In the world of self-care promotion, I often hear the metaphor "put the oxygen mask on yourself first" being utilized as a guiding principle. Although the metaphor makes logical sense, I have never found it to inspire nor feel in alignment with my self-care reality.
The metaphor conjures up a stressful predicament because it is being used in a dire straits situation; the plane is about to crash so now is the time to pop that oxygen mask on yourself so that you can be conscious enough to save those around you. Self-care only during emergencies and for the good of others.
Also, that word "first" in the metaphor "put the oxygen mask on yourself first" doesn't resonate. It suggests that self-care is a matter of hierarchy and performance. As in, there are going to be winners and losers at this game of self-care. So if I choose to act in a self-caring way, then I'm going to be leaving behind or neglecting others as I climb my way up the self-care ladder. The image of myself standing at the top of a ladder, with my tribe on lower rungs, feels lonely and isolating. Self-care has become confused with selfishness.
To disentangle the confusion, I suggest that a new paradigm take root. Stepping off the ladder, imagine yourself inside a circle with many concentric rings. Self-care becomes a movement towards the center. Life balance becomes a contextual, organic response to relationships as we move towards and away from our centers. No judgements; no pressure; no one left behind. Just the natural ebb and flow of life. The rise and glide of our life force. Centering as oppose to climbing.
Like a raindrop on the ocean's surface, we create a ripple effect from our centre.
In a centering circular model, self-care becomes an honouring of our authenticity and ultimately, serves as a wave like contribution towards greater consciousness.
The elder friends in my mother in-law's circle have been reading a tiny little book called
"The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter" by Margareta Magnusson.
In Sweden, there is a kind of decluttering called "death cleaning" that can be "undertaken at any age or life stage, but should be done sooner rather than later, before others have to do it for you." - Margareta Magnusson.
With Scandinavian humour and wisdom, the author instructs readers to "embrace minimalism" and "become more comfortable with the idea of letting go."
In classes this past week, we have practiced setting the internal conditions for "minimalism" and "letting go" to take root in our lives with greater ease.
"The cure for everything is salt water.
Sweat, tears, or the salt sea."
- Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa
Have you ever considered swimming in the ocean, year-round, like our Nordic friends practice?!
The book "The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu" by Katja Pantzar may inspire an adventure of cold water dippings!
My friend Jill Maynard introduced me to the world of open water swimming at the beginning of September, rocking me to my core that many people in the world actually enjoy and reap both physical and mental health benefits from swimming in cold water! Together with my water goddess at the helm, I have taken the plunge twice in the Pacific Ocean during the wee hours of the Fall morning! Elevated and empowered for days was my apes-swim experience.
Let me qualify the word "swim".
I breast stroked with my head out of the water (and gasped in disbelief when Jill dunked her whole head under water and re-emerged peacefully). It took about 2 minutes of being in the water, together with cueing from Jill to focus on my "yoga breathing", for my body-mind to release the cold water shock and re-establish an inner equilibrium. We breast-stroked for about 5-8 minutes. I wore my swimsuit plus kayaking booties and water gloves. And once we were out - we were home bound!
I have since discovered that I feel colder afterwards if I have a warm / hot bath or shower. Jill says its better to have a cool rinse, ending off with a gradual increase in water temperature.
Don't try this cold water swimming alone, friends!
If you'd like to experience open water swimming in the company of all-women (sorry guys - we'll ocean dip with you on another day), mark on your calendar the following date:
Women's Full Moon Ocean Swim
Wed Oct 24th
Deep Cove, Panorama Park
Spread the invitation!
Stand and behold from the beach. Dip. Or swim.
All intentions welcome!
Wear just a swim suit, add booties & gloves, or sport a full body wet suit - your choice!
Enter & swim in the water with the yogic calming & internally warming breath called Ujjayi Breath (or Ocean Breath).
Take a cool to warm shower or bath (but not hot)!
Sip warm to hot drinks!
Hello friends and welcome to the Fall 2018 season of Elevate!
I am delighted that you have either joined one of my classes this Fall and / or are visiting my blog!
My classes and postings this season will draw inspiration from several wisdom teachers, including Dr. Gabor Mate (www.drgabormate.com) and Dr. Shefali Tsabary (www.drshefali.com). It is my highest teaching intention to create a community-based, elevated wellness experience of body, mind, and consciousness.
To set the stage for our classes this season, I welcome you to reflect on the following quote & short video clip featuring Dr. Mate and "The Myth of Normal". Remember to click on the Like button below if the postings resonate!
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted
to a profoundly sick society"
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
After years working in palliative care, Bronnie Ware wrote a book about the most common regrets that the people she had cared for had expressed to her (see below for a posting of her Ted Talk).
Regret 1: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Regret 2: I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
Regret 3: I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Regret 4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Regret 5: I wish I had let myself be happier.
"The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing" by Bronnie Ware.
Welcome to Spring 2018!
The inspiration behind this season of classes has been spearheaded by the work of two very different women with a similar message of empowerment, transformation, and self-compassion.
Regena Thomashauer (aka Mama Gena) is the owner of "The Mama Gena School of Womanly Arts" and author of several books including "Pussy: A Reclamation." She is a woman's activist, a pleasure revolutionist, and a powerhouse of turned-on living. I attended her 2 day Intro Event in New York back in Dec, 2017 and came home with the desire to imbed her teachings into my own classes. Here's Mama Gena delivering a Ted Talk in 2011.
I have also been transformed by the work of Bronnie Ware, a former palliative care worker and the Australian author of "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing." In this book, Bronnie writes about the most common regrets that the people she had cared for had expressed to her. Bronnie discusses the significance of these regrets and explains how, through conscious choices, we can address these issues positively now while we still have the time. After reading this book, you feel more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live. Here is Bronnie delivering a Ted Talk on "regret-free living" in 2016.
is not only a sign of health in biospheres
but also an indication of
wellness in human communities"
- Michele Fogal (Author of Quirky & Diverse Love Stories & Creatrix of Guided Meditations for Writers)
Thank-you Michele for gifting the Wed AM students (winter grand finale class)
with a guided meditation for creative recharge!
Michele has a wonderful series of guided meditations available free of charge on her website:
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye."
- by Antoine de Saint-Exupery author of The Little Prince
Masters Level Clinical Counsellor (MA)