Monday, August 5, 2013

July Self-Care Retreat 2013 - Exploring Self-Care through Faith and Meditation

Over the past month a beautiful group of bloggers and readers have shared their thoughts on self-care. What it is, why it's important, best practices, etc...

Mid-way through the month I shared my own thoughts on what self-care has really meant to me in the past few years. Exploring my own spirituality and emotional health has been very important and has helped to shape the ever-growing person I am today. 

Through this month I spent time doing several guided meditation sessions with Iris Higgins (you MUST check out her new website: along with a few metta meditation sessions on youtube. (Youtube is a wonderful tool for free meditation resources!) 

For me, meditation has become one of my favorite methods of radical self-care. Meditation, done with a thoughtful teacher, has a way of helping me to better understand my own thoughts and feelings. Meditation has a way of quieting my mind and letting me see the "why" behind many of my frustrations and challenges. 

I often draw while I'm meditating. It helps me to focus and it gives me an actual "picture" of the feelings I'm working through. 

The sketches above were done while I was listening to the 1st meditation in Iris's 3 Day Chrysalis workshop. (If you scroll to the bottom of the Workshop page, Iris has the meditations in a podcast format, so you can listen and participate yourself!) 

I had a lot of deadlines this month, so I didn't set a list of primary goals to accomplish. But I really thought about all of the different ways I practice self-care and how much they have made a difference in my life the past few years. 

I have such a different perspective on problems than I did a few years ago. I have a much more positive outlook on life now than I used too. I feel so much happier than I did before! Much of this has been due to really wonderful counseling and wellness coaching from Cheryl Harris, the host of this amazing July event. But I also know, that a lot of it is due to finally being truly present in my life and working through issues as they come. No more ignoring things I don't more resistance to change... no more hiding from my own feelings. 

As I look back on how life has changed for me in the past two years one thing that stands out to me is that REAL change takes time. Real change takes a lot of practice and patience and willingness. Real change takes communication. Real change takes exploration. And for me that hasn't always been easy. As Cheryl wisely told me in our last session, "We all have our "stuff" to work through." And I feel like I can really look back over the past two years and see real change. I can see that I deal with problems as they arise instead of putting them on the back burner and letting them simmer. I'm present to experience the blessings of each day, instead of dreading the challenges I might face.

Self-care is a process. A humbling, beautiful, and raw process... but the gradual results are priceless. Exploring life with joy instead of fear is one of the most abundant gifts I have ever been given.

Do you want to know more about how you can incorporate self-care into your own life? Please check out the thoughtful posts by all of the fellow bloggers and readers who participated through this month's event: 

Our fantastic group of bloggers:

June 28th:  Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness
July 6th: Valerie of City Life Eats
July 13th: Shirley of Gluten Free Easily (GFE)
July 20st: Iris of My Fairy Angel (you probably also know her from The Daily Dietribe)
July 27th Kate of Eat, Recycle Repeat
Aug 3rd Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl

Cheryl of GF Goodness on Re-Writing the Story

Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl on Emotional and Spiritual Growth

Kate of Eat Recycle Repeat on “How to Surrender”

Cheryl of GF Goodness on Depression and Self Care

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