Radical Self-Care has been coming up again and again as I work with people. This is a rich, meaningful topic, and I want to share some practices and inquiry questions with you that invite deep Radical Self-Care into your daily life. These practices and inquiry questions invite Radical Self-Care to become a lived part of your experience rather than something that remains up on a shelf in your mind as a nice concept.
There is a deep belief that many of us carry, a half submerged, hiding-in-the-depths-of-subconscious belief that says "I don't deserve self care."
This belief, when sat with patiently and really listened to often reveals itself as a hurt child, a little one that has lived inside of us for decades with unkempt hair, bruises on their face, in a little scrabbled-out hovel with a pile of filthy threadbare blankets for comfort.
This little one is the energetic form of the belief that "I don't deserve self care." Seeing these little ones for the first time can break your heart open, or cause you to pull back in fear or revulsion. All reactions are OK.
One way to access this little one inside of yourself is to listen to exactly how the thought "I don't deserves self care" sounds. What is the actual sound of the thought as you hear it in your head? What is the energy of it, the emotion of it? With sincere listening to the way the thought is said in your mind the little one will often appear.
Sometimes the little one will appear as a child, a baby, or a teenager, and sometimes as another entity - a stone, a monster, or cartoon creature. All will have the unifying element of being personified, and all will convey a vast amount of information in their very form, the essence of their physicality, in their eyes, in how they look at you or don't.
All of the information they hold is there for you to discover, but beware of any pushing or insincerity on your part. These little ones yield to honest listening, to a true willingness on your part to really hear how they are doing, to what their world is like. They are just waiting to he heard, and will wait for you for eternity.
There is a lot more to say an know about how to be with these little ones. It is an area of inner work that I am drawn to. I will write about that more at another time.
Right now I want to talk about a line of inquiry questions born from past dialogues with the little ones. Dialogues that I have entered into with my own little ones, as well as dialogues I have facilitated between clients and their little ones.
This line of inquiry uses what I call Heart Inquiry Questions. These questions are asked of your own heart, with your hand or hands place over your heart. As with any type of inquiry question you ask the question and then simply listen. In a Heart Inquiry you listen of the actual felt place right between your hand and heart.
So first take a moment to put your hand or hands over your heart and connect with the feeling there. Then ask:
What is the absolute most loving this I could possibly do for myself right now?
Ask this, and then just listen, listen to the place right between your hand and heart. Sense into it. The answer is there in the quiet.
This question can be asked on the fly. It can be asked when you are devastated, when you are exhausted, when you are at your wits end. It can be asked in the middle of a calm, peaceful meditation. It can be asked of this moment, right now. And it can be asked of a day, a week, or a year.
A beautiful, effective way to explore this question is as follows. With your hand on your heart say
"Show me, show me what a day (a week, a year) would look like where I hold self-care as a guiding value. Show me what it would look like if I was devoted to deep self-care, and allowed that to guide and inform all of my decisions, to infuse my life."
And then just sit with that. Allow yourself to be shown what that would look like, what that life would be like. Let some people arrive in your mind's eye. Maybe your family, maybe friends, co-workers. How do you relate to them? How do you treat them when this beautiful deep devotion to self-care is informing your decisions, you actions? What happens there?
Now, once you have explored that thoroughly, explore the opposite world. With your hand on your heart ask
"Show me, show me what a day (a week, a year) would look like where I completely dismiss self-care. Show me what it would look like if I relegated self-care to the least important thing, if I never allowed any self-care to come though into my daily life, actions, or decisions. Show me what that would look like."
And then just sit in that. Let your heart really show you what that life would be like. Notice how you treat other people in that life.
After you have explore that world, that life, come back to the question
What is the absolute most loving this I could possibly do for myself right now?
And let your heart guide you. It knows, the heart knows how to bring radical self-care into your life, and if you listen, you will hear. Trust what you hear, and take that incredibly brave step and begin to act on what you hear.
I had such a beautiful meditation this morning. I asked to be show anything I needed to know about the upcoming Immersion into the Heart of Listening Retreat at Light on the Hill.
I often use this sort of inquiry question for guidance. The wording basically goes something like this:
"show me, what am I ready to see, what am I ready to know about ...... " and then fill in the blank with whatever is close to your heart.
And then the indication is to just sit in that question, listening to the quiet wild unknown all around you, listening to your inner most heart-of-hearts.
This morning I did this inquiry for guidance about the retreat. I was shown a ring of beings sitting in a circle, holding a deep listening together. There was some sort of mysterious portal open within the circle, a pool of spiraling luminosity created by the sincere intention and listening of the beings. The stuff of the portal and the stuff of the beings were in essence the same, a beautiful mysterious swirling of light and deep dark.
This is the sacred gentle power of sitting in retreat with beings that are willing, that have a calling to sit deeply and quietly in their own hearts, listening for the voice of the Beloved. I invite you here.
Love and peace to you,
~ A Three Day Retreat at Light on the Hill, September 20th to 23rd. Details here. (Credit for Certification Candidates available.)
Good Morning Fellow Travelers of Earth,
Last week I sat on the porch under the silent soaring moon. I had just finished a walk up the big hill out behind my house, the moonrise vast and terrible in its beauty, when a belief reared its familiar visage, Hydra heads and tentacles undulating, inviting me to look again at its intricate form.
This familiar, lived-long-by-my-side belief is thus..."There are things I actually really have to figure out. "
Right!? I mean...right!!?? Part of me screams 'of COURSE there are things I really actually have to figure out!!! It is sacrilegious to even entertain the possibility that this could be questioned! "
Is that true? There are things I actually really have to figure out?
No. The thick fabric of the night swelled up and around me and took me in as its own. Crickets, bullfrogs, the neighbors dogs, a thrumming fabric, rich and moving. I sat in that river of sound and life and began to drop into a deep immensely silent space beneath it.
And as I sat there I saw that this river of life is always coursing around us, beautiful, complete, intelligent, flowing above a stillness and silence immeasurably vast. Usually we pucker up and contract into ourselves by believing things like "There are things I actually really have to figure out." Do you feel that? Just writing the belief tightened me up, actually puckered me up from the root chakera to the crown, separating me, closing me down, making me sad and alone.
And that's question 3 of The Work - how I react and what happens when I believe "There are things I actually really have to figure out." I somehow suck myself energetically up and out of the living silence present everywhere. I'm suddenly tight, alone, separate. There is a sudden complete reliance on my mind, and it is frightening. I can feel the energy of thinking actually swirl up through my body and into my head. Everything around me is an object to be used. The entire vibrating night becomes something to be used by me for my survival, and my mind is caught in scanning and hunting for what best to use. A hard lonely world of objectification.
And then back to question 4 of The Work - what am I with out the thought There are things I actually really have to figure out?
I release all over my body. I feel myself weave into the backdrop of life. My eyes open and I see things with wonder, the hard calculating predator is gone from behind my eyes.
There are some beliefs that come back for you again and again, dancing you home. This is one of mine.
And....two upcoming events, the first completely FREE -
~Inquiry Circle Friday August 10th from 6:16 to 8:15p.m.. Please email me for directions . Let's delve into listening together ❤.
~ A Three Day Retreat at Light on the Hill, September 20th to 23rd. Detailshere. (Credit for Certification Candidates available.)