self-care is essentially a practice in mindfulness, and the road to self-care is really just a series of intentions fueled by positive, mindful action. it turns out that this is the perfect time to talk about these interconnected aspects of self-care because the middle of this week marked the arrival of the new moon in scorpio: an especially potent occasion for setting intentions and making them stick.
the trick to lasting mindfulness and effective intention is in letting go: let go of a story, a habit, a practice, an identity that has been holding you back. we cling to potentially harmful aspects of life without giving them true thought-- a lesson in mindfulness is to face each and every aspect of your life head-on. if you don't want to face certain parts of yourself then you must learn to let go of them rather than hold on to false hope. the energy in letting go will then, ultimately, give us the momentum to create lasting change in ourselves.
for example: in the midst of a deep talk with a friend this week i suddenly realized that my tendency to put others before myself was an identity that i adopted for myself that i actually have the power to let go of. in our talk i realized that i had been mistaking preference for habit-- i thought i preferred sacrificing my own well-being for the well-being of others, when in reality it's been a habit since i was six years old. the choice to let go of that identity has been empowering, and it has given me the extra strength i need to put myself first (a very, very uncomfortable thing to do).
when we are mindful we see things for what they are. we face all that is in front of us with open and carefully tuned attention. mindfulness is a special combination of awareness, honesty, and slowing down. when we begin to vibrate at a higher level of awareness, the true and only choice presents itself to us. life is less hard; it is more intuitive. the universe sets us up to succeed and thrive when we operate mindfully within it.
think about the decisions you've made from a place of truth and honesty within yourself versus the decisions you've made impulsively or lightly: how did they differ? was one decision more fulfilling than the other?
achieving mindfulness takes patience and faith. i know i'm not mindful 100% of the time-- probably not even half of the time-- but i have faith in my process. there are certain practices i have that keep me more grounded and mindful:
breathing slows us down and gives us the time we need to become mindful of our thoughts, actions, and impending thoughts and actions.
connecting with nature and getting away from the screen, or man-made anything, helps me be mindful. inserting yourself into an environment where you are small-- rejecting the pattern of self-absorption-- is a sure way to foster mindfulness.
silence and meditation help us turn inward and forces us to stop ignoring our truest thoughts. learn how to filter noise out of your life and out of your mind. be selective about the information you let permeate your thought space! not everything needs to be considered if it is not in your best interest or in the interest of self-care.
when we are more mindful we can tell what's working and what isn't in our lives: in our relationships, in our habits and patterns, in our daily lives and in a broader sense. with mindfulness we can begin to create intentions, and then to act with intention to change whatever isn't working. take a day, a week, a month to practice a more mindful existence. observe what works and what doesn't in your life. create specific intentions in order to eliminate what isn't working.
when creating intentions it is crucial to work backwards and without doubt. intentional language takes us far. instead of saying "i wish i could feel more content with my life" try "i am content with my life" and then work backwards to come up with intentional actions that will get you to that point. if you didn't already set your intentions for the month, a great thing to do with every new moon, take some time to do so now.
here are some of my intentions for this month (this day, this year-- whatever!) :
intention: i have space within myself that provides me with the comfort and purpose i need to thrive
intentional action: i will spend time with myself and explore the ways in which i can satisfy my own needs. i will spend less time dwelling on what others think and do and how it relates to me; i will put myself and my well-being before others in order to ensure a high level of self-care, and to make sure i am stable and steady enough to care for others after.
intention: i am free from physical, emotional, and material attachments that restrict my creative process and progress
intentional action: i will purge the possessions i still own that do not inspire or serve me. i will distance myself from relationships that distract rather than enhance my sense of clarity. i will observe and give up habits that slow my body and mind. in turn i will fill these new, free spaces with more love and appreciation for the attachments i choose to keep or invite into my life, and let them stretch wider and deeper so that they can inspire me in any endeavor.
intention: i am at peace with my state of flux
intentional action: i will face the discomfort i have with my newly nomadic lifestyle and find every possible way to love and embrace it. in any way that it is not working i will actively strive to change it. i will be mindful of how my state of flux affects my relationships, my well-being and health, and my work, and will carefully recalibrate it to make sure i am maintaining and thriving in those areas of my life. above all i will give myself a break and have faith that it will all work out if i stay true to myself and never give in to any decision or potential solution that doesn't feel one hundred percent right.
intentions can be big or small. mine are pretty big because i've been taking steps up to this point and have been reaching my smaller goals. if you've thrown an intention out into your future and have been working towards it, make sure you check in and dial back to the mindful reason why you threw it out there to begin with. it's easy to get caught up in the process and forget where you're going or why you're trying to get there. sometimes we learn new things in the process and have to alter our intentions. always be mindful. always be intentional.
next week i'll address prioritizing as an aspect of self-care.