Ten things to nurture your soul
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
What makes you come alive? What brings you deep and lasting happiness? Today, I’m sharing with you my top ten practices for coming back more deeply home to myself. I hope they serve and inspire you to connect more intimately with your inner core too. Pick one or more and see which ones work best for you.
1.) Solitude. This one is huge for me. I have a huge need for alone time. I relish in my own company. It gives me time to reflect and digest all that's coming into my experience. Living in a tiny studio with my beloved and working from home can make me feel deprived of solitude without remembering what's missing. Then I need to take refuge in nature, escape on a long walk in Prospect Park or travel upstate into the woods. Even spending an hour a day alone is worth gold. It can be your morning run or writing in your journal in a cafe after work. Making alone time a priority can cause a huge increase in your overall happiness.
2.) Spaciousness. Somewhere between email, work, and social commitments, our Google calendars have become like Macy’s on Cyber Monday: cluttered, crowded, and overwhelming. We're told that over-scheduling, being constantly “on” and available 24/7 will lead to success. I think it's a disease. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) turns us into frantic hamsters on an endless treadmill. To give myself more spaciousness, I deleted all social media apps from my phone. I even waved goodbye to Instagram. (Tough, but liberating!) It gives me much-needed headspace. I appreciate being more present with myself and the people around me. In real life.
3.) Silence. Noise is all around in New York City. Yet last night, I escaped: I went to a silent church service. Meditative singing and silent prayer. My heart opened an inch wider. Just like solitude, silence is something we usually ignore. I love to unplug completely and make space for silence. No music, no alerts, just silence. It feels like a huge stress relief. Sometimes I even walk around with earplugs. It really helps me to calm down my highly sensitive nervous system. Sitting in silence, just being, can bring the biggest breakthroughs and creative insights. It makes room for the divine to come through and lead us forward.
4.) Simplicity. Confession: I’m a decluttering addict. I carefully curate which people, things, and activities I want in my life. I’m a huge fan of minimalism. It helps me to focus on what matters most. Keeping it simple means doing only one thing at a time. No multi-tasking. One goal at a time. One project. One new habit. No more than four or five simple commitments. Mine are reading, writing, meditating, exercising, and spending time with my friends and family. Editing my inbox to empty each day. And so on. For more inspiration on Simplicity, read Leo Barbuda's book The Power Of Less and his blog Zen Habits.
5.) Surrender. Somehow surrender got a bad rep. Some think it's a sign of weakness. Like giving up. I believe it means living in trust and alignment with spirit. Knowing that the universe has got your back. It means living “Thy Will Be Done.” It's about letting go of control and trusting that something greater can do the job much better than we can from our egos. It's scary and it requires trust. But once we practice it, we experience greater flow in life. Especially when challenges arise and we want to go back to controlling life, it's a good idea to step aside and surrender. To learn more, read The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. A true page-turner.
6.) Self-Love. There are multiple aspects of self-love, and it’s too big a subject to go in-depth here. But loving ourselves unconditionally is hard. It requires us to remember our inherent worthiness of who we really are. That we are worthy of love just because we are here. Not because of what we do. Most of us have internalized the voice of our Inner Critics. As long as we believe its self-defeating messages, we're lost. It’s a good idea to pay attention to our thoughts. What are the messages? Are they really true? Questions like "What would a person who completely loves herself do right now?" or "What would taking really good care of myself look like right now?" can be helpful to stir your thinking in a new direction. I've also established daily rituals of self-care, such as yoga, journaling, and meditation, to build a solid connection to my inner being and to my own light.
7.) Sisterhood. When we're in an intimate relationship, we can easily get absorbed in it. We forget to nurture friendships with other women. Yet these connections are vital for our health and happiness. Many of us have a hard time trusting other women, and there's a lot competition going on. We're not only hard on ourselves, we’re also hard on each other. It's time to heal that collective trauma. Madeleine Albright said: "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." Let's start to support each other. Tend and befriend is the true nature of the feminine. Make time with girlfriends a priority. Not only will it nurture you, it will also help you create more passion and polarity in your intimate relationship.
8.) Selfless Service. We can't be in a bad mood and helping someone else. It's a great practice to get the attention off of ourselves and our daily petty dramas, and just be there for another being. That's one of the reasons I love coaching so much. When I'm totally present with someone, watching their world transform, I disappear. My habitual thoughts stop and my intuition takes over. Plus, it makes me really happy to help change someone's life for the better. Or giving my man a shoulder rub after work, or just picking up trash in the street. Random acts of kindness, being in service to the greater good, adds a deeper meaning to life. We become happier when we contribute to other's happiness. Give what you wish to receive yourself.
9.) Sacred Sex. Sex can be a form of worship. A devotional practice. It can bring us closer to God. I always feel blissfully soft in my body after practicing sexual yoga with my beloved. When you take away the goal of the traditional peak orgasm, just being totally present with each other, sex becomes prayer. You can schedule weekly date-nights with yourself or a partner. That’s especially important in long-term relationships where sex becomes less of a priority. Set aside 2-3 hours to go deep with each other. Create a beautiful, sacred space. Stay in silence, don’t talk. Gaze into each other’s eyes and set an intention to let your body lead the way. For more inspiration on the subject, read David Deida's brilliant book Finding God Through Sex.
10.) The Sea. I love, love, love the sea. Whether it’s long walks on the beach, sunbathing in the summer, or diving into the waves. Being by the ocean makes me feel at home. It relaxes my brain and helps me come back to myself. I remember how small we are compared to the vastness of the ocean. How little our daily dramas matter. It’s like gazing at the night-sky. It gives us perspective. It reconnects us to life itself. The color blue also calms down our nervous systems, and the soothing sounds of the waves remind us of lullabies from childhood.