.

  • Reading poetry and spiritual texts.

Essential elements I include in my space:

  • Tarot and oracle card decks
  • Books of poetry or spiritual texts
  • Photographs of loved ones
  • Art that inspires me (often framed, almost all gifts)
  • Fresh flowers and plants
  • Yoga mats and props, meditation cushions
  • Natural elements: pinecones, feathers, shells, sticks, stones and crystals, etc.
  • An organized desk for writing and creating everything you see here on this site

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


Small space solutions for Sacred Space:

Inside a drawer:

You can keep your tools, or even create a tableau or diorama, inside a dedicated drawer in the nightstand or bureau. This keeps them safe and out of the way, but in a space that’s just for them. This is particularly good if you want to build temporary altars and then keep your tools out of hand’s (or paw’s) reach.

On top of a dresser:

If you don’t have space for an altar table or other meditation space on your floor, try giving your altar the top of a dresser (or other surface). Make sure it isn’t a magnet for clutter – let it be dedicated to its intended purpose.

Vision or pin-boards:

A vision or pin-board (or another wall-hanging solution) is perfect if you’re low on surface areas in your home and is especially nice if you have animals. Instead of sacred objects being arranged horizontally on a table, they’re arranged vertically on a board. This solution is well-suited for written intentions, poetry, oracle or tarot cards or other forms of art.


Related:

What is Lovingkindness?

Less (but Better)

Dana (generosity) and my work

 

Free Toolkit:

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

Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People

November 23, 2016

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) need more – and different kinds – of self-care. If you’re highly sensitive, read on for effective self-care strategies and specific tips to manage your energy and take good care of yourself, no matter how sensitive you are.

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) need more – and different kinds – of self-care. If you're highly sensitive, learn effective self-care strategies to manage your energy: Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People. Click here to get free self-care workbooks! >> www.christytending.com

How do you know if you’re sensitive?

Oh, you probably know.

I mean. You’re sensitive.

But what “sensitive” means – and what it looks like in the real world varies greatly from person to person. For one person, loud sounds are too much. For others, crowds can be overwhelming. Some people are disproportionately affected by seeing horrific news stories or other beings suffering. Perhaps, it’s just having to be “on” around others for extended periods of time.

(On a personal note, any of the above could apply to me, on a given day.)

In general, though, I define sensitive people as those big-hearted folks who are deeply affected by input (sensory, social, etc.), stimuli, or secondary trauma.

So, what’s the problem? And what does this have to do with change-makers?

Over time, being exposed to that which elicits a sensitivity response on a consistent basis becomes waring. It might impact us physically, through pain response, sleep disruption, or immune system depression. Or it could affect our mental state, through anxiety, depression, PTSD or other mental illness. Still others experience it on more of an energetic, ethereal, or spiritual level.

The point is: exposure these sorts of stimuli, for a highly sensitive person, has real consequences.

Related:

For times of grief

When you feel triggered

So, what’s the solution?

(Spoiler alert: There is no one perfect solution.)

But nor does that mean you’re doomed to spend the rest of your days in your house, hanging out with your cat watching Gilmore Girls (although, that doesn’t sounds like the worst plan, either).

As a highly sensitive person who manages to live a full life, with friends, social engagements, political activity, fun, and even public speaking engagements, I’ve gotten pretty deft at navigating a traumatic world with a sensitive soul. The trick is never to try to outsmart myself. Instead, I develop clear strategies when I know that I’ll be in situations that demand a lot of my energy.

I take breaks. I communicate my boundaries. And I know that I need to build in recovery time. It’s an experiment. A dance. Never static.

Oh, and I never, ever approach myself as a “problem” to be “fixed.”

A useful analogy: Spoon Theory

In order to manage my energy, and to communicate the resources that I have available, I use what’s know in the disability community as, “Spoon Theory.”

The term originated in this post by Christine Miserandino.

I can’t do the concept any greater justice than her original post, and I highly encourage you to read it and digest it. Not just for yourself, but for your loved ones who may also be experiencing chronic illness, disability, or other factors that limit their energy.

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

Tips for protecting your energy:

This is what works for me. Part of protecting your energy as a sensitive soul is knowing yourself well. You’ll want to create a customized plan for yourself, perhaps using some of these ideas as a jumping off point. The intention here is not perfection or to put you in a bubble.

The intention is to help ourselves build good practices and tools to protect ourselves when we can. And the rest of the time? Having the mindfulness and awareness to know when something is affecting us, so that we can respond – meeting ourselves as we are – compassionately and appropriately.

Know thyself

The first step is to know what creates greater sensitivity or reaction from your system. With this information, you’re then empowered to make choices, create boundaries, and craft a container that honors this sensitivity as the gift it is. Experiment, lean on your intuition, and be as curios as possible about your inner state and how it reacts.

Aim to know yourself without judgment.

Believe and respect thyself

This is perhaps a bit more difficult than the first step. Once you have this wealth of information and wisdom about your interior realm, respect it. Not only that, but believe it to be a true reflection of your experience. Often sensitivity is dismissed or downplayed. Know that even if it seems out of proportion to what others experience, your response is true for you. Believe yourself. And then offer yourself some respect.

Respect not just the truth of your experience but your courage in facing it honestly.

White space

Give yourself some room. Some quiet. Some stillness. Create time when nothing is on your calendar. Creating this kind of “white space” or blank room is essential for sensitive folks. It gives us time to digest, integrate and process our experiences. By taking time with nothing on the agenda, we can allow our minds to wander, for our emotions to move through us, and for our energy to naturally replenish itself.

Boundaries

Once you know yourself, and once you recognize that what you’re experiencing is real, you may want some boundaries. Recognize what affects you negatively and then put some limits on your exposure to those things. This is part of knowing, respecting, and protecting yourself. What is too much? Who isn’t healthy for you? How might limiting your exposure to what feels toxic actually make you more effective in what you’re truly meant to do?

There’s never a reason to apologize for your boundaries. Simply own them, by being clear on what you are and are not willing to do. There’s no need to explain; a simple, “No, thanks.” usually does the trick.

Cleansing

If you have been in a situation that activates your sensitivity, or leaves you feeling raw, bruised or simply exhausted, remember to cleanse. Cleansing isn’t just getting clean – it’s removing anything from your energybody that doesn’t belong to you or that isn’t serving you.

For some, this might actually be a hot shower (they’re my favorite for cleansing energy, especially with a scalp massage). But you might also try putting your hands on a tree or your body on the earth, allowing the energy to be reabsorbed into the earth. You might smudge yourself with sage, palo santo, or sweetgrass. Once cleansed, try having a snack, to renourish yourself with something delicious and nutritious.

Recovery

Beyond the cleansing suggestions above, you may still need a little recovery, to fully bring yourself back to full strength. Take the time you need – and build this time into activities that you know have the tendency to stress your system. Take a nap. Veg out and binge watch something that makes you happy. Build yourself a cozy nest on the couch or in bed.Do some yoga or other gentle movement – or even meditate.

The point is: take your time before coming back to “the real world” and honor what you need. Discover your own pace for recovery and allow yourself to move in that way.

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

Related:

Newly Updated: Real Self-Care

Signature Workshops

5 lessons on resilience from my rescue cats

November 21, 2016

In January of 2014, my sweetie and I attended a feral cat adoption day, and changed our own lives. Our sweet cat Dorothy chose us as her people that day. She laid her head on my hand and fell asleep, and I knew immediately that she needed to be a part of our family.

Eighteen months later, we adopted Harriet. Dorothy and Harriet are now best friends and sisters from another whisker. Those cats have truly made us a family. They’ve also taught me more than I ever dreamed about resilience.

I've learned more about resilience, healing and love from rescuing animals than perhaps anything else in my life. Here are 5 lessons on resilience from my rescue cats. Plus click here for a free self-care resource library! >> www.christytending.com

These two cats had incredibly tough starts in life.What’s more, Dorothy came to us with a neurological disability. Harriet, we were warned, hissed at other cats. Yet they are two of the most open-hearted, loving, affectionate, and *fun* beings I’ve ever met.

The years since they’ve come into our lives have been the best ever.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

One no (or even 100 noes) doesn’t mean you’re unloveable or unworthy.

Dorothy lived in a foster home for five whole months after she was found by the cat rescue where we adopted her. That meant that she went to an adoption fair every weekend for five whole months before we chose each other. It still boggles my mind that anyone could meet her once and not fall in love.

But all of those “noes” didn’t mean that she was unloveable. It just meant that everyone was waiting for the right fit. She didn’t let it dissuade her from being deeply loving. She kept putting herself out there. No matter the rejection, she kept offering love.

Until she found someone who picked her back. (Us!)

Just because you’ve heard no before, doesn’t mean the right person (or a yes) isn’t about to come along.

Disability doesn’t mean broken.

Years and years ago, my sweetie and I watched this video on Youtube and decided that we (proactively) wanted to adopt a cat with a disability. Cats with disabilities have lower adoption rates, despite most having normal lifespans and low to no extra care required. We knew that we wanted to give an overlooked cat an amazing home.

As someone with an invisible disability and chronic illness, I identified so strongly with Dorothy, as soon as we brought her home. It took her some time to settle in. She had to fix her courage to do everyday things.

But over time, she developed her confidence and truly thrived. Her disability doesn’t hold her back. It doesn’t make her broken or a burden – it just gives her a jaunty walk and a little extra sass.

While I knew that my own disabilities didn’t make me “broken” either, Dorothy gave me new perspective on our our challenges equip us to be more resilient. In fact, our imperfections make us more charming and more lovable, in some cases.

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

Everyone moves at their own pace.

Harriet was our second adoptee, about a year and a half after we brought Dorothy home. Harriet doesn’t have any sort of disability and we brought her home at a younger age. She’s very active, which makes her appear to be more confident.

But Harriet is much shier around strangers. She hid under the bed for a good week after we moved house this past summer. She takes a while to warm up to new situations. This has been an incredible lesson for me that there really are no “shoulds”.

Everyone moves at their own pace, which should be honored. These days, Harriet is quite comfortable around our new housemates and in her new home. It just took her a little while.

A good reminder to be patient and respectful. Your trajectory might not look like someone else’s, but that doesn’t make it “wrong”.

True pleasure is found in simplicity.

In a sunbeam. At dinnertime, in a small white ramekin. With just a few belly scritches.

We humans make things needlessly complicated. Cats understand the simple pleasures of a piece of string. And they really don’t understand why you find Twitter so compelling. My cats have taught me the superiority of a nap in the sun over another re-run or Facebook refresh or buying myself another thing I don’t need.

I learn a lot just from being with these cats. When I talk about my self-care, they figure prominently. Instead of rushing to the next thing, I find myself laying in a sunbeam with them. I watch them while they watch the world – and I allow my mind to wander, also.

While affectionate, they’re pretty low maintenance – pretty content with what they’ve got. They get excited about a cardboard box and a little bit of fish. May we all be filled with that kind of exuberance and gratitude.

Decide who you want to make proud – and forget the rest.

I know that at the end of the day, jerks on the Internet or random humans don’t determine my worth. I care about fewer and fewer opinions these days. I really just don’t sweat it the way I used to. My barometer of success is simple:

  • Am I doing work that feels meaningful?
  • Am I showing up for people I love, fully?
  • And: are my cats excited to come snuggle with me?

They’re pretty awesome, after all. And they’ve taught me the value of focusing on the opinions of those who truly matter, who show me love every day, and letting the rest go.

This is part of my Sacred Focus work. By focusing more on what feels precious and meaningful to me – by making a sacred practice of that – I create space to experience what is personally sacred to me every single day.

This also means that I don’t take setbacks or criticism quite as personally. When I know what my Sacred Focus is, the rest falls away. It means that I’m more resilient to difficulty, because I’ve already put into place what means the most.

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

 

Related posts:

Sacred Circle: healing loneliness

October 28, 2016

Each week, I round up some of my favorite self-care resources from around the web. Ideas for healing, joy, justice, and well-being. These are the self-care tips and resources that I believe in, that I use in my own life. I hope they serve you.

Have something you’d like for me to include? Zip me a tweet!

 

Sacred Circle: healing loneliness, amplifying diversity, Solange, and more self-care resources. Get free a self-care pdf inside! >> www.christytending.com

 

What’s new from me and around here:

This blog (and this vintage blog, from a year ago!)

This guest post of mine over on Grace Quantock’s site.

This free planner – my most popular free self-care pdf – downloaded 1,500 times!

I’m offering four opportunities to join me for my signature fall workshop, How to Hold onto Self-Care at the Holidays – grab your seat, join me live, and pick my brain about how to stay centered, mindful, and joyful during the whole holiday season.

Super-honored to be included in this Gratitude Link Fest from Chloe at One Infinite Life (along with a group of other magnificent and wise pieces). Thank you so much!

 

What I’m reading:

What really creates loneliness? Hint: it’s not your fault. (Related: why friends disappear in your 30’s and what to do about it)

This is really good: Depression-Busting Exercise Tips For People Too Depressed To Exercise

Why That One Thing Ain’t the Answer (from one of my mentors, Michelle Ward) I love this bit:

“But what’s the difference between your One Thing and success? It’s what you do with it after it’s done.” (Cue Keanu-style Whoaaaaa.)

How Modern Women are Reclaiming the Occult

 

In my life:

I’ve struggled for a long time to define my place in the yoga world. I’ve realized that it will simply keep evolving, just like the rest of me. And on a similar note, I’m loving the hashtag #thisiswhatayogilookslike and this article: Diversity as the norm, not the exception. I can’t overstate how important I believe this is, in order for yoga itself to make its next evolution.

Did you know that I’m obsessed with wolves? (I’ve written about my relationship with coyotes, but wolves are so amazing, too!) Which is why I devour any book or documentary I can get my hands on about wolves. Like this one, which is just phenomenally interesting.

And this video about wolves and veterans is incredible.

Hygge-ing it up over here: what is hygge you ask? (from Slate) and How to Hygge (from yes and yes)

 

Listening to:

Solange’s new album, A Seat at the Table. It is pure genius, and I’m loving Cranes in the Sky in particular.

Light by Dr. Toast – luscious and beautiful.

This really pretty cover of Such Great Heights. This song still makes me swoon.

 

What I’m looking forward to:

I’m so looking forward to this movie: Loving

Not reading yet, but it’s on my Christmas wishlist: In the Company of Women, by Grace Bonney

 

“Looking at beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind.” ― Amit Ray | self-care and sacred ritual for worldchangers >> www.christytending.com

Is it procrastination or self-care?

October 24, 2016

I received an amazing question during a recent, live workshop. To paraphrase: how can you determine if you are using self-care to avoid something (i.e. resistance) as opposed to knowing when it’s really needed?

Is it procrastination or self-care? How do you know when you need self-care or whether you're just resisting something? Find out inside – and save your seat for the free self-care video training series inside! >> www.christytending.com

This question stopped me in my tracks for two reasons:

  1. I think this is a common self-care myth – that self-care isn’t necessary, rather that it’s an excuse to procrastinate or fall into attachment or aversion. (Hint: it’s not. It’s a necessary part of developing self-compassion and resilience.)
  2. I relate to this – hard. Though I’ve studied Buddhism for years, I’m all too familiar of the trap of avoidance or attachment (another way of describing resistance or procrastination).

I love thought-provoking questions like these, and so I wanted to dive in deeper.

So what do you do? How do you cultivate discernment for what is self-care and what is simply avoidance, resistance or procrastination?

Opportunity for kindness

First of all, whether what you’re feeling is resistance or whether it’s your intuition telling you that you could use some self-care, this moment is an opportunity for kindness. Every moment is an opportunity for kindness. But whether you’re feeling a “real need” or some level of you is resisting something, you could probably use some compassion.

So rather than judging yourself or trying to change what you feel, remember this. It doesn’t actually matter, at the end of the day, whether the craving for self-care is “genuine” or not.

Some part of you is asking for empathy. Try to offer that empathy without strings attached.

Remember that you don’t need to “earn” self-care

Because you don’t.

You don’t have to have accomplished everything on your to-do list. You do not need to have suffered. And you definitely don’t need to be at full-tilt exhaustion. Maybe you’re just feeling human.

Self-care, the act of being kind and present with yourself and meeting your needs, is a birthright. You don’t need to meet a threshold or any criteria in order to get started.

Sometimes, self-care is doing it anyway

Okay, let’s say that after all of this kindness, you realize that you are procrastinating. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you are resisting something. That’s okay.

To that, I would offer this: you already know what you need to do.

You are incredibly wise. You likely know what you are putting off or avoiding. And sometimes, the kindest thing you can possibly do for yourself is to get it over with. Sometimes, self-care means enduring (temporary) discomfort or doing the thing you don’t want to do.

Sometimes, self-care is doing the thing that is in your best interest. That act might be unpleasant. It might not be what you’d choose. But…

Resistance is an unkind thing to carry in your body

Here’s the scoop: you can put it off indefinitely, or until someone turns off your lights – literally or metaphorically – but as long as you do, you’ll be carrying around that feeling of resistance. The trouble is, while avoiding the thing you’re avoiding may feel good in the moment, over the long-term, it kind of sucks.

Avoidance, attachment, resistance, and aversion are not kind things to carry in your body. They don’t feel good. They create tension patterns in the mind, as well as on the physical level. So ultimately, this is not actually doing you much good.

It might feel like freedom at first. But that avoidance will catch up with you. It ultimately must be answered. So why not set it down now?

Unburdening yourself can be the most compassionate act

Instead of carrying around that heavy load, try setting it down.

Doing the thing you’re avoiding is often less work than continuing to avoid it. By reframing the act as a compassionate unburdening, you can change the tenor of it. You can change it into doing something brave and fiercely kind on your own behalf.

By unburdening yourself of something you don’t want in your life, you actually move that energy out of your body, mind and life. Ironically, when we hang on to it (by avoiding it), it hangs on to us.

Instead, let it go. Free yourself from it.

This is beautiful ground on which to cultivate your inner knowing – and build trust with yourself

This is an opportunity to build trust with yourself.

Will you become someone who meets her obligations and life’s challenges head-on? Or will you become someone who hides?

Through our actions, we learn (and teach others) who we are. We gain confidence by taking action in a way that feels aligned and in integrity with who we want to be.

Moments of resistance are a fertile ground for self-discovery and acceptance. On this ground, we can cultivate inner knowing. We can germinate resilience. We can practice our integrity. Ultimately, we can develop a sense of trust, reliability and empathy in the face of difficult moments.

While a strong self-care practice can be a wonderful space for self-healing and recovery, sometimes the actions most aligned with our self-care will be how we meet difficult moments.

 

Related:

The 4 Pillars of Awesome Self-Care

What is Lovingkindness?

Self-Care Circle: fall favorites

October 14, 2016

Each week, I round up some of my favorite self-care resources from around the web. Ideas for healing, joy, justice, and well-being. These are the self-care tips and resources that I believe in, that I use in my own life. I hope they serve you.

Have something you’d like for me to include? Zip me a tweet!

Self-Care Circle: Fall self-care favorites like chai lattes, gatherings around crackling fires, cozy flannel sheets and more! Check out the free resource guide >> www.christytending.com

To eat:

  • Pumpkin pie
  • All the apples I can get my hands on
  • Steel-cut oats with flax and sunflower seeds
  • Baked tofu with Chinese five spice
  • Quiche loaded with swiss chard
  • Baked figs from my backyard

To see:

  • The incredible sunsets at this time of year in the Bay Area
  • Friends gathered around my new fire pit
  • The changing leaves and pumpkin patches
  • Deliciously foggy mornings and the steam rising off my mug of tea as I stroll out to my studio in the mornings.

To do:

  • Go on long walks in the brisk fall air
  • Carve pumpkins with cat faces (!!!)
  • Wearing all the sweaters I’ve been missing since it’s been too warm.
  • Drink chai lattes in the afternoon sun
  • All the knitting projects! Hats and cowls and triangle shawls, oh my!

To enjoy:

  • The stack of graphic novels waiting for me
  • Returning to Spirit Rock, a Buddhist Center in Marin County for a couple of day-long meditation retreats coming up!
  • Kitten snuggles, always, and flannel sheets

 

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” — Thich Nhat Hanh self-care and sacred ritual for worldchangers >> www.christytending.com

 

What I’m listening to:

What I’m reading this week:

What’s new around these parts: