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How Do You Nurture Yourself?

We are multifaceted beings with parts of us wanting all sorts of different things. The small child within may want extra comfort, structure, quiet, or play time. Other childhood facets may need to run and play, to sing and dance, to have extreme freedom of expression. Your adolescent and young adult facets may love to explore travel, independence, leadership, romance, and fine tuning skills that relate to jobs, hobbies and relationships. The parts of us that remember life is ‘more than meets the eye’ may love to explore fantasy and imagination. When we realize we are the awareness of it all, with no judgment of anything, all these facets can come forth and be seen and heard. We can explore, embrace and nurture them. I guess you could say that our true essence, that Creator Self, doesn’t really seek or need much of anything, except it loves to explore and create.

You, as Creator, are exploring all these parts you created… and creating anew.

As we embody this wholeness of our essence, we realize some personality aspects want things that aren’t nurturing - things that aren’t deeply enjoyable. As we shift out of these old ways, many aspects feel they are being slighted, that they are losing something. If they want to argue, blame, lie, cheat, or create any sort of havoc in our lives, we lovingly redirect them and technically even show them another way. We are now parenting our own disharmonious youngsters! It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them, they just picked up habits or traits from parents, siblings, teachers, friends, TV, society… These traits worked in a certain way, in the old paradigm in which they were assimilated. But, we outgrow them when they cause drama and havoc within our own mind, body, and life. We choose a life with love at the core of it all, for our relationship with self and others.

As we keep rewriting old patterns, some of these aspects are very excited, and some are very uncertain, uncomfortable, or downright angry - mainly because they’re scared! It is a dance of wisdom, grace, patience and compassion within our own being to lovingly attend to our mind and body through all this expanding awareness. The important thing is that you do it your way, that you find what nurtures all the parts of you and truly adds to your life. What could be more important than taking care of you? We can each only be responsible for our own health, joy, life path, etc.

Through all my own integration work, I’ve become uncompromising with doing only what I want rather than what others want or expect of me. Of course, at times there’s joy in doing something for others. Giving freely can be a great gift within itself, but that’s a completely different story from the old ways of giving your time and energy out of fear and obligation.

The worry, anxiety, and overwhelm I once felt was reduced by prioritizing my to-do’s into only what was necessary or enjoyable. The necessities are done swiftly - like Nike says - Just Do IT! The finances, taxes, bills, laundry, dishes - get done mostly immediately and this takes a load off the mind. It makes space for enjoyment! I remember going through my 3 page to-do list years ago and it was kinda like a never-ending list of overwhelm that I had used for years to keep pushing myself to improve my home and life in many ways. After much contemplation, I trashed it and decided none of it was essential. When I sold my home, I did only the required staging or repairs, almost everything went to donation, and I felt free of so much burden. How bizarre to realize so much overwhelm had been completely self inflicted. A few years later, I got rid of the rest of my belongings and traveled in my car, with everything I owned in tow. When I moved into my current townhome, over 3 years ago now, someone commented how I had no pictures on my living room walls. It may have seemed weird to them because my old house was always decorated and redecorated - with a constant need to upgrade and fine tune everything to make it perfect. I simply said “I haven’t felt like it. I seem to like it empty right now.”. I’ve learned that I actually like the freedom and simplicity in open spaces and not accumulating things. My walls stayed bare for over a year and eventually the most beautiful art found me. They were second hand and very inexpensive… oh yeah, that’s another reason my overwhelm has been so greatly reduced. I didn’t work much all these years since leaving my corporate career… I spent a lot of time breathing, being, and contemplating, + exploring what I truly enjoy about life. Not spending money on pointless things has allowed me to work so much less than I did in my teens, twenties, and thirties.

I learned to make new types of to-do lists with things I wanted to explore. Today, I work a good deal of the time, but I enjoy what I do. I have discovered the most simple and pure enjoyment in connecting with others, laughing, moving, expressing, and accomplishing things. I look forward to work! The sense of satisfaction in a job well done is so much greater now that I’m not attached to some idea of perfection in the outcome or trying to gain approval (or nurturing) from others. It is expression for the joy of expression. Movement for the joy of movement. Accomplishment for the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks. But beyond all that it's really just immersing in and enjoying the flow of life without all the old emotional energies that once bogged me down.

My free time really seems quite a lot like full-on nurture time. I sleep or nap as much as I’d like, enjoying quiet “do nothing” time quite often to just be, in presence, without any sense nor concern that I should be doing anything at all. I move the body daily with stretches, singing, dance moves, and walking because it feels good and energizing. I treat myself to massages, pedicures, swimming, nature immersions. I mostly exchanged old, daily patterns of beer and chips at night with visits to the steam room, massage chair, hot tub, or taking leisurely walks in summer & leisurely salt baths in winter. I say 'mostly' because I still enjoy a glass of wine and TV time some nights. I don’t deny myself of anything, but slowly exploring new enjoyments has made the old devices a little less attractive, bit by bit. The key is to do it all consciously and without judgment. Judging yourself for this or that is like self abuse. As I explore what I enjoy, some old devices fall away completely and I realize “Wow, I never really liked that - I was just copying everyone else!”.

Yummy snacks, drinks, comforting meals, cozy blankets and good TV shows are sorta old habits that I still enjoy fully and completely. Perhaps someday I’ll move to a place with more regular nature access to pick flowers, watch birds and sunsets, swim outside, etc. as I know this would be wonderful, but I’ve found what works right here and now. Many people desire to be elsewhere in life, somewhere other than where they are. In my experience, that doesn’t feel deeply satisfying other than building a futuristic mindset of “some day” without being able to immerse in life and enjoy it right now. Whether it’s moving elsewhere, getting a new job, stepping out of a relationship, or simply finding the enjoyment in your current life, you always have the option to change and be true to yourself - no excuses. But for the most part, it starts with making the most of what’s available in your own here & now. Nurturing ourselves is essentially a gift we give ourselves by choosing to enjoy life to the fullest, each and every moment, utilizing all the resources available to us.

As you prioritize yourself, as you nurture yourself, life nurtures you back. You can create a life that’s more enjoyable in this very breath. Don’t seek love and nurturing from others. Explore it for yourself! What lights you up? What energizes you? Also, what helps you feel centered, calm, quiet, peaceful, empowered, supported, excited to wake up in the morning? Now that I'm always exploring this, I'm so excited to keep learning new things that I love about being alive! This makes life a continual adventure. So..... What nurtures you?

Pictures courtesy of Pixabay


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