“All of us are seeking the same thing. We share the desire to fulfill the highest, truest expression of ourselves as human beings….the most valuable gift you can give yourself is the time to nurture the unique spirit that is you.” -Oprah
As children, we are taught to love others and treat them with kindness and compassion; yet, we rarely heard the message that it first starts with us. I don’t know about you, but I feel the most important lesson that should be taught early on in life is to do just that: Love and accept ourself, show up for ourself with loving-kindness, compassion and understanding. Take care of our beautiful soul and nurture it with food for all the senses. The value in this lesson is that we learn to put our Self first, and not in a selfish way, but in a self-preserving way!
Fast forward to when we are in our adult lives, and we will most likely get to the point where we seem to be unraveling, disconnected, lost, not grounded, spiraling, fatigued, anxious, and exhausted from doing, doing, doing and giving, giving, giving. Why? Because we are doing and giving to others. We are “do-ing” instead of “be-ing.” We’ve all heard the adage, “If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of anyone else.” Why is that so difficult to do? We’ve put ourselves at the bottom of the “to do” list, that’s why! We should have been at the top of the list all along had we been taught to do so early on in life.
Somewhere along the line, we find ourselves lacking joy, stamina, wonder, love, excitement, creativity and a host of other things. We are quick to see the gifts in others and admire them in ways we seem to have lost the ability to do for ourself. We lose touch with our true essence and the connection to that divine energy that is much greater than us. Where did it go? Well darlings, remember the line from the Wizard of Oz? “You’ve had the power all along.” You just mis-placed it, gave it away, ignored it or chose to forget about it all together. There comes a point in your life where you must find it, polish it, step into it and reclaim the divine power and glory that is You. How? Well, a good place to start is to turn inward and start acknowledging your personal gifts and uniqueness. We all have them. We’ve just lost sight of them. Be still and listen!
Look around and take a close look at all the young girls and women of all ages, beautiful women inside and out, who fail to see their beauty, light, uniqueness and gifts because they are so caught up in doing for others or comparing themselves to others. Just think about the behavior that is being modeled for younger generations. It’s certainly not a healthy one. A good way to break this cycle is to first acknowledge the behavior and then consciously “choose” to end this cycle of madness and struggle. Instead of prioritizing your schedule, schedule your priorities (when I heard my lovely friend Christy once say this, I felt a shift occur in my mind). And if you’re not sure of your priorities, a great way to re-claim them is to identify your “non-negotiables.” As I’ve shared before, mine are prayer, yoga, meditation, sleep, water, nutritious foods, exercise (and other self-care practices). Nothing, or no one, comes between me and my non-negotiables. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way! What are the things your mind, body and soul need in order to “show up” for yourself in a healthy, kind, compassionate, mindful and peaceful way? And by the way, leave the guilt at the door when doing so! These are the things that need to be a priority on your schedule. Along with the guilt, leave the prioritizing of the schedule in the past, and start scheduling your priorities!
Another powerfully insightful way to identify and connect with your personal gifts, uniqueness and divine power is a wonderful exercise called I AM. If my memory serves me correctly, I first did it as part of Iyanla Vanzant’s Inner Vision Institute Do the Work series. It “appears” to be a simple task and one you may have doubts about. It may also be one that you struggle with as you try to “come up” with what to write. You see, with each passing day, you will most certainly find yourself delving deeper and deeper, excavating and finding those long-lost gifts you have buried or, perhaps, never even acknowledged. You do this exercise for 7 consecutive days, and all it requires is a pen and paper (no typing – it must be hand-written).
As will all sacred practices / rituals, I suggest you take a moment to perhaps light a candle, clear your space, burn some sage, palo santo or incense. Take a few deep breaths, get comfortable, set an intention and don’t over-think. Approach the activity with an open mind and open heart! Now take a piece of paper (you may want to do this in your journal) and write Day 1 at the top. Then, below that, write I AM. Number your paper from 1-40. You are now ready to say to yourself, “I am……” and write whatever comes up next to each number. Do not judge or over-think – just go with the flow! You will do this for 7 consecutive days.
Believe me, you will be amazed and in awe of the magnitude of what you have written. It will leave you feeling empowered, strong and in love with You. No one….I will say it again….no one, can give you the most valuable gift of nurturing the unique spirit that is you other than You! In doing so, you will fulfill your highest, truest expression of yourself as a human being, and not a human “do-ing.”
Happy exercising and remember, just do you…. And love who you are!
Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC