Last night, I was sitting with two friends at a coffee house. “Mother guilt” was still sitting on my shoulder: “Don’t be gone too long. Don’t take too much time away from your family. Don’t put too much on Brian.”
I heard that voice and would say to myself, “It’s okay to be here, Lisa. This is sacred time. This is sacred space.”
As moms, caretakers, and parents, we need sacred spaces where we can be nourished. We need spaces to linger, slow down and actually eat a meal, cup our hands around the warm cup of tea and breathe in the aroma. We need space to be quiet and listen to the Voice Within.
One of my friends recently said to me, “I don’t even know what to do when I have time alone.” Another friend shared, “My mind is so busy and distracted that when someone asked me for my home phone number, I couldn’t remember it.”
It is impossible to keep going at the pace most go at. I hear the stories. I hold the space, friends. I hear the guilt you have for even wanting to honor yourself and nourish yourself with a hike in the woods, a yoga class, a meeting with a dear friend, or a weekend to write and sleep and be with soulful women.
We have to shift this paradigm. We have to let go of these beliefs about self-sacrifice that leaves us depleted and that we pass this on to our children. We react. We don’t look them in the eyes. We hurry them.
This is an epidemic. And it’s enough.
When will it be “enough” for you? When will it be time for you to do the sacred work of nourishing yourself and in doing so remember why you are here, what matters most, and how you have the power to choose how you will live this precious, precious life of yours?
Isn’t it crazy that it takes focused intention and deliberate attention to nourish ourselves? But the world will vie for your attention 24/7. It’ll say, “Take care of this” and “do this” and “read that” and “jump over here now.” It will say that to care for yourself is selfish and things like taking a nap, saying “no”, and getting the support you need is self-indulgent.
I hear this again and again in compassion coaching. One coaching client recently described it as being the ball in a pinball machine. And she has had enough.
That’s what I’m hearing lately – enough. Enough, enough, enough.
Sometimes it takes years for someone to come and see me. It takes them feeling broken and exhausted, unsure of what to do next. And every single person I am with expresses some guilt over caring for themselves.
And yet, when a person begins to deeply nourish themselves, they come to truly realize how caring for self IS caring for others. In learning mindfulness and compassion practices that are backed by neuroscience, they realize that they feel more connected to their dear ones, they have more patience, and they respond instead of react when they come from a NOURISHED PLACE WITHIN.
I’ve called this new “year” (starting in September!) The Year of Nourishing MOM.
Yes, that’s right – deep nourishment for mom. Not just surviving, but thriving. The world will pull at us, ask more for us, and we’ll get used to being so tired and busy. It takes focus, effort, and attention to shift things – to make sacred space to honor ourselves. And that is what I am about supporting in this world right now – this return to honoring ourselves, this “turning within,” this quiet, this sacred space in any and every season of our lives.
Two Questions I’ve Asked My Clients to Foster Deeper Self-Honoring
The first question:
The other day, I shared a post about radical self-care for mom. I shared with my readers the question I have asked my coaching and psychotherapy clients: “What will you do this summer to honor yourself?”
Not ten things. Not a whole list. But ONE way you will honor yourself this summer. I know, the list could be really long of what you really need because, like many of us, you’ve put so much effort and time into caring for others. And you are frazzled. But focusing on ONE thing to do this summer to honor yourself focuses you. It calls for pausing, “listening within,” and listening for the “ahhhhh THIS!” that arises. And THAT goes a long way in healing your frazzled nervous system and fostering deep self-honoring.
Ask yourself, “What will I do this summer to honor myself?”
The second question:
I’d like to share with you all the next question I ask my clients: “What Sacred Space do you need in this season of your life?”
Sacred Space. How often do you hear those words?! I’m intentional in using these two words. YOUR sacred space. Even just asking this question, we begin to open to the truth that WE are treasures. We are to be regarded and honored and loved — so tenderly, so dearly, so completely. And we begin to say to a world that has had us trapped in living a lie by treating ourselves so harshly, “Waaaaait a second. I have listened to you for too long. I don’t believe you anymore. I am worthy of treating myself with dignity and regard.”
Ask yourself, “What ‘Sacred Space’ do I need in this season of my life?”
It might be sharing a cup of coffee with a friend at the local coffee house.
It might be taking a walk outside on a summer evening.
It might be writing in your journal.
It might be actually creating a space in your house that is your sacred space.
It might be getting up before the kiddos and standing outside barefoot in the cool grass, watching the sun begin to peak over the treetops, and connect with how you want to live today.
Whether you think you are worthy or not (and there’s often the underlying “Trance of Unworthiness” as meditation teacher, Tara Brach, says that influences our decisions), keep asking yourself, “What Sacred Space do I need in this season of my life?” And just honor it. In one seemingly little way at a time.
These two questions begin to take us inward into our own Hearts. And as we draw our attention inward with our hand on our heart, we tune out a world that is full of clever ways of distracting us. We turn inward to our Truth. We begin to discern, “What truly delights my heart.” And THAT is a sacred life lived.
*A post is coming soon that will be for those (all of us!) who want to go deeper with this practice of regarding ourselves and creating sacred space.
Dear Ones, here are several women whom I admire. They work in such a way that honors what deeply delights their hearts. They “go within” often. They create the sacred space to listen. Then they trust what they hear…and follow it.
Jenn Wilhelm. I have known Jenn for many years now. We have journeyed together in real, authentic, empowering ways. Jenn is a mom, pediatric occupational therapist, yogini, and life-long lover of all things herbs. From her practice of deep listening, she has created body care products that are incredible. I tell people that her deodorant is the only one I’ll ever use. We as a family use her bug spray, sunscreen, and lip balm. I have given her rose facial spray to many friends and family. I appreciate Jenn’s devotion to her tribe, to following her own heart, and to healing our planet.
Meghan Nathanson. Meghan is an artist, mother, long-time meditator, and yoga teacher. I have followed Meghan’s journey of creating bigger-than-life art (literally) that empowers the feminine for several years now. I have watched how she “goes within” and listens. She listens deeply — to her own heart and the pulse of life. Please check out her log book.
Miriam Klements. Miri is a gift from the heavens. I have worked with Miri over the years and she has held sacred space for me. Miri is an energy healer. She sees deeply. She holds space for you tenderly, honestly, gently. I appreciate that Miri always reminds me that I am not alone — that what is happening within me is happening in our world as our world is evolving. Being with her is powerful and deeply, deeply nourishing.
Alicia Barmon. Alicia is a somatic psychotherapist and yoga teacher. She works both individually with clients as well as teaches workshops in Frederick, MD. I appreciate how Alicia reminds clients and students that “many of our struggles are symptoms of living in a stressful, fast-paced world.” Her powerful way of holding space for others arises from her own practice of “going within” and having compassion for her own self. I am always moved by the depth and sincerity with which Alicia presents and how she is committed to taking actions that support healing of this world, our communities, and our homes.
Pam McDonald. Pam is a somatic psychotherapist, meditation teacher, Reiki Master (and teacher) in Frederick, MD. If you are local, she is teaching a lovely meditation class through the summer on Tuesdays at noon. She is also now starting her blog. She has such rich, nourishing wisdom to share. I appreciate Pam’s devotion to meditation, her own practice of “going within,” and holding sacred space for others.Blessings,