Namaste & welcome to another installment of cure-ated care & contemplation – my weekly round-up of self-care and contemplative resources.
Self Care: Ditch your goals for your core desired feelings & hold your fingers to regulate and ground.
So often we feel crummy as a result of setting goals – whether we miss our deadlines, fail to hit the mark, or achieve our goals without finding the satisfaction we expected. Danielle LaPorte, creator of the Desire Map, says we should instead focus on how we want to feel. These core desired feelings are the true energy behind our goal setting. Do you want to lose 20 pounds? Identify if you want to feel loved, belonging, healthy, vibrant or accomplished. Striving after a promotion at work? Could it be that you long to feel powerful, hard-working, or wise? Start with how you want to feel and work backwards – you will find that there are many paths to those core desired feelings, and just identifying what they are is guaranteed to give you yummy self-care vibes! Check out her book The Desire Map and her planners for scheduling in the actions that will lead to how you want to feel!
I know it sounds super weird, but I swear it works! Jin shin jyutsu is the ancient Chinese healing practice that came before acupuncture (no needles required!). Begin with your palms facing up, bringing compassionate attention to the energy in the palms. This is the source energy for harmonizing all emotions. Next, simply hold each of your fingers of your left hand with your right hand for 30 seconds each, beginning with your thumb and working your way to your pinkie. While holding each finger, focus solely on the experience of the finger behind held and the hand doing the holding. What are the sensations? Perhaps a pulsation, tingling, even numbness. Then switch hands. Remember your breath. I do this on the metro, in meetings, or anytime I need to calm or quiet my mind. They say each finger represents a different component of human suffering, and it’s important to carve out this space and time to allow yourself to feel the difficult emotions. The thumb for worry, the index finger for fear, the middle finger for anger, the ring finger for grief, and the pinkie for striving.
Contemplation: The spiritual crucible of intimate relationships & healing ourselves by healing the earth.
Living with the one you love isn’t all bliss. But the challenges, confrontations and misunderstandings that arise can be our opportunities for growing our spirituality as individuals and together as a couple. In this fantastic article, psychologist John Welwood explains how this awakening can occur, if we allow it:
Every close relationship involves these three levels of interaction that two partners cycle through—ego to ego, person to person, and being to being. While one moment two people may be connecting being to being in pure openness, the next moment their two egos may fall into deadly combat. […] Thus to gain greater access to the gold of our nature in relationship, a certain alchemy is required: the refining of our conditioned defensive patterns. The good news is that this alchemy generated between two people also furthers a larger alchemy within them. The opportunity here is to join and integrate the twin poles of human existence: heaven, the vast space of perfect, unconditional openness, and earth, our imperfect, limited human form, shaped by worldly causes and conditions. As the defensive/controlling ego cooks and melts down in the heat of love’s influence, a beautiful evolutionary development starts to emerge—the genuine person, who embodies a quality of very human relational presence that is transparent to open-hearted being, right in the midst of the dense confines of worldly conditioning.
In her book, Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai blends her Kikuyu upbringing in Kenya with her catholic religion to explain the divine connection between humanity and our environment. Many spiritual teachers devise that we cannot be fully healed individually or collectively until we acknowledge and address the degradation of the earth. Even if we don’t speak of it out loud, there is a part of our bodies that understands something has been severed with our source. Her words are illuminating to me, because in my Christian upbringing, I recall being taught not to worship creation itself (and thus lower myself to the level of heathens), but rather the Creator. This was a huge departure from the adoration I felt for, not only the Divine, but the mountains, trees, and sunset, which I knew in my soul to be connected as God. Maathi says humans are conscious enough to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the earth and, That consciousness acknowledges that while a certain tree, forest, or mountain itself may not be holy, the life-sustaining services it provides — the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink — are what make existence possible, and so deserve our respect and veneration. From this point of view, the environment becomes sacred, because to destroy what is essential to life is to destroy life itself. Blending the logic of her teaching with the intuitive worship I feel for all creation, it’s pretty important we care for our planet – for both our physical bodies and our souls.
That’s it for this week, Leaners! Until next time, be well & take gentle self care.