There is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken. Even in your darkest hour you are divine and ANYTHING that tells you otherwise is just your own or someone else's shame and fear talking.
The religion of my childhood instilled fear and shame in me. More specifically the concept of sinning and that a sinner without salvation equaled eternal damnation. Pretty hefty stakes.
The ideology of sinning led me to feel that any of my decisions that went against the standards I was raised with were bad, evil or worthy of judgment. For me this was a mark on my psyche at a very young age that has taken me decades to unravel and let go of (and there is still work to do.)
In my opinion things went terribly wrong with religion when we started using it to teach each other that we are sinners. To me this represents the use of religious teachings to shame each other. I make this point about religion to show you that feeling not good enough has ancient and prolific roots. We are all the product of misguided but well-intentioned programming that was meant to mold us into the good citizens and loving beings that we all are at our very core (especially when we are loved, self-aware and supported).
It's time to reject the narrative of perfectionism and re-write the story of our how we see ourselves and others.
We all came here to grow. That means we aren't supposed to have it all figured out. Your struggle is part of your awakening. You and everyone you meet are doing the best you they can with the skills they have.
Your body, wounds, past and big feelings are all sacred. The love in your heart and the gifts you uniquely have to share are divine. The same goes for every single person you meet.
So take a breath and remember that you are whole just as you are right now AND there is work to do.
I work with people who share their most uncomfortable truths, shame and inner thoughts with me. Through the rich experience of space holding and mentoring many different people over so many years it's clear to me that most of us are fighting similar yet uniquely individual battles.
We struggle with self-worth, self-acceptance and how to work with shame or fear and move forward at the same time.
We battle with relationships, integrating old wounds and opening ourselves up to receive.
We wrestle with pain and mental health, desires for a lighter life experience and lack of skills to get there.
When we talk about these things we often overlook that our body is experiencing it along with us. I remind people to notice their bodies and pay attention to the communication it is giving them.
One of the common places tension manifests when people share their shadow self with me is tightness in their throat and chest.
If you relate to this, I have some simple and easily accessible advice...use your voice. Speak your truth maybe outloud to yourself as you drive in your car. Scream into a pillow and give your feelings room to flow out of you. Sing or chant a powerful song or mantra. Practice speaking even when it feels really uncomfortable to do so in safe spaces. Attend my Women's Circles if you're local to Greenville.
Use your voice friends, tune into your body and make some noise.
Mental Health is personal for me, for all of us. I feel like part of why I was put here on this earth is to facilitate conversations about mental health as they relate to us as a WHOLE person.
Mental Health is a relationship we have with a layer of our being. Just one part of us but I'll be damned if it isn't one of the most important ones. Mental health is interactive and based on the choices we make our mental health is impacted for better or worse.
5 Things I do for my Mental Health Everyday:
2. Move and connect with my body.
Daily movement makes us feel better and gives us energy. Our bodies need a variety of movement. I'll admit sometimes connecting with my body takes a real conscious effort. I have to overcome my own desire to avoid my body that manifests in desires to do something else that keeps me in my mind. You're not alone!
3. Practice emotional intelligence and intimacy.
All emotions are normal and valid. Become aware of what you are feeling, learn about emotions, find ways to express them in a healthy ways and give yourself permission to feel.
4. Spend time in aware in nature.
Nature is therapeutic and science supports how much we need it. Even a 10 minute sit out in the sunshine can do wonders.
5. Observe my nervous system and self-regulate.
Your nervous system is something you can learn to witness. When your nervous system is stuck in sympathetic arousal mode for example an array of experiences play out. For example, you may feel that you can't take time to care for yourself. You can learn to recognize where your nervous system is and self-regulate.
What are things you do every day for your mental health?
In life, we all have many different callings and paths to take. The universe speaks to us all in our own unique way. My way is through an inner knowing, a felt sense and intuitive calls to action that often reoccur.
When we receive that communication from the universe (if we have awareness of it) we have choices.
1. Ignore it
2. Say No
3. Welcome it and wait for more clarity
4. Say Yes
No right or wrong here. Saying yes is the part that I want to highlight right now...If you want to honor a call to action you feel saying YES is an important and liberating step.
Saying yes and letting fo of the rest. Saying yes and saying a simple prayer like. "Thank you God/Spirit/Universe/Energy for guiding me in this endeavor, I step back and let you take the lead."
The postures, breath work and meditation that people associate with yoga are only a TINY part of what yoga is and represents. To give you an example, yoga has many different paths of study and practice. These are some of the big ones but there are several more:
Restorative Yoga is one of many styles of hatha yoga and is quite different from your mainstream flow class.
This style was built on the premise that resting, breathing and focusing the mind is health promoting.
During a Restorative class you can expect: to lay around in comfortable postures, breath slowly and be guided through relaxation exercises.
3 Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Every Tuesday in March I'm leading a virtual Restorative Yoga and Meditation class from 6-7 pm EST. Join us!
Restorative Yoga is also woven into Yoga Therapy and sessions for students who are interested. Send me a message to learn more.
If you have 5 minutes grab a journal, pen and sit in a place where you can focus. Sit with awareness. Write for 5 minutes on this topic, "5 things I notice about my body." Pay attention to body sensations, where emotions are felt in body, thoughts about body, body habits, etc. Try not to get lost in thought and instead be present in your body.
Simple yet effective practices like these bring us back home to ourselves. When we are connected with our body we live from a more grounded place.
In our family, gut health is at the top of the list when it comes to nutritional priorities. The more and more I learn about human health the more it points me back to the gut. One of my passions as a Yoga Therapist is working with improving Mental Health specifically. It's AMAZING the correlation between gut and mental health! I recently read the book "Fiber Fueled," about the benefits of eating a variety of plant based foods. It inspired me to take a recipe I make at least a couple times a month and give it an update. My kids love these and I feel great about serving these to them. They are a great source of healthy fat, plant based protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Let me know what you think about them!
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
2 and 1/2 c. rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
1 c. unsweetened sunbutter
1 c. natural peanut butter
1/2 c. freshly ground flaxseeds
1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips (mini work best but use what you have)
1/2 c. dried sweetened blueberries
1/4 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. hemp seeds
2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil (or avocado, etc)
1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix together by hand.
3. If time set in fridge for 20 minutes before rolling into balls. I find the oats soften a bit and I like the end result more.
4. If not, roll immediately into 1 inch size balls. Place in airtight container and store in your refrigerator. Lasts for about 2 weeks.
*This recipe makes approximately 35 balls. You may want to cut recipe in half if you are cooking for less people. *