self-love

where ATTENTION goes, ENERGY flows | travel musings

This is one the many source-unknown truths I've heard over the years, and like most truths, their meaning, depth, and symbolism not only shape & morph & change & grow & evolve & deepen with practice {meditation, yoga, capital Y yoga, journaling, mindfulness, etc} ...

But so do YOU. In relationship to said wisdom, in relationship to your body/mind/heart/spirit/soul, in relationship to others, in relationship to life.

where did this come from

I love remembering the very early days on my {now consciously, eternal} Yoga practice. Makes for delicious reflections, as well as enriches, solidifies and clarifies the evolution and growth of this thing we call life. Life lived, on purpose, with purpose, that is. Our embodiment of it all. 

I remember when I saw a pretty picture of this quote on Pinerest, or something like it.

In fact, literally, right this moment, I went to Pinterest to see if I could find it again. This one immediately, visually, triggered a memory:

I say visually, because I remember the soft pastel colours, the dreamy vibe of it. But, the funny thing is, that as you can see, I did not actually remember the words. At least not exactly. I remembered the essence of them, and how they got integrated into my experience, how they made sense in my brain, and likely how they could show up most powerfully as a practice ... for ME. 

In some cases, like a mantra or defined quote, yes, it is best to honour the original "quoted" words. But this one is definitely in the 'no one knows who said it' category. So, in my humble opinion it's kinda open source?! And, in full disclosure, if you practice with me, I can rarely get through a reading or poem without ad-libbing and/or kate-i-fying. It has to feel fully aligned for me, within me, in order to share. 

What matters, is how it feels in YOUR body. In YOUR experience. And how it can have the most powerful effect on the way you experience your body/mind/heart/soul/spirit, and life. 

I love looking back through the lens of pulling even more clarity and insight forward. And when we choose the 'right' anchor point to look back at, and look forward from, it gives a wonderful sense of progression, progress, possibility, growth, learning, and wisdom which can then be a catalyst for more going forward.

breaking it down

This is my working hypothesis around the growth process of embodying wisdom. It is also a work in progress.

First thought:

- oh, that's pretty (referring to the image, photograph or artwork the words laid upon)

Second thought:

- those words sound nice, that's pretty

- so "I'm" having a positive reaction to what I'm receiving. Cool.

- which then morphs into, okay, ya, that makes sense. Logical mind is trying to figure out its validity, it's 'what's in it for me (wiifm)', its value, its merit in MY life, whether it is worth committing to memory (or god help me, try) & if I think it's justified etc etc

- this evolves into awareness around how these words make me feel. Conscious awareness. Beyond the 'my eyes like how pretty it is & my ears like how pretty that sounds', now my heart, emotional body and sensory body, maybe even energetic & spiritual body is coming online, and feeling the vibratory resonance of this truth. Even writing those words now, I can appreciate where my mind & awareness was those many years ago, & how I would immediately discount this as woohoo; I just couldn't grasp, relate, logically understand & had never felt it or experienced it = discomfort = mind dismisses it.

- But when it's explored w curiosity, experienced thru applied & embodied practice & life lived, integration begins. This could be through many forms of mindfulness & inquiry & contemplation: in meditation, in yoga (say, as an intention, theme for your practice), in writing/journaling, thru daily life off-the-cushion as an informal mindfulness type practice.

I explored this is my yoga class yesterday. Then throughout the day. Then again in my meditation practice this morning. A lot of musings and awareness emerged.

Such as::

{the TYPE of attention = the TYPE of energy}

... to be continued.

Ughhh gotta get off the screen. Spoons be drained. 

Can't wait to continue this one. Stay tuned! Share your feels, your thoughts! 

xo k

i found LOVE in a hopeless place

Yes. I found love in a hopeless place.  When I play the song "We Found Love" by Rihanna it lights up this very desired feeling. This delicious memory and ongoing learning.

I play it when I'm scared. I play it when I'm happy. I play it when I need a dose of courage {like when I was driving to teach my first Parliament Hill Yoga class for Lululemon}. It's the song I shared at a Lulu Ambassador Summit during a 'theme song' type group share/exercise. So rad. So right.

The layers are unending. It's also embedded in this #morningmusings moment I'd like to share with you.

It's about LOVE. But not the kind you'd expect.
 

Awesome n Visceral

I'm was watching this show called 'The Leftovers' ... and there's this scene in S1 E3 where a priest (and husband) carries his wife from bed to the bath. Barely any life in her eyes. Frozen. Lifeless. Limp limbs dangling from his arms as he carries her. 

As I watched, I felt my whole body begin to tingle. Shake. A full visceral experience. Uncontrollable tears started to flow down my face.

A remembering. A knowing. An un-foreshadowing foreshadow of an experience.

I can remember a phase in my recovery, a long one, when I would count down the hours and minutes til sleep time. Ice helmet on, drugs consumed, waiting for 7:30 or 8:00pm to arrive so I could go to sleep. A time that seemed to be the most seemingly acceptable hour to end one's day, and the only way I could make the next one possible.

I was lovingly tucked into bed. Yet it was laced with such bittersweet energy. It felt like the rest of the world kept moving, going, living. And there I was. Longing for relief. For sleep (which was rarely restful). Feeling like life was passing me by. 

I waiting until I could hear (my then husband) walk down the stairs, and would cry myself to sleep often.
 

Despised Longing

I hated it. Yet I longed to sleep. I longed to shut it all out. Being awake sometimes felt like this unbearable reminder of Old Kate, and Old Kate's life, capabilities, etc. I longed for the pain to stop, even if just for a couple hours til I tossed and turned myself awake. Over and over.

Day after day. Hoping the next day would be different. Better. More ease. More joy. 

While "in it" (in this phase of recovery), the next day never really felt different. It felt never-ending. An impossible climb. No improvements. 

Moments of relief, yes, but I either:: 
1. Quickly dismissed these moments because the whole wasn't "better", or didn't seem that way in the vacuum I chose to live in, 
2. OR, I eagerly filled. Then paid the price. More pain. More fatigue. More fog. Constantly playing catch-up (that is until I learned to live in the sweet spot, more on that another time).
 

Climbing out of the Vacuum

But the thing is, the day's DO add up. Time does pass. And all my efforts of healing, therapy, rehab, movement, meditation, doctors, specialists, faith AND ease (non-doing) stacked up. They're cumulative.

Little daily choices, in a seemingly hopeless existence, add up. They friggin do add up. 

Hope adds up.

Faith adds up. 

Awareness sets in.

Healing begins from within.

Resistance loses its luster.

Acceptance shows up, crumb by crumb.

We adapt AND we keep going.

Peace is possible.

Love is possible. 

Possibility is possible.

I found love where I didn't think it belonged or was possible. 
I found love in a hopeless place.
I learned to receive love. I learned to give love.
I felt love. 

And I keep learning. Every damn day.
Refining. Re-learning. New learnings.
 

LOVE.

Love. This magnificent power that lurks within each cell. Each misery. Each trauma. Each disappointment. Each seemingly impossible moment. 

The love that I felt as I watched that scene in The Leftovers, was unconditional love. True deep real love. Seemingly rare love. Not the kind we'd even choose (because societally we tend to chase romantic love and confuse the word love as being synonymous with that one type of love), but somehow is the most important there is.  

There are no words for how I grateful I am to know such love. And how truly committed I am to learning how to live in that state of being.

To be that love, to give that love, and to receive that love ... to/with/from the incredible souls who I am blessed to call my family & my 'family', as well as to/with/from those who I don't even know yet.

This capacity is unending. Unlimited. Unbounded. Unrestricted. Available to us all. And takes a whole heck of a lotta practice. Openness. Courage. Vulnerability. And a possibility mindset. To love with your wholeheart, even when it hurts. Even when it breaks. Even when it's hard.

A LOVE PROJECT is being born. Incubating. 

xo

#morningmusings

get NAKED & love-on yo'self

Yes. That's what I said. And mmmmmmm is it deliciously nourishing.

I'm talking about this ancient Ayurvedic practice, known as ABHYANGA (self-massage) or SNEHA, a Sanskrit word which means to love. Touch is powerful beyond words. As nourishing, healing, elevating, and activating as any other wellness practice there is. 


ABHYANGA :: Ayurvedic Self-Massage

Many believe that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to the feeling when one is soaked in love, the simultaneous experience of loving and being loved. 

Regular practice not only helps restore and balance all Dosha's, it is especially powerful to balance Vata. The list of benefits are vast, but here's a wee list to wet your Abhyanga appetite ::

  • Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging
  • Reduces pain, depression and stress by reducing cortisol levels, a hormone that rises when we are under stress.
  • Increases dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that improve mental outlook
  • Improves the immune system and increases T-cells that fight cancer and viruses
  • Increases muscle tone and vigor to the tissues of the body
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Increases circulation
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the body
  • Assists in elimination of impurities from the body
  • Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
  • Increases stamina
  • Calms the nerves
  • Benefits sleep — better, deeper sleep
  • Enhances vision
  • Promotes hair growth - luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
  • Softens and smoothens skin
  • Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha

the PRACTICE ... the RITUAL

1. Get very NAKED.

Naked is key. But you may choose to build up to this. I strip fully down so that I can truly connect to my physical body. To see me. To feel be. To connect with every curve, every part, every inch. Divine self-love. Divine self-care. AND, this can be hella challenging depending on your present headspace. 

Since this practice is infused with loving intention, it's important to have a mantra that aligns with your loving intention for the practice. Plant this seed in your head and heart space before you begin. Why? Well, this practice (and simply the practice of getting naked) can really crack open and expose self-talk patterns (I'm talking about the inner haters, the "itty-bitty-shitty-committee" that lives in our head). This is part of your Mindfulness practice. Awareness. Give yourself permission to greet whatever comes up - ALL of it - with compassion, with loving-kindness, as best you can.

Awareness building is not an easy road...so if its the first time you're consciously greeting these thoughts, it can be painful. If you're choosing to journey deep into self-healing and self-knowing, it can be divinely loving to consider connecting with a therapist or coach to help you process what is unearthed.

Feeling the feels is a powerfully creative, healing, and wicked learning opportunity. 

As Brene Brown teaches, we can't selectively numb feelings. When we numb the so-called "darker" emotions, we also numb or stun our capacity to access and feel the so-called "light" emotions. When we learn to befriend the more challenging ones, we crack open the door to the positive ones - our core desires in particular. 

2. Gather your SUPPLIES (modify + personalize as desired).

  • Towel/bath mat
  • Oil (Sesame, Sweet Almond, Coconut oil, etc... you can choose an oil based on your Dosha, or simply one that feels right to you)
  • Alter (I like to pull a few items from my main alter that symbolize, support, and attract whatever energy I want to infuse into the massage aka how I want to FEEL aka one of my Core Desired Feelings (CDFs); whatever it is that I'm choosing to generate that day)
  • Notebook or Desire Map Planner - this is a great way to capture thoughts, themes, repetitive thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. that come up during your practice. The Planner is an amazing way to make that clear link between how you want to feel, and what you are going to do to feel that way!!! 

Note :: If you'd like a Planner (or any Desire Map / Danielle Laporte) stuff, let me know. When I place orders of 12 or more I receive a discount as a licensed facilitator OR I provide you with my special affiliate link to make an individual purpose. Muchos gracias!

3. Choose SILENCE or a PLAYLIST to guide the process + time.

Aim to give yourself 15-20 minutes - to get from head to toes. I mix things up, depending on the day. Sometimes I turn this into my meditation practice for the day and go for silence + breath + mantra. Sometimes I go for a Playlist. 

Today, I chose my Heart-Healing Soundtrack. Music is so powerful ... and I make a point of choosing theme songs to help process various life experiences that I'm going through. Sad ones. Happy ones. In between ones. Inspires me beyond belief. Massive mood shifters. And hey, belting out tunes is crazy cathartic!

If you choose silence, set a timer. My fave is Insight Timer (iPhone app), but any smartphone has the capacity to set a timer, complete with your own choice of tone or song. Pick something soft, loving, and nourishing (aka not jarring or alarm-y).

4. Begin the PRACTICE, the RITUAL.

  • Warm the oil - either by immersing the bottle in hot water, heating it on a low temp, or simply by vigorously massaging it in your hands
  • Lay down your towel or mat - consider having a dedicated Abhyanga towel or bath mat, since it can get oily
  • Sit or stand comfortably - I start sitting, then kneel, then stand, and end sitting
  • Make sure the room temp is comfortable - you are naked after all, so a little space heater can be a nice choice if you don't want to crank the heat house-wide
  • Start at the crown of your head and/or extremeties, and slowly work your way through the body in circular movements towards the heart - if you're having a shower after, include the whole crown and head (hair too), but if you're not planning to wash your hair, feel free to skip the scalp that day)
    • Face:: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears and inside your ear, especially your ear-lobes
    • Limbs:: Use long circular strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and smaller circular strokes on the joints. Always massage toward the direction of your heart
    • Torso:: Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side
    • Feet:: Finish the massage by spending extra time massaging your feet, a very important part of the body and are covered in nerve endings/pressure points, etc.

Give yourself 5-15 minutes to soak and absorb the oil and the love deep into your tissues, all of body's layers. The timer or playlist is key so that you don't feel rushed or compelled to look at your phone. 

  • If you can, plan for a warm bath or shower afterwards. Aim to use a mild soap and only mild pressure, focusing more on key parts that need to be cleaned, while allowing the oil to keep doing its magic elsewhere. 
  • Towel dry gently. Lightly pat your body, mindfully, instead of rubbing vigorously.
  • Re-Nourish. Either using a light oil or delicious body lotion. Hempz is my go to!

5. Do YOU.

Make this practice your own. Invite all feelings, all movement, all thoughts to be present, to be experienced. Sing. Cry. Dance. Lay down and get your Savasana on.

Allow each day to be different. The practice, the ritual of it is the consistent part. The content doesn't have to be. When you're fully present in the experience, you're able to explore with curiosity, listening and allowing your body, heart, mind and spirit to guide the movement, the mantra, the breath, everything. 

As best you can, drop out of your head and into your heart. As you lovingly massage that beautiful body of yours, imagine that you're massaging the love of your life. Because, ultimately, that IS YOU. For me, this is the most dreamy non-sexual sensuality in the world. 

Open up that heart dear soul, open wide.

Feel it all.

And may you feel as wholeheartedly loved, nourished, and seen as I feel when I give myself the gift of this practice. 

xo Kate