Kauai, HI

Self-Love

Maybe you don’t have to do so much,
try so hard, expend so much energy
trying to keep everything together.
Maybe you are carrying too much –
much more than is humanly possible.

Maybe it’s time to go easy on yourself –
to be gentle, to soften the harshness,
and to talk to yourself like you would
a dear friend who needs compassion.

Maybe it’s time to let yourself feel the
pleasure of slowing down, doing less,
and finally choosing to love yourself.

Lisa McCrohan, MA, LCSW-C, SEP

A few months ago, I told my husband, Brian, “I need Hawaii again.  I could use a month there!”  We spent two weeks visiting friends in Kauai a few years ago.  It was absolutely amazing.  If you’ve ever been to Kauai, Hawaii, you know that She (the island) doesn’t speak to you in words or “thoughts.” She is much more ancient than words.  Kauai speaks to you through experience. She speaks to you through being embodied in this present moment. She speaks to you through your heart.

The desire to go back to her healing landscape was an indicator to me that I had been slowly collecting too much:

– too much responsibility for everyone’s well-being and not enough attention on my own delight
– too much running around and not enough “being”
– too much noise and not enough silence
– too much work and not enough play
– too much stress and not enough laughter
– too much logistical planning and not enough pleasure.

Does one of these “too much’s’ resonate with you, too?

I hear from coaching and psychotherapy clients every day about this same kind of “too much” – expending too much energy trying to keep everything together and carrying so much more than is humanly possible.  There’s a weariness I sense in our world right now.  I think most of us could use a month in Hawaii!  But I get it – it’s not possible right now for many of us to get away for a whole month.

What CAN we do then when we know we are carrying too much and doing too much?  What can we do when our bodies are tired and our souls are weary?

Awhile back, in yoga class, the instructor talked about the word “responsibility.”  She commented how it contains the words “ability” and “respond.” Responsibility is about being able to respond to life’s circumstances.  I loved that!

I started to ask myself, “What ability do I have to respond to all that’s going on in my life?” 

I started looking at the choices I’m making — and owning them.

I have the ability to be kinder to myself.

I have the ability to slow down a bit.

I have the ability to mark off times on my schedule for working out.

I have the ability to put work away and connect with my family.

I have the ability to say, “No, I’m not accepting new clients right now.”

I have the ability to schedule clients how I want to.

I have the ability to plan a short, invigorating vacation.

I have the ability to go easier on myself.

I have the ability to write my second book and work at a pace that agrees with my body and soul.

I have the ability to plan a few nourishing meals for the week.

I have the ability to go skiing once a week in the winter.

I have the ability to tell a joke (or at least read one!) and laugh more.

I have the ability to call or see a friend once a week.

Yes!  That felt good to list!  I felt lighter.  I felt a sense of possibility emerging!

I started to call at least one friend a week. We bought a daily pun calendar and we read one a day. It’s hilarious and lightens things up in the morning before school. I created a new schedule for seeing clients and sometimes that has meant my schedule is full and I can’t see new clients. I’m working on my second book and we just decided that our Kickstarter campaign will start on May 5th – cinco de Mayo – a celebratory day – encouraging me to have fun in this process! I’m working on putting away work, saying “that’s enough for today,” and connecting with my family. I’m working on just being kinder to myself.  I have done over 100 runs skiing down the slopes – and just last week, I went my first black diamond (and then again and again)!!!

No, everything isn’t perfect. But as I started to reckon with the fact that I had the ability to love myself in these nourishing ways, a deeper sense of vibrancy (my word for the year) and self-agency have emerged. And that is empowering. I have some breathing space. I have softened and, ironically, strengthened.  It’s (almost) as if Kauai has visited ME – inviting me to let go of those “too much’s” and to look for more softness, more pleasure, and more invigorating projects, movement, and conversations.

Dear Reader,

“Maybe it’s time to go easy on yourself –
to be gentle, to soften the harshness,
and to talk to yourself like you would
a dear friend who needs compassion.”

Maybe it’s time to realize the ability — the radical SELF-responsibility you DO have to…

“….let yourself feel the
pleasure of slowing down, doing less,
and finally choosing to love yourself.”

What if you started looking at the ability you DO have to respond to life?

You may not be able to change some of the circumstances.  Yet you can focus on what you CAN do. What ABILITY do you have to respond to where your life is right now in this season of your life?

Where do you start?  If you need help, I always start with mindfulness and self-compassion.

Learn how to take a sacred pause.  It’s in your ability to take 30 seconds to five minutes to pause.

Practice self-compassion.  If you are weary, hard on yourself, and want to feel replenished, give yourself this gift of sitting back and letting yourself be guided by this self-compassion meditation.  Then, once you’ve done it a few times, bring it into your everyday life!  As you are waking up and waiting for the shower to warm up, as you are making your breakfast, as you are saying goodbye to your dear ones, as you open your computer to start work….  You can bring these lovingkindness phrases into your everyday life to experience letting go moment-by-moment to the “too much’s” and feeling like you have the ABILITY to respond in your day with kindness – starting with your own self.

And when you are too overwhelmed and just want guidance, that’s where I come in!  Grab a free half hour consult with me for coaching (you all know I work with clients from anywhere in the world via Zoom right?!) to find out how we can work together to get you out of a rut and into feeling more alive, focused, and inspired.

I believe that in cultivating these times of self-love not only benefit you, but they serve to heal our world.  When we are mindful about loving ourselves, we are more patient with one another — at the breakfast table, on a conference call with work, in line at the coffee shop, and maybe even online!

When you are stuck, weary, or tired, and that trip to a tropical island for a month isn’t possible right now — try asking yourself, “What ability DO I have to love and nourish myself — today?”  And take one step to try something new and love yourself just a bit more tenderly.

Blessings,
Lisa

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