Our body and mind are precious, yet so often throughout our days we forget that we even have a body. We become a floating head, a brain walking around on sticks of bone and muscle until we are eventually tired and irritated for “no good reason”.
Posture and breathing
So much of our life is determined by breathing. Life itself wouldn’t exist without it, and yet too often we don’t breathe well. Rather than focusing on this as a negative or putting so much energy into making change that it becomes a point of stress, breathing can quite simply be a really beautiful way to check in with the body just as it is in the present moment. Like we would walk through a garden, we can scan through the body to see where the light and the shade falls without getting caught up on the small details… allowing the mind to check in with our thoughts, body and self in the present moment.
With the body, our breath is the sun which we can move gently and playfully through the garden. It is always important to keep a kind heart when we do this and make any adjustments with a sense of ease. We can see areas which need a little flow and move the energy along so that we don’t feel stale and my goodness this is a mood lifter! Taking some good deep breaths into different parts of the body – moving the air into the lower stomach, each lung (during a side stretch) and then the back – is such a great way to get the energy flowing and lift the spirit. Breath is necessary for life and our body responds well when we feed it with air. Like a garden, the body needs certain conditions to thrive and some are incredibly simple to create.
Nutrition and nurture
When does self-care become selfish?
It doesn’t. Although, that really depends on how we define our view of self-care…
There is too often the idea that taking the time and space to look after oneself is a self-centred act in a negative way. Let’s take a moment to break down what self-care can be and how the presence or absence of conscious efforts changes our life in all aspects.
Self-care makes us responsible for the state we interact with the world. The process of self-care does not require ample supplies of bath salts and candles (although it can involve these elements as a form of embellishment to our self-care rituals). Really, it is an inward focus on the self; a point of reflection in time when we can step back and ask how we are feeling in relation to the people and events in our lives.
Caring for the self creates an anchor and point of gravity upon a healthy and thriving mind, body and spirit. Our processes for self-care can be simple daily rituals or more elaborate processes. Really, the most important factor of caring for the self is that we have some kind of regular rhythm to check into and make our anchor in the world our own two feet, walking at a steady and healthy pace to the rhythms of life.
A focus on big mind vs. small mind
Thinking of the body and mind as a garden is a wonderful analogy that can really help us to gain a broader view of a whole working system while also taking particular care not to overcomplicate our focus. This moving of energy and attention can help to create a focal point and shift between the big mind (broad perception) and the small mind (focus on details).
When we walk through a garden we do not see everything at once. Perhaps on a sunny day our eyes will move to the trees, to ponds of water or perhaps … These are the ‘bigger perspective’ areas of focus that we can apply to our life and that are important to apply. They give us the joy and so much more. However, in order to have a thriving garden that is both exciting to be in and healthy, we need to take a little care, and this goes far beyond pulling out weeds.
Always a process…
Looking after the body and mind can be a really fun venture. It is often looked at as either something indulgent or perhaps unnecessary and time-wasting without any space left for the in-between of these areas. Treating our body well and with respect keeps the energy flowing in a really nice way. We can be gentle when we approach our bodies this way, knowing that if we want to make a change it won’t happen overnight – and also knowing that the process of growth and development at all stages is beautiful. We are all so unique and too often lose focus on celebrating the first flowers of spring as we are still caught up in the state of winter.
Caring for the self creates an anchor and point of gravity upon a healthy and thriving mind, body and spirit. Our processes for self-care can be simple daily rituals or more elaborate processes. Really, the most important factor of caring for the self is that we have some kind of regular rhythm to check into and understand the seasons of our life. To walk through the world with compassion and find stability on our own two feet, walking at a steady and healthy pace to the rhythms of life.
Written during the first few days of true spring in Scandinavia. Snow became sun followed by a blossoming of bluebells and happy faces in Copenhagen.