by Holly Keich
There are times when life spins furiously around you, leaving you breathless, confused and disoriented. This is one of those times. Converging around me are a variety of storms, some self-created dramas and some mere perceptions of a false reality perpetuated by a vengeance for directing my thoughts towards what calamities the future may hold. Some storms are grounded in feelings of loss for friends and family no longer with us this holiday season. Mostly though they are all created by a world beyond my control.
And so, here I find myself either being swept away in the chaos, or alternately, instinctively knowing there is another option – the option to remain centered, calm and peaceful in the eye of the hurricane that swirls around me. It’s a familiar option. Having practiced yoga for nearly a decade now, I understand the power of calming the mind, remaining still until the thoughts settle. Some days it’s harder than others.
In this instance, I feel a stronger power guiding me to settle. As I sit typing, I realize that the sun is still shining, the sky remains blue and there are many gifts surrounding me. Each evening I am able to lay with my children, reading them a story, talking about their day and making heartfelt connections that will turn into fond memories. I have a warm, albeit cluttered home, that provides me shelter from the brisk cold winds of winter. And my refrigerator is overflowing with food, even if some of it is rotting in the “crisper”.
These realizations bring the awareness that life is neither good nor bad, it just is. My thoughts are what offer the judgment of contentment or chaos, just as my actions can offer kindness or contention. When I listen closely in the stillness of the eye of the hurricane, I hear not only the howl of the winds around me, but also the cries for more kindness and the pleas for contentment. The world and I are not separate in this moment, but are one entity crying from within for peace.
This veil of separation allows us to distance ourselves, protect and defend what is ours and rally against the “other.” But at the heart of it all we are all one, we have more similarities than differences, we are all seeking appreciation, kindness and love. In our moments of disorientation, we believe love must come from outside of ourselves to fill our empty hearts. It is in these moments that we forget we are one with the “other”, that we combined are love in its’ truest form.
It is not an outside force that allows us to love ourselves more. There is no more than we need to do than to look inside to find peace. Because it’s not a break through or a break down that’s needed. It is about loving yourself here and now in the darkness and chaos of the storm of life that matters most.
So how do we find kindness for ourselves in the midst of the storm? Gently, my friend. Know that you are valuable and deserve kindness. When we feel valuable, we feel strong enough to ask for what we need, even from ourselves. The more we ask for what we need, the more likely we are to get it.
Take the time to sit down to think of a list of basic, simple acts that bring joy to your heart. Did you know that Random Acts of Kindness apply to yourself too? When we are able to apply self-love and self-care regularly, our cup will eventually overflow and those joyful feelings will ripple out to others calming the storms that impact our lives. Below I’ve shared some ideas to get us started. I’d love to hear your ideas too and how implementing them has changed your perceptions of the world.
- Take a hot bath with some Epsom salts and essential oils. Why not throw in some candles and relaxing music too?
- Go for a walk to your favorite park or even just a walk around the block. You could even join Hike it Baby and meet a few new friends at their next outing.
- Special Treats. What’s something that makes you smile? Keep a drawer full of treats like chocolates, candles, cards, tea or coffee that you can explore when you need a little self-love. Or savor a small indulgence by making an impulse purchase of flowers or other treat for yourself.
- Schedule a massage, reiki or check out Dissolve Float Spa for a new relaxing sensation.
- Write yourself a love note to be opened later. This could be tucked into your special treats drawer too. You can make it short & sweet with a quote or mantra or a long love letter that goes into great detail about all your wonderful qualities.
- Paint a Picture even if you can’t paint. Don’t worry about the final project. Enjoy the experience. Expressive Art Inspirations has some ideas to get you started.
- Dress to Impress only You.
- Say Goodbye to your inner critic and Say I Love You!
- Sleep In.
- Laugh, no really…Laugh like you haven’t in years.
Holly Keich is the owner of Om Baby Pregnancy & Parenting Center in Camp Hill. She is a Licensed Social Worker, Yoga Instructor, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Parent, Wife and adamant learner in the school of life.