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Archive for the ‘Self-Care’ Category

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It has been almost exactly a year since I last posted on SpiritualiTea. Although there have been many changes, my overall mission has remained the same: to offer a warm, safe space to explore spirituality (with tea).

What has been going on for me? Well, I became a life coach (yay!), began doing professional intuitive readings, left my job…more on that in a later post. I’m currently living life on my terms and have never felt happier, or more inspired! I began creating other blogs that I thought would perhaps express my new self, but in the end I’ve come back to SpiritualiTea as my home.

I’m excited to begin posting here again with a new voice and renewed passion.

There will be book suggestions, helpful resources, musings on my own spiritual life, and of course tea!

I also have a new feature: I will soon be venturing into the video podcasting world, and I hope to take you along with me! Each week I will post a new video providing an intuitive reading for the coming week’s energies. Grab a cup of tea and sit down with me on Sunday morning to find out what the week will bring for you.

Finally, I have two exciting offerings: the first is an online course that trains you to be a SpiritualiTea Facilitator in your community. Learn how to start a group, keep it going, gain members, find friends, and make a little extra money along the way!

Second, I am offering private intuitive readings by phone or Skype. I would love to get to know you and offer clear, accurate, empowering guidance on any challenges you are currently facing.

It feels good to be back.

Peace,
Shannon

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Comfort is often thought of as indulgence, and not always in the most positive connotation of the word. When we think of comfort we think of hearty (read fatty) foods that we grew up with, a giant slice of cake or a bowl of macaroni and cheese. Comfort can also be thought of as selfish. Taking time to be comforted or to find comfort is seen as a sign of weakness. We are expected to “shake it off” and only save comfort for limited times of self-indulgence. Over the last few days I’ve begun to redefine “comfort” for myself. Comfort is saying yes to what I need most in the moment.

A lot of emphasis is put on pushing past fear, going for your dreams, and reaching out of your “comfort zone.” While I am a huge proponent of these ideas, and have often spoken on this blog about pushing myself past fear, I also now realize it is perfectly okay not to push myself all the time. Just as with the seasons, there is a time for blossoming and a time for turning inward. I’ve noticed as I’ve decided to consciously find comfort a small voice in my pipes up saying ‘you’re lazy’ or ‘shouldn’t you be pushing yourself harder?’ It has been both a struggle and a comfort to tune that voice out.

Today, let yourself find comfort and enjoy it without feeling guilty.

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Making time for yourself is a skill, and one that should be practiced regularly! It is so easy to say yes to every request or invitation. There is an underlying fear that if you say no you will hurt someone’s feelings or even lose a friend. You might also feel like if you request time for yourself your significant other or your children will feel neglected. In order to discover yourself as a spiritual being, however, you must first make room for that self to appear.

Author Cheryl Richardson suggests to make a date with yourself once a week. It can last anywhere from a full day to an hour. Use this time to do exactly what you love to do, without judgment or worry that you’re being selfish. Schedule this date on your calendar or as a reminder in your phone, as you would do with any other important appointment, and hold yourself to it! It may be difficult at first, but over time the people you live with will begin to understand, and you too will look forward to this breathing room.

I get up half an hour earlier each morning in order to meditate. When I get home from work I take an hour block to meditate, write in my journal, or do yoga. On weekends however, this routine is slightly interrupted. My fiance is home from work so the time I would have had alone I now share with another person. When I first began this routine he would often come in to ask a question or want to do something in the room I was in. I explained to him that this was time I needed just for myself and he could have me for the rest of the day. The people you love will get used to this new part of you emerging, the part that practices self-care, and will most likely be happy for you.

I have recently found that I have taken my self-care practice to a new level. Now, as soon as I feel a strong urge to slow down, I do. Last week I arrived home from work and had an overwhelming urge to curl up into my bed and watch television. This is not my normal routine, but it felt so good I couldn’t resist. After about an hour in bed I had another sudden urge to take a hot bath. So I went with it. I had a very relaxing evening because I listened to myself and followed my own needs.

My next goal is to only do things that bring a sense of happiness and fulfillment, things that make me have an oh yes! moment. It is amazing to me how often I make choices that make me feel the complete opposite of this and I believe that more joy will come into my life if I really examine how I spend my time.

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Yoga is my exercise of choice. I began doing yoga almost 4 years ago at a rough point in my life. It not only made my body feel strong and healthy, it also helped clear my mind. I learned how to go more deeply into uncomfortable situations or feelings in my everyday life from the challenges I faced on the mat. I used to abhor discomfort of any kind. Yoga helped me literally stretch myself into uncomfortable places that I had buried deep inside of me.

The catch is that yoga comes with a fairly high price tag. Although you can find a gym for $10 a month, yoga classes average about $20 each. If I were to attend classes as much as I would like, I would end up spending an extra $60-$80 a week! While a group class has a certain energy that is impossible to find at home, I have found that home practice can be just as challenging, rejuvenating, and peaceful as a studio class.

I first made this discovery three weeks ago when I began the Yoga Journal 21-day Yoga Challenge. Taking these online classes made me feel like I was in an actual studio. When you are on a budget, or just don’t feel like getting into the car and driving to the studio, an online class is a great substitute.

A friend of mine also recommended the website YogaGlo. YogaGlo is a real studio located in California, but they tape all of their classes and post them online. For $18/month you can access any of their classes at home and do yoga as often as you want! This is a great deal because for less than the cost of one yoga class you can access lots of great classes with professional instructors!

Of course I will still be going to my local studio because I want to support the business and take advantage of the great energy group classes has to offer. However, I have found online classes to be a great addition. Namaste!

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In the book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, Gregg Levoy paraphrases Carl Jung writing, “Image is psyche…and imagery is the language of the unconscious–whether that imagery comes through a drawing, painting, sculpture, or narrative, or a dream.” I have always loved to draw, although I recognize I shouldn’t make it my day job. It’s not so much the finished product, but the process that truly makes me love it. However, I really only like to draw flowers: any shape, any color. The blossom of a flower is magical to me from the delicate petals to the rich colors, and strong  stem. I love their curvature and imperfections, the slightly shorter petal, the bent leaf. In fact, I believe that my unconscious takes the shape of a flower, and my urge to draw this is actually a yearning to draw an expression of my true self.

I suggest taking half an hour or so and just drawing whatever comes to mind. Don’t try to make it perfect, just let it be an expression of your true self. Who knows, it could spark a new idea or path to follow. Or, you may just be able to see yourself clearly for the first time.

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This summer I spent some time shopping around for a soy candle. I had read that commonly used paraffin candles leach chemicals into the air when burned, so I wanted to buy something that was clean and eco-friendly. A lot of candles I saw looked nice and smelled wonderful, but were over $20…that’s a lot for a candle! Finally, when I was in Newport, Rhode Island on vacation I saw this candle at Green Envy Eco-Boutique

The brand is Phebes and I personally liked the green tea scent, though I believe lemongrass was the most popular. The candle was only $15, has lasted since August, and smells great! Lighting a candle feels special and ceremonial. Seeing fire lights up a deeper, more spiritual part of our being and invites relaxation and contemplation. My evenings had been very hectic and I was having difficulty slowing down. Recently I decided that 9:15 until 10:00 is my designated “quiet time.” I can choose to read, write, or meditate, but I promised myself to turn off all electronics: no television, cell phone, or computer.

My candle is an integral part of my evening ritual. By lighting it, I set the tone for a sacred, separate space from the rest of my day. By blowing it out, the end of this space is signified and my mind and body know that it is time for bed. I highly suggest using a candle in a daily ritual. Rituals give us something to look forward to and create a rhythm in our day. Lighting a candle in this space will provide calm, peace, and warmth, something all of us could use a little more of.

 

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‘Tis the season…to feel a bit frazzled by the number of parties, gifts to buy, and preparations to make for the holidays.  Each weekend of December is completely full with barely a moment to breathe! Of course I love seeing family and friends, decorating, and eating lots of goodies. At some point each day, though, I find myself craving soft pajamas and a warm quiet space to curl up into. As the temperature begins to drop we feel a natural urge to hibernate. The dark afternoons lead into even darker evenings and turning inward  becomes crucial for our wellbeing. So, how do you do this while still getting everything done? Here are some ideas:
  1. Make a to-do list in the morning and then take one item off of it right away. What can you let go of doing today to make space for your mini-hibernation? For example, today I would take off doing that extra load of dishes just so I can curl up on my couch with a blanket for a little while.
  2. If the day is completely packed take five minutes perhaps while driving or while sitting at your desk to visualize your cozy place. Give yourself permission to curl up in your mind. Picture yourself in fuzzy slippers and flannel pajamas and just stay there for a bit. Then you can return to the hustle and bustle more refreshed.
  3. Be with the darkness. Let your body relax into the dark evenings by taking a ten-minute break from whatever you’re doing to slip away into a dark room. Breathe deeply and focus on turning inward. By not fighting this cold, dark time of year with a busy schedule and bright lights your body will feel closer to its natural rhythms.

Whenever you feel that pull to take care of yourself, listen to it. By taking moments out of busy days to become quiet we are able to become clearer, more present, and more connected. I love to curl up with a cup of tea (of course), a book, and a blanket for just a short amount of time to nourish myself. Happy hibernating!

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