Nature spirals in and out through the seasons … so do we. Have you noticed the whorls and circles in the trunk of a cut tree, how a cat will curl up and around itself to sleep within a tucked up ball, the spirals of sea shells, plant leaves, wave patterns in the sand left by the ocean’s waves…
It may seem in Autumn and Winter that nature doesn't continue the spiraling process but it does. The leaves on a tree begin to dry and curl until a wind blows through the branches and the tree opens and releases the leaves to the ground. Snowflakes have circular patterns as they fall to the ground. Cats spend more time curled up to stay warm but they do get up to stretch luxuriously. Nature spirals in but also opens up and releases.
The human body spirals….our dna spirals within, we have linings (fascia) around our cells, muscles, our organs, even our skin acts as a lining that holds us together. Our mind spirals with emotions that wind us up or loosen and relax us. During the Fall and Winter months we are more likely to curve inwards to protect against the colder breezes, we're more likely to cocoon indoors and wrap ourselves up, curl our posture around that hot cup of cocoa.
As living beings we can run into problems when we don’t take the time to loosen and open our physical and emotional inward spirals. We often allow life’s continual and stressful grinds to wind us tighter…ever tighter. We can begin to feel like a tightly wound spring ready to “boing” in uncontrolled patterns, as we knock against those things around us and then lie in the place we land, still coiled and tight. This is never more true than as we navigate our way through Covid19 and staying within our space, bubble and home.
Holistic sessions encourage the body and the mind to unwind and open up with ease ... spiral out, for just a short time. It's interesting to note how many times a client will release a deep breath or sigh as their body and mind begin to release. Relaxation Massage opens and stretches muscles and tendons, Craniosacral Therapy encourages the linings (fascia) encasing muscles, organs and joints to unwind, to loosen the tightness and just be, Reiki encourages mind and body to move into balance and harmony with the cold of winter being warmed and thawed through the heat of the energy within.
Many of my clients appreciate the intuitive approach I bring to my Holistic sessions. When you tell me to just go with it and offer the session as I think you need it's an honour to be trusted so deeply. What you may not realize is that your guides or the energy you're "putting out there", or your angels are, for the most part, showing me what you need. And in writing that I just took a big leap outside of my usually safe topics of discussion.
I hear you when you say you are struggling to figure life out, next steps, how to move forward in your journey...I also sense that many are not calling upon those spirit guides that are there to help them navigate their life path. These guides have so many different names (guardian angels, totem animals, god, goddess, ancestors...) and energies, none of them wrong or right. What is right is what feels as though it resonates with you and your beliefs.
Phase 3 in the Journey - Maintenance and Moving Foward (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Discovering Balance During Covid19 - 6)
OK, so you’ve done the work, peeled back layers of your life, like an onion, to discover at least one thing that is no longer working for you. That something is up for change as you create holistic balance in your life. You’ve explored the ways that work for you and hopefully found 2 or 3 that work and you’re in the process of integrating those changes. Now what?
Phase 2 in the Journey - Acceptance and Investigation (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 5)
At this point in our journey it's accepted that you have embraced the idea that the health of mind, body and spirit are all integral to our holistic well-being, and that it's totally ok to have any and all emotions during changes in your life that affect all parts of you. If you're not at this point yet then move backwards through the previous blog posts...this next part of the journey is interesting, playful and enlightening.
Phase 1 in the Journey - Emotions (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 4)
I think that one of the downsides to people feeling safe to share their journey towards holistic balance is Toxic Positivity. Ourselves or others can often feel uncomfortable with emotion, and so will downplay it in others, or we stuff it down in ourselves. Neither are healthy and that is not what this journey will be about. It's time to get honest with how you're feeling.
Allowing your feelings is healthy. Emotions are energy and in order to eventually be released, energy has to be allowed to move. Same thing with emotions, and yes, it can be super uncomfortable to allow our own emotions and to witness those of others.
Radical Self-Care during Phase 1 of Your Holistic Journey
Some of the following suggestions may seem like band-aid solutions to the emotions you're feeling about the changes you're experiencing due to Covid19. They are band-aid solutions for now. During this first phase in creating holistic balance your creating space for emotions and looking after yourself through that phase. (You're also teaching your loved ones that it's ok to have the emotions and to explore self-care techniques that work for them)
Ways to Safely Express Emotion
Don't suppress them or tamp them down! Allow the energy of the emotions to move through you and if they get too much go ahead and scream in the car, cry, stamp your feet. Journaling through writing or art, breath work, laughter and physical movement are all great ways to safely express emotions.
My favourite way is to put on the music and dance with abandon. As I move the emotional energy moves as well. I encourage you to explore and discover new ways that feel good to you.
Nurturing Yourself Through the Tough Days
This can be a really interesting way to find out just what radical self-care looks like for you as you explore different methods.
I'ts ok to sit in this phase of discovering Holistic Balance for a period of time as you explore what works for you. But we're not going to wallow or set up camp in this phase for too long. That being said, there is no timeline. As I said in a previous post, you will work through this journey as it works for you and there is no right or wrong way. Get comfortable with self-care and emotional expression as best you can. Perhaps the weekly calendar guide below can help with that.
What Does It Mean to Take A Holistic Approach (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 2)
Ayurvedic (or Abhyanga) Massage is a deeply relaxing and healing experience for the mind and body. In an ideal world a person would receive Ayurvedic Massage daily with it's warm oils, meditative music, flowing movements and soft scents. Improving state of mind, a good nights sleep and movement without pain are just some of the benefits.
With Ayurvedic sessions, massage strokes are lighter in application but no less valuable than deeper work, as they follow the flow of energy channels, nerve pathways and hair growth. Relaxing yet enlivening, flowing and hypnotic, the mind and body are treated to a sense of integration and alignment.
There is no rush with Ayurvedic Massage. A session will last 90 minutes to 2 hours.
4 to 6 oz of warm, nourishing coconut oil is applied during Ayurvedic Massage to smoothe the skin, penetrate hair, lubricate joints, soothe and moisturize. While it sounds like a lot of oil the body will receive and absorb the healing benefits.
Ayurvedic body massage pays attention to the marma points and chakras. Marma points are located where there are junctions of muscle, tendons, ligaments and bones, those areas where pain tends to reside. The chakras are main energy vortexes that correspond to organs and glands in the body. Through Ayurvedic massage these areas are revitalized and balanced to function at optimal vitality.
Music for Ayurvedic sessions is meditative and relaxing while transporting us through the right side of the brain which nurtures creativity and intuition, relaxation and regeneration.
Aromas affect the limbic or emotional centre of the brain and through the use of gentle, natural essential oils, Ayurvedic Massage invokes an effortless state of relaxation. Scents are subtle and lightly used so as not to overpower the mind body experience of a session.
Not solely mechanical, during an Ayurvedic massage there is a transfer of energy between the therapist and the client so it is important to feel receptive, safe and have trust in your therapist.
The energy of kindness and gentle healing flows throughout an Ayurvedic session, engulfing you in a space of unconditional love, something we all could use more of.
The ever typical peace keeper, despite best efforts not to be, I find myself slipping into that role time and again. Boundaries were never something I learned. Growing up in an alcoholic home they just didn't exist. I earned my gold medal in peacekeeping just to try to maintain some space between myself and the chaos that surrounded me. Unfortunately it's a tough role to break...but I will continue to make it a work in progress.
With a lot of self work and reflection, boundaries have become something more familiar and I've identified a number of them that work for me. The difficult thing about having boundaries is knowing when to set them. For myself, it's usually after I've allowed them to be pushed, a number of times, in my efforts to keep the peace and oh yes, did I mention I'm also working towards becoming a reformed people pleaser as well?
I usually will get to the point of being in exhausted tears before I realize I haven't held my boundaries and have overextended myself to please. The stress of people pleasing is finally outweighing everything. Once again, I've let myself down. Any of this sounding familiar? I suspect it does because I meet a number of others in this life who will tell me of similar circumstances. So what do I tell them and what do I tell myself?
1. FORGIVE YOURSELF
First and foremost cut yourself some slack. After I've kicked myself a couple of times and wiped the tears away I remember to tell myself that yes, I caught myself again, I messed up, but I did catch myself and perhaps next time I will catch myself sooner. That does happen.
2. STOP IT!
As soon as you realize the boundaries have been breached put them back in place. Take a few moments to recognize where you've been lax in holding your own space and gift yourself by putting those boundaries up. Then take a breath.
I use to feel that I couldn't, that it was too late, that people wouldn't like it...yeah, the people pleaser raises it's loud and ugly voice to say "What will others think of me?". But the more important question is how will you feel about yourself if you don't? I thought so...nail those things up if have to, but put them up.
3. Say NO
Say no and don't justify it. You really don't owe anyone a reason or justification for putting your boundaries up and beginning to say no. Yes, it means you have switched gears, people may not like it, but is it worth the stress to not do it? Certainly if people ask and you feel as though you want to explain, you can, however at times that can be exhausting. Right now you're doing the work of holding the boundaries in place and rebuilding yourself, and that needs to come first.
4. Celebrate you
Hey, you were successful, you figured it out, you caught up with your boundaries, set them, took a breath and now it's time to celebrate that amazingness that is your achievement. Yes, there will likely be more occurrences of boundary violation and people pleasing mishaps, but not today.
You're only human and that is something to celebrate. Give yourself the pat on the back, the toast with champagne or whatever way you celebrate you!