Continuing on this month’s topic of self-care, I can’t think of a better way to begin a conversation than Pema Chödrön’s quote from her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty.
What you do for yourself – any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honest and clear seeing toward yourself, will affect how you experience your world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world.
Ask yourself: what do I do for myself – just for me (daily, weekly, monthly, and annually)? What gestures of kindness, gentleness, and honest clear seeing toward myself do I do? Possibly, you already have an amazing self-care practice, or maybe you don’t. Either way, what is it?
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Self Care Quiz
Gather a piece of paper or journal, and a pen. Before you begin writing, move into a deeper state of presence, a focused attention on your physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions.
Pause for a moment, take a deep breath in… and out.
In… and out.
And one more time, in… and out.
What do I do for myself – just for me, right now?
What are the gestures of gentleness, kindness, and honest clear seeing I offer myself?
Pause to write your list.
Your list represents where you are now. It can offer you part of the picture of your current relationship with yourself. What did you learn? There is no right or wrong answer here, and if you find yourself judging your list as good or bad, simply notice your thoughts. Are your thoughts gestures of gentleness, kindness and honest clear seeing? I often repeat a quote in my head (and out loud in my classes) by Zen Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki,
“Each of you is perfect the way you are… and you can use a little improvement.”
I can, in the same breath, acknowledge my perfection with gentle and kind thoughts, AND, with honest clear seeing, notice ways in which to grow, evolve and improve.
I am perfect the way I am, and I can use a little improvement.
I am going to put on my life coach hat on for a moment:
With this hat on, I perceive you as one of my students of life. I’m imagining us having just concluded a 50 minute deep-dive conversation on your desire to have more time for yourself; to have the time to take better care of yourself, at which point, I give you a challenge. (I can imagine your face when I say, “I’m going to give you a challenge”! )
A challenge, in coaching, means that the coach gives the coachee homework; an action or project that is typically out of their “comfort zone”. In the case of a challenge, the coachee has the ability to say “yes, I’ll take on the challenge”, “no, I’m not taking on the challenge”, or “yes, but I want to negotiate the terms.”
Self care challenge.
Over the next two weeks, three times each day, you are challenged to move into presence using the breath (as we did earlier in the post), and then ask yourself the question, “What can I do right now to be 5 – 10 % more comfortable?”
And, let me know what you notice in person at the next Coffee Talk on Wednesday February 24th, 8:00am at The Fitness Factory on North Main Street, or leave your comments at the bottom of this post.
Are you game? Are you willing to take on my challenge? Yes, No, or negotiate – which is it?
Namaste my friends, I look forward to hearing from you!
Annamarie Fernyak is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Align LLC based in Mansfield, Ohio. She is a certified life coach, mindfulness meditation teacher, and serial entrepreneur. The development of the MBAwareness Education Program was conceived while Annamarie was volunteering to teach mindfulness in a local middle school and found that the teachers and students were struggling to grow calm for their guest teacher, students seemed unable to pay focused attention, and the teachers were growing frustrated.
Annamarie’s focus was to create a program that would transform the lives of the students. She focused on hiring a licensed teacher to create and instruct the mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculums to elementary and secondary school students and teachers. Due to the challenges associated with global health concerns, Annamarie’s mindfulness education program is further now evolving into online mindfulness education focusing on teaching tools that reduce stress and support a life where people can feel more at ease. We also teach as a part of corporate wellness programs.
In 2017, Annamarie launched Align Mindfulness which is a FREE app downloadable from your app store that sends prompts a few times a day, bringing attention to what’s happening in your world. Intentionally simple, these reflections help you build a well-rounded “mindfulness” muscle by offering variety in where you place your awareness.