Writing a book is not an easy feat. I report this from the trenches.
Bonus: the book is fantastic!
If you’ve been wanting to claim permission to step passionately into your life, discover how you and your gifts are unique, and uncover what you are meant to do, then this book is for you. And it’s oh so pretty thanks to Jess’s illustrations. You can catch other bloggers writing about about it over here.
The book touches on the following important topics: enthusiasm, uniquity, intention, success, money, celebration, trust, and…self-care.
In celebrating The Declaration of You I thought I’d the opportunity to look at just some of the ways I’ve explored self-care:
Self-care for the perfectionist.
Self-care for being well-fed.
Self-care for everyday life.
Self-care for relaxation.
Self-care for when you’re afraid.
Self-care for your body.
Self-care for when you’re in crisis.
Self-care for your creative spirit.
Self-care for when you need tenderness.
Self-care for owning your power.
Self-care for pleasure.
Self-care for self-love.
I’m working with a client who is just starting to thaw the iceberg that is her hungers.
The women I work with are often in this place when we first start to work together. It’s a place of unhappiness, dis-ease, and lack of fulfillment. It’s also a place where their true hunger are usually still frozen.
So we begin the thaw.We begin to feel.
What is it that they truly desire? What is it that would allow their whole lives to feel like the best meal ever? What is it that would give them a total body exhale?
Without fail we run into the elaborate fortresses they’ve built to avoid feeling their hungers.
There are walls of “But to have that would be selfish” and prison bars of “but is that even possible to have?!”
And there are oceans of sadness.
Sadness for the years spent hungry. Sadness from the longing. Sadness for the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
It’s a scary place. I’ve been there and the women I work with will tell you, I can walk with you out of that place.
So the client I mentioned, I received a note from her in the thick of the thaw:
“It’s almost as though admitting to wanting…has opened me up to just how much I need it. Just the thought of doing anything for anyone exhausts me right now…I think more than anything it’s showing me my depth of longing. Whenever something nice & nurturing happens and it’s over all too fast I can feel myself inside yelling for it not to stop. It’s almost like now I’m starting to open the door every hunger I’ve ever had is clamouring to be heard. It’s overwhelming right now. Breath. Take my time.”
She is starving for care, for touch, for nurturing. She needs it like she needs air and she’s been breathing through a straw.
Can you relate? Do some of your hungers feel this wide and deep? Do your hungers feel like they can never be satisfied?
Darling, here is what my heart has to say to you:
What’s the alternative?
The alternative is to live a life frozen.
Breathing through the straw.
Nibbling on crumbs.
The alternative is jobs that don’t feel good, relationships that don’t taste good, and a body that screams out for nourishment.
We are here, if for nothing else, to live fully.
For any life form to live fully it needs to be fed. A well-fed life is built on far more than whole grains and fresh produce.
We need play, touch, creative outlets, community, a voice, deep rest and more.
And these hungers – they aren’t bottomless.
Slowly but surely. As we listen, honor, and act we become fed. The sensation of hunger – of longing – cannot swallow us whole.
Your hungers may feel terribly deep and I say to you they are wise and you only need start to feed yourself one bite at a time.
Let it thaw. Let it all melt away.
Let your hungers rise and rise to the surface.
One of the perks of coming home to your body is that you get to feel pleasure.
When I lived estranged from my body, attempting to numb out discomfort and hunger, I also lost touch with what felt good, enlivening, and right.
Rumi wrote “Respond to every call that excites your spirit.”
When you’re disconnected from your body, you are disconnected from this excitement.
This past week my body spoke loud and clear: fabric. sewing. more. please. yes. oh my.
A bit of backstory:
My mom has her degree in home economics (yes, that’s a real thing) and grew up in a time when sewing your own clothing (with matching headbands) was fairly common. Her mother, my grandmother, sewed many outfits for my sister and I when we were young – even tiny quilts for the beds in our dollhouse.
This past week when arrived at my parents house for visit I took my luggage up to my room I found three japanese dress pattern books on the bedside table. My mom had gotten them for me so that I could pick out a dress to have her make. My body said: yes, joy, squee!
Later, gathered around bolts of fabric at the fabric store I could feel my heart pumping in my chest. The beauty of the prints. The saturation of the colors. The unique combinations that called to me.
In shopping for just one dress pattern I could already feel the hunger for more. More fabric. I want to be around more fabric. I love it so.
Like another might feel about a camera, or paints, or books, or cooking spices – I was feeling an overwhelming pull toward fabric.
I’m not a proficient sewer, yet, but I can certainly reattach a button and having taken basic lessons. I can thread a machine and make a basic tote bag. I even own a sewing machine, though until I live in a bigger space, it’s stored on the east coast at my parent’s house.
My body was telling me that this is important. This matters. This makes me feel alive. This makes me incredibly joyful.
Sitting at my parents dining table watching my mom cut out the dress pieces I felt at home. Something just felt so right and like this was just the beginning. A first date of a great love affair.
My body said “This is how I want to spend my Saturday mornings – stitching together a dress that is cut just for me in fabric that makes my body hum.” Yes, hum.
You want to know what you’re hungry for? You want to know where your creative joy lives?
Come home to your body and listen for what makes it hum.