Little Reminders, for Being Human
Let me begin by saying that I am both a rebellious and a respectful student of my practices. More steadily committed than not and the commitment is less and less ruled by guilt and shame. None of it is a linear process or a perfect practice. It’s often not ritualistic in the way we see it these days - using the same tool at the same time daily. I’ve created an over flowing medicinal box of tools over the years - some are used often, others are for special occasion and some are quite rusty.
There have been times when the box has been misplaced and times where I take out my pillow and my pen, place the box on the shelf and remind myself that rest and writing have been the most time-tested and healing remedies I know.
I’m asked often what my go-to practices are, but more recently I was asked for some “tricks and tips” for every day life, which felt a bit more...freeing. We're often bombarded by tools, but tips and tricks feel more like "every day reminders" and to me that feels softer - less doing and more being.
I created a list that is, most likely for those of you reading my journal, nothing new or unheard of or even out of the ordinary, but none-the-less, quality reminders. It's a generous list, so I thought I'd to my journal, a place where lengthier offerings feel more aligned.
THE TRIED, TESTED
and often overlooked
REFINE YOUR COUNCIL
this is advice from a teacher and dear friend that I return back to on a weekly basis. I’ve become crystal clear on who I speak with about what - who I reach out to for advice or moment of their undivided attention. In a world where we have so much unsolicited information and advice and opinions at our fingertips, having a go-to, non-judgmental, bullshit proof council has saved me. especially in the times of downward spirals. time and time again.
SLOW & STEADY
I’ve learned over the years that nothing good ever comes from rushing. that the healing I long for isn’t a product of speeding through the process and the teaching - it’s in the slow and conscious depth.
WASH IT OFF
a friend recently asked me what my go-to is when I’m feeling like I can’t shake off energy or a mood or an attitude. and for as long as I can remember it’s been a shower. or a dip in the ocean. sometimes even a bath, but I find moving water to be more helpful. if I’m in the shower I’ll ask for it all to go down the drain. if I’m in the ocean I’ll ask for Mama Blue to help me compost.
GIVE YOUR BREATH YOUR ATTENTION
it might not seem so because of the agility and speed of the mind, but it is true that you cannot have a conscious thought and a conscious breath at the same time. nothing has steadied my racing heart faster and my worrying mind more than a few deep breaths.
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH
not what you think another wants to hear or what will make the situation more comfortable than honest. for my fellow people pleasers, it may take some time to unlearn this habit or even to register that it’s safe for you to speak your truth - that you won’t be harmed for doing so. calling myself out has been the most vulnerable, but most potent way for me to honor my truth.
HONOR YOUR INNER ARTIST
color. paint. doodle. sculpt. dance. create tiny bouquets of wild flowers. take out the guitar you haven’t touched in years. make jewelry. whatever it is allow yourself to create no matter how horrible you think you might be at it. reinvent what art is to you. life gets far too serious when we don’t.
as we grow older I notice this happens less often for so many of us. my partner has expanded this in me of this over and over in the ways he dreams about the future. a teacher too when he had us write a sort of diary entry dated two years from now - where were we? what was life like?
FEEL YOUR FEELINGS
someone wise once said, you’ve got to feel it to heal it. which for me has always meant I need to actually be in my body. breathwork has been the most potent medicine for me here lately. it not only helps me in feeling my feelings, it helps guide me through feeling and releasing ones I had no idea I even had stored.
CALL, REACH OUT, CONNECT
living so far away from my first family and family of fiends, I find that time tends to feel like it’s moving too fast if I don’t reach out. and these days, it can feel like we already know what’s going on in everyone’s life because of social media. as much as you can, stay honestly and humbly connected to the ones you love, honor and trust. it always reminds me of who I am.
MOVE YOUR BODY
the what and how do not matter here. a stagnant body is a breeding ground for discomfort and dis-ease… mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. if it’s been a while, keep it simple. having someone to move with has always been and still is extremely helpful for me.
PLACE YOUR HAND ON YOUR HEART
and ask yourself what you need. close your eyes and notice here how you’ll naturally take a deep breath, then speak softly and be willing to listen. (the womb space is another beautiful place to connect here).
CHANGE THE QUESTION
we have these beautiful, creative minds that can at times twist realizations and loop ideas and questions of unhelpful inquiry that keep us limited in our perspective. for me the unhelpful looping question has often been, “haven’t I learned this already?” - it’s unhelpful because it doesn’t get me anywhere apart from self pity and crippling doubt. instead i ask, “oh, i wonder what I could be learning from this?” which slowly shifts me into more curiosity around a situation. try it on for size.
LISTEN BETTER, MORE OFTEN
often times we hear people, but we’re so focused on how we’re going to respond that we never really listen. (see below). notice how often you do this in conversations - notice how often your present enough for another so that they really, truly know what it feels like to be heard.
MORE EYE CONTACT, LESS ADVICE
a vulnerable conversation, vulnerability in general, does not always open the door to advice. if you resonate and relate, take a moment and ask if the other wants advice or simply needs to be heard. in a society where Listeners are few and far between and we are quick to nod and give our two cents (see above) but often all most people really want is someone who will listen and say, “I get it. I see you. I hear you. tell me more, let’s get it out.”
AND PLEASE, DO FIND A WAY TO HELP OUT
give when you can however you can. a hand an ear a dollar a smile a laugh a hug a class a meal a...
break the cord with your computer or you phone, open the door and take yourself on a walk around the block, through town or up a mountain. place your naked feet on the Earth whenever possible. this practice, this connection, on it’s own will change your life.
PUT YOURSELF IN ANOTHER’S SHOES
ie. ask another what it is like to be them. their sex. their nationality. their being. their… we don’t do this enough. perspective gives us awareness. the world could use more awareness.
CONNECT WITHOUT WIFI
with the earth. with self. with your source. with another human. maybe through mediation, asana, dance, writing, prayer, hiking. whatever your outlet, please, don’t let it be forgotten. we all know how a weak connection can leave us feeling irritable.
TAKE CARE OF OUR MAIN MAMA
much like taking care of our bodies, there is not a one size fits all resolution, same goes for the body of our Earth. it’s not so black and white as no more flying or no more eating meat or no more driving or deciding not to have children - we all need to play our part and educate one another without shaming another for how they’re playing theirs. in more than one area of our lives, we can all take better care of our home who takes care of us. we can all be more aware.
BE A NICE HUMAN.