process

A Practice in Self Love

When coming out of a dark and difficult period, we can vacillate between feeling lost and feeling grateful. This can be so confusing and exhausting; sometimes jumping from these emotional lily pads on a minute to minute basis. We get stuck in our heads, analyzing ourselves, others, events, emotions; everything is fodder for judgement. Experiencing darkness is an essential part of experiencing life; we all have these moments of grief, heartache, getting knocked on our asses and making the decision to either stay down or get up. I have had days where I stay in a place of anger and then judge myself for that anger. I think “I should be grateful for this pain--thank you God!” and then I think, “WTF, I don’t have the perspective to be grateful yet”. And around and around. Ultimately, I am able to come to gratitude because I trust that all of this is meant for me and my greater divine timeline is being unfolded.

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The last month for me has been this rollercoaster of trying to get grounded and get back to taking care of my own heart. This idea of practicing self love is so undefined and almost scary at first. As healers, a lot of the time we think we are supposed to know all the answers, all the ways to get “back to happiness” or live this perfect, Instagram life. The reality is that we too have pain, we too have moments of doubt and insecurity, moments of being humbled in life’s raging current. And because we are healers, we often jump to action before we are ready; “I must take care of this. I will do all the things!” There is nothing wrong with doing all things, and there is also great need for quiet, patience and love towards yourself and your process. I sometimes look at the process and I want to be “done”, as if it is my enemy. It is that quick moment that I have been reminded or remember that pain is not my enemy but my teacher. I recall that when you love your problems, and can really sit in that love, the solution will appear. Breakdown/Breakthrough.

“One of the biggest lessons we learned from our trip is that when you stir up energy with deep healing work, it’s vital that you give yourself enough time to process it.” -Crystal Muse

I recently stumbled across an app called Insight Timer (an amazing meditation app that is totally free--whaaaa?!); I have been listening to a guided meditation from a woman named Sarah Blondin entitled “Loving and Listening to Yourself”. In this meditation she asks you to place a hand on your heart and a hand on your stomach, gently holding yourself as you repeat the words out loud “I love you”. It is uncomfortable and awkward; and the first time I did this I was sitting in my car outside of Caribou, sobbing, as I repeated these words to myself. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear them. I didn’t realize how void I had been of giving myself what I had been seeking in others. Each time I have practiced this since then, I still feel that energy bubble up through my entire chakra system, as if it is a current that hasn’t been turned on in years. There is crackling, uncertainty, emotions that are tucked away that get pushed to the surface. And then comes the warmth. If floods me-through my heart and out my eyeballs. The tears are not of sadness of but of pure love, of relief. Oh, there you are:).

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I encourage you to try this; it is unlike anything I have ever experienced. To physically and emotionally give yourself love. Recognize the shame and discomfort that may arise, and hold space for that; you are clearing out the darkness. That is the only way to light. Allow compassion to replace that shame, “I am allowed to love myself. I am allowed to hold myself and speak to myself the way that I desire to be held and spoken to”.

My other practice of self love in the last month has been physical outlets; seeking to expel energy that creates anxiety, a build up of anger and helplessness. I find more inspiration when I am moving, when I give myself permission to stop thinking about my “process” for an hour and just sweat and breathe. I gain clarity, focus and regain grains of trust in myself (I got the inspiration for this blog post this morning while I was on my spin bike at 6am). Instead of waking up and staring at the ceiling, wondering about things that aren’t helpful, I put my feet on the floor and meet friends and strangers at new classes and old classes. I am reminded that people are kind and welcoming. I am reminded that I am strong and beautiful. I am reminded that I am powerful and can overcome physical challenges and that just by showing up I am making progress. I am reminded that I am allowed to get out of my head and into my entire body. I am blessed that I am able, capable, strong and resourced to have gyms to escape to and rediscover myself in. Movement in my physical body has always equated to movement in my ethereal and spiritual bodies as well; in moments of sadness and loss there is stability and trust in what waits for me on my mat, on the stairs, on a bike, hugging a friend at a class.

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I tell my clients that physical movement is often the precipice of change in so many other areas of your life; when you feel physically strong, your mental strength, clarity and motivation soon follows. There is another component to this which is that we store energy and emotion in our bodies and through releasing it by sweating, stretching and grinding we force these emotions to the surface. The times that I have cried at yoga and spin, where the tears are mixed with the sweat on my face, have been times of intense release and vulnerability. These are moments when I give myself permission to just be present in whatever is coming up; I don’t pretend. I just am Nikki--a kind, beautiful, loving, emotional woman who is in it.

I have practiced this branch of self love for over 6 years, and yet with each new life lesson, it takes on a new iteration. I was originally upset that I felt as if I had to leave my home gym [to escape ‘that man”] that I have spent the last 6 years building my body and community at; but the amazing, beautiful gift in it has been being able to lift my eyes up, away from the track that I’ve always known and take steps towards new experiences and people. The choice to try new things has been the most incredible reminder that I am brave. It might not seem super brave to jump on a reformer at solidcore or walk into a new class at TigerFit, but for me it is! It is humbling and allows me to remember on a regular basis that “I can do hard things”. When I did my first headstand in Bali in December, it shifted my perspective on what was possible for me in my practice; it matters the accomplishments we find, no matter where they appear. Bravery gets to be mini and mighty, sometimes in the same moment.

Before December 27th, I thought I was taking care of myself, I thought I did love myself fully. I thought I was doing “all the things”. I had the most blessed, humbling opportunity to realize that I wasn’t. I got to/get to recalibrate and reconnect with what that ubiquitous term, love, actually means for me and how I want to practice it and commit myself to it now. I desire to weave together the quiet moments of integration and rest and the loud, rhythmic beat of change. That is my intention; as a healer I share with you that I walk this path not in front of, but alongside of you. My pain and my love is my work; there is no separation.

“Sometimes we ‘act’ like we love ourselves so that we don’t have to change. Except our spirit very much wants us to change what’s not working for our lives. But we’re afraid to do what it takes to change. Fake self love can turn into a cop out for really growing” -Danielle LaPorte

Be Well Always,

Love, Nik