Everything changes and we are continually presented with the choice of how to respond: to observe, to pray, to wait, to listen, to speak up, to react, to plan, to control, to participate, to protest...or most likely some combination of these responses. Wherever you fall in the spectrum of the current political and cultural movements, one thing is sure...we are experiencing stress and anxiety personally as well as communally. Our personal self care practices are key to maintain at times like these. For if we let those go, we will burn out, loose touch with our core inner wisdom and lack clarity in how to be supported, and to love others and lend healing in this fractured time.
Self care practices are not self-indulgent, they are essential in order to bring our best selves to all our relationships and spheres of influence where we work and live. Developing a rhythm of activity and rest are key to balancing our inner and outer selves. The scope of contemplative practices that I teach and offer in private and group sessions include embodied movement and restorative yoga, silence, meditation and prayer. Each of these practices can stand alone or be combined in a daily practice to help alleviate stress, anxiety, fatigue, pain and suffering built up in the body and renew cellular balance as well as emotional, mental and spiritual restoration.
Over the last four months, I have experienced a lot of changes in my own life. My Mom, 83 years old, has COPD and is experiencing persistent pneumonia which has significantly changed her life. As her lungs have weakened she has lost much of her independence and I have been navigating these changes with her. This has required a lot of time and I have cut back on my private practice in order to help her make these changes in her life. Her health seems to be stabilizing but she needs 24-hr assistance and is now living in a personal care home. I will continue to help her make this transition as smoothly and easily as possible.
As with any significant life changes, my own personal care practices gradually slipped over time and I could feel my anxiety building and my body aching!. Fortunately, my awesome husband encouraged me to get away for a retreat. I was able to get away for three days at The Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center in Pulaski PA. It is a beautiful campus and space for me to rest, practice yoga, meditate and worship with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. I felt refreshed and reconnected with God. It was important space in my life to be able to sit with the Lord and discern how God might be directing me in my work and life. One outcome that I am continuing to ponder is integrating more of the contemplative practices with clients and groups. I look forward to developing this aspect of my work. If you have questions, and/or interest in developing your own contemplative practices, let me know what your interests are!