Intuitive Self-Care

By | Intuition

We live in a culture of “should” and something I see a lot with my clients is that they have the best intentions for caring for themselves but all the “shoulds” get in the way of them listening to their own intuition about what they really need.

Intuitive self-care is taking care of yourself in ways that have meaning and make sense for you. By learning to connect with and trust your intuition, you’ll feel clear and confident about what you need to feel and function your best.

How do you know what you need?

By tuning in to your intuition of course! Your intuition is a direct line of communication between your soul and your conscious mind. Intuitive guidance is always supportive of your highest good, so your intuition will never lead you astray. Note that this doesn’t mean that everyone around you or the “should” voice in your brain will agree with your intuition (more on this below).

In order to tune in to your intuition you need to be willing and open to receive whatever comes through. You also need to make space for it. I find quiet time to be especially helpful, but this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in meditation!

Your intuition is always there waiting for you to tune in, and when we can quiet our conscious minds even a little, intuitive guidance comes through easily. How many times have you received a solution to a problem, an inspired idea, or clarity around a decision while going for a walk, making art, doing dishes, or taking a shower?

With regards to intuitive self-care, consider things like:

  • How you spend your time
  • Your priorities
  • Boundaries with other people
  • Boundaries with technology
  • Asking for and receiving help
  • Sleep, nutrition, movement

Intuition is the key to working with these aspects of self-care in an empowered way so that you can feel good about your decisions instead of guilty for trying to take care of yourself. (Or ashamed if your most nourishing self-care involves spending a day on the couch watching Netflix and not talking to anyone! Remember, intuitive self-care is about consciously choosing to follow your intuition about what you need.)

You may find it helpful to use each of the bullet points above as a jumping off point for journaling, or as touchpoints when making decisions. Pay close attention to any sense of knowing that you have, images, sounds, or words that come to you, and sensations in your body—these are all ways that intuitive information comes through.

A few things to watch out for

One of the trickiest things about following our intuition is that it often contradicts what our conscious minds think we “should” do, especially when it comes to self-care. Remember that what we think is influenced by our beliefs.

Our beliefs—about ourselves and about life—are formed in response to our experiences. The experiences we have in infancy and childhood are particularly influential, and unfortunately many of the beliefs we create in response to these experiences are incorrect and limiting. Examples of incorrect, limiting beliefs are the ideas that love and rest are things we must earn through productivity, perfection, or pleasing others.

The beliefs we hold also affect our susceptibility to outside influences like social or familial pressure. For example, if we have doubts about our worthiness or lovableness, we’re much more likely to give in to external pressure even when it contradicts our own inner knowing. We are programmed to seek love and belonging for our survival, so if we have doubts about whether we’re being loved or accepted, it becomes very difficult to hear or trust intuitive guidance that’s telling us to go against what is socially acceptable or what our families desire.

The truth is that what’s good for us is good for the collective. When we follow our intuition with regards to our self-care, choices, boundaries, etc. we are doing what is in the highest good for all—even if that means disappointing others. Keep that in mind next time you’re afraid to follow your intuition because you don’t want to upset someone or let them down. Ultimately, following your intuition creates the best outcome for everyone (even if they don’t realize it!).

Next steps

My best advice for developing a relationship with your intuition is to ask for the guidance you need and then quiet down, make some space, and allow the insights to flow to you (keeping in mind that they may not be loud or obvious!). Experiment with not responding to texts, emails, and invitations right away. Let your phone go to voicemail. Go for a walk or just do nothing instead of reading or watching TV. Ask your partner to handle the kids for an hour so you can have a bit of alone time with your thoughts to do something you enjoy. See what comes through for you when you invite your intuition in and open yourself to its wisdom.

The more you practice tuning into and acting on your intuition, the easier it becomes to intuitively care for yourself across the spectrum of seasons and situations you find yourself in.

Lastly, remember that everyone is intuitive! If you’d like personalized help with developing your innate intuitive gifts, I’d love to connect with you in a session.

Letting Go of Secrets and Shame

By | Intuition

I have a secret I’ve been holding onto for a long time, a secret that makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed.

I think a lot of secrets are like this, even if they start small, over time they become weights that hold us down. I want to share my secret with you both to set myself free and to let you know that you’re not alone. You may not have the same secrets or problem(s) I have, but you have things you keep hidden in the dark because of fear, shame, guilt, embarrassment, pain….

I’ve found that the more we can be open about our truths, the more connected and free we become. When we speak our shame, share our pain, and shine a light on everything that we’ve kept in the dark, we become able reclaim our wholeness. Loving ourselves through these difficult and vulnerable moments is the most healing and empowering work we’ll do as we navigate our human experience.

I’ve reached the point where living with this weight is far worse than opening up and sharing it. I’m ready to heal, to empower myself, to live fully.

My Secret

I’m addicted to Instagram. When it comes to social media, Instagram is my favorite, and I’ve struggled with my addiction to it for a long time. I feel silly writing that, I feel embarrassed and ashamed. It’s Instagram, not heroin! But the reality is that anything we’re addicted to is a problem because addiction itself is a problem.

I think of addiction as an escape hatch from life. It’s what happens when we engage in compulsive behavior in order to avoid pain, anxiety, fear, loneliness or other unpleasant feelings. We lose control, and this creates a downward spiral that feeds off of itself. The worse we feel, the more we engage in the addiction, and the more we engage in the addiction the worse we feel.

A Bit of Backstory

When I think back I can see clearly how my addiction came to be, and when I dig in and really look at myself I understand how it’s persisted for so long. I’ve acknowledged this problem to myself before, but never really owned it, never actually used the (for me, very loaded) word addiction.

My mother was an addict, in a family of addicts. Her addiction prevented her from truly living and it hastened her death. Even when I was very, very young I could see the damage it caused. I hated her addiction. I decided when I was child that I wasn’t like my mother and would never make the kinds of choices she made.

As I grew older and watched my mother implode I became even stronger in my conviction. I lived a lifestyle completely opposite of my mother’s and have always prided myself on not being vulnerable to vices and addictions. I viewed myself as too disciplined and in control to ever fall prey to addiction. Addiction was for weak, broken people, and I was strong. Until I wasn’t.

Facing the Truth

Imagine becoming the kind of person you most disdain. That’s essentially what happened to me, and the shame resulting from this experience has been crushing. The damage I’ve done to my sense of worth, to my self esteem, to my life, is very real. But the only way forward is through, so here we are.

About a month ago, in a very low moment of realizing I’d lost another hour to the Instagram vortex, my intuition came through very clearly telling me it was time to stop. Not just reduce my usage, but delete the app from my phone and completely stop using it. I felt so much relief at this prospect, even though I knew it meant facing a lot of things I’ve been avoiding.

I tried to distance myself from Instagram last summer after a similar low moment, but what ended up happening was that I stopped posting yet continued consuming everyone else’s content. As I’ve said many times, when your consumption outweighs your creation, it’s a recipe for disaster! For me when the balance tips toward overconsumption I experience lowered self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, not to mention less productivity and more stress.

I recalled that experience and accepted that my intuition was right: I needed to stop completely in order to break the cycle of compulsive behavior and create a permanent shift.

Facing Myself

Over the last month I’ve thought about what truly stopping would look like, what the repercussions would be for my life and work, and how I’ll address what’s really driving my addiction. Will I feel more isolated, less connected? Maybe, but it’s a good incentive to nurture connections outside of Instagram. Will I experience FOMO? Probably, but the irony is that the time I spend on Instagram is causing me to actually miss out on my life.

I’ve thought about my work and how I’ve held so tightly to the belief that Instagram is necessary for me to grow and promote my business…while not really using my account to do much of that at all! The truth is that my addiction is robbing me of time and energy I could be devoting to tasks that would actually create the results I’m looking for.

I’ve thought about what triggers me to pick up my phone and open Instagram, and what I’ll do instead when it’s not there anymore. I’m still sorting through what’s underneath it all, but I can tell you that there’s a lot of loneliness,grief, anxiety, and fear.

Moving Forward

The last 18 months have been particularly emotionally and intellectually intense for me and I think that has brought me to a crux as far as my Instagram overuse and what’s driving that behavior. In my experience if you dig deep you’ll always uncover a buried treasure, so even though I’m a bit nervous about both admitting this addiction and taking steps to address it, I’m also excited to see what unfolds in the space I’m creating.

I can’t say for sure how long I’ll be away from Instagram, but I’m certain that I’ll be intuitively guided to return at the right time. In the interim, I’ll be relaunching my email newsletter, which has been on hiatus for the past year, and focusing more on sharing both via that newsletter and my website. If you’re not already receiving my email newsletter, you can subscribe by clicking the “Get Free Guidance” button in the pink bar below this post.

And if you’d like intuitive guidance, coaching, and support to work through your own challenges, I’d be so honored to work with you. The funny thing about life is that the more I work on facing and working through my own pain, fear, and challenges, the better I continue to become at helping others do the same. Everything comes full circle, and we’re all in this together.

Finding Grace in the Aftermath of Trauma

By | Intuition

Today would have been my mom’s 70th birthday. She killed herself 12 years ago. This day isn’t tinged with terrible sadness for me, it’s not heavy. Some years it comes and goes and I don’t even realize until a few days later that it’s passed.

This year I felt it coming. It’s complicated. I’m sad, I’m relieved, I feel a bit adrift. There’s a space inside me that’s empty, but the truth is that that emptiness was there even before she died. I was holding that space for her and filling it up with all my dreams and fantasies of what our relationship could be. But they were just dreams and when she died they vanished into nothingness.

I grieved the loss of my dreams, the loss of what could be, the wasted potential, but I made quick work of it and built a wall around that empty space so I could pretend it wasn’t there. I felt that because her life had been so painful for her, and because my life was easier with her gone, that her death was a net win for our team. I made it simple in my mind, breathed a sigh of relief, and “moved on.” But it doesn’t work that way. The pieces of our story (of ourselves, really) that we deny will resurface again and again until we hear them, until we bring them back into our hearts.

I’ve spent the past 18 months taking down the wall around my “mother space” and investigating what’s really in that emptiness. It’s like picking through the ashes after a devastating fire: everything’s gone, but the ghosts are still there.

I’ve realized recently that that space doesn’t hurt quite as much as it used to, it’s just…space. I hold that space for myself now, to work through my experience of being mothered and my experience of being a mother. I think a lot about how she couldn’t show up for me, what that meant for me, all the sadness and pain I suffered because of it. All the stories and beliefs I created about life, relationships, and myself as a result of those experiences. I think about how sad her life was, how a perfect storm of childhood trauma and physical dysfunction sunk her ship before she could even leave the port. I think about how I mother my own kids, the impossible standards I’ve set for myself in response to my own childhood. How do you give what you never received? How do you mother yourself? How do you show up fully in the present when the past is dogging you incessantly?

I ask more questions than I answer, and the answers that do come are in the language of the heart. I can’t speak or explain them so much as feel them. I’m peeling back the layers, coming to an understanding, finding forgiveness—more for myself than for anyone else, because that’s what’s truly difficult. It’s so easy to forgive others their faults and so hard to do that for ourselves.

In simplifying her life, and her death, I shut the door on myself. I left no room for confusion, grief, or exploration. I didn’t want those things back then anyway, but I understand the need for them now. I never wanted to look back, to think about my past, to feel anything but strong and in control and unaffected. But the past does matter, it’s our foundation, and if we ignore it then the only explanation for our faults, patterns, and “issues,” is that we’re broken and flawed.

The path to loving and forgiving myself has involved examining my past and feeling all the painful feelings I avoided at the time. I’ve needed help to do this, to allow a fresh perspective on all this old stuff to emerge. I could write volumes on that alone—seeking help, being vulnerable enough to actually receive the help I needed, being brave enough to explore the darkness. But through this work I’m developing the foundation I never had. I’m becoming multi-dimensional and grounded in life, in myself.

I don’t know that I’d have the space in my heart or mind to do this if my mother were still alive. I needed a distance from it all that would’ve never been created if I were still trying to manage that relationship day in and day out. So, it’s complicated. She was born, she was in pain, she caused pain, she died, and then there was so much left behind that just couldn’t be ignored.

This year what I’ve decided is that her birthday is an opportunity to stop and take a moment to think of her. To think of the good times, her admirable qualities, all the things I like about myself that are a direct result of her genetics or her influence. To send love to her, to love myself. The only way forward is through, and I want to move through life with love.

Feelings Don’t Have an Expiration Date

By | Intuition

My beloved dog, who has been my best friend and favorite person for the last twelve years, suddenly passed away three weeks ago. My whole family is devastated, and I am especially bereft. He was our family dog, but mostly he was my dog. For the last eight years I’ve either worked from home or been home with my kids, and he was my constant companion. Since he died, I’ve found myself completely unable to adequately describe both the intensity of our bond and the magnitude of my current suffering.

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How to Overcome Fear & Take Action

By | Intuition

When we set our sights on achieving things that really matter, the stakes feel high. The more deeply we care about something, the more vulnerable we become to fear and doubt.

The real problem with fear is this: it often prevents us from taking action. When we don’t act, we feel stuck. And the longer we feel stuck, the harder it becomes to act.

But here’s the thing: we’re collaborators with the universe and our action is required.

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Ushering in 2016 With Grace & Openness

By | Intuition

The beginning of a new year is such an exciting time, but sometimes it can be tiring and overwhelming to think about a brand new year stretching out ahead of you. (You’d better make it count, right? This’ll be the best year ever! The year you finally get your shit together, make that change, do that thing, find happiness/success/health! Ugh, just writing those examples makes me feel bad!)

Rather than create a list of goals and resolutions that will either be forgotten or cause you stress (or, um, both), I suggest you take my simple, compassionate approach to transitioning to a new year. Three simple steps, which work fabulously to usher in the new year but can also be used any time you want to hit the reset button.

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Recognizing Your Gifts

By | Intuition

You’ve been told so many times that you already have what you need to be who you’re here to be (and do what you’re here to do), but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes it feels like, well where is all that magical stuff? Where is my self-love, my discipline, my clarity? If I already have it then why doesn’t it feel like I do?

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A Lesson in “Right Timing”

By | Intuition

The phrase, “right things, right timing.” is a favorite of mine because it helps me release my tendency to control. I say it to myself all the time when things don’t go the way I want them to or aren’t happening on the timeline I’d prefer.

This phrase isn’t just a platitude to soothe disappointments–it’s true. I can’t think of a time in my life when something didn’t go the way I wanted, but I realized later that what I’d wanted wasn’t the best thing after all.

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