Musings on self care and the practice of retreating.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to really take care of yourself.  First up-- the basics, like eating proper meals, showering and getting a good sleep, but also the bigger picture stuff like nourishing your heart and soul!

What activities are you doing when you feel totally in your element as the beautiful powerful human you are?

Sometimes we know the answers to these questions, sometimes we don’t, as our needs and passions change overtime, so it’s worth checking back in. And even when we do know the answer, do we go after it?  On this level, and on a basic level, I’m noticing the practice of self-care is extremely challenging for many people I know and love, including myself!

So let me ask you-- Do you look after yourself as much as you would like to? Or do you find yourself skipping meals, lacking in commitment to find solutions to your physical ailments or sleep problems? Do you push the chance for personal relaxation out of your day in favour of something you need to do for someone else?

Myself— I go back and forth from a dedicated self-care routine, to days like last Tuesday where I had too much coffee and ate only peanut butter on toast until a late 9pm dinner! By the end of the day I was wrecked, perhaps some of you noticed in class I was not my normal self? And of course it was a symptom of a busy day where I didn’t have time to eat properly. What a rubbish excuse that is, and yet, it’s a common reason people don’t look after themselves.

So, how can we busy modern humans juggle our commitments (jobs, kids, social life, partners etc) while creating space in each day for compassionate self care without feeling indulgent and selfish?

Here's are three steps, which I think can help move us in the right direction!

#1 LOVE and VALUE yourself so much that you have the courage to make yourself priority! This could mean saying “NO” more often to requests from others and saying “YES” more to the things that make your heart sing!

#2 Schedule self-care time, put it in your calendar and commit to it!

#3 Imagine self-care as a your responsibility. This body/mind was given to you, for a lifetime. What a GIFT! When we look after ourselves we can be more clear, present and available for others in our lives and start to make a positive impact wherever we go!I find that scheduling time for myself is necessary to create a habit out of self-care. I’m starting to do this each week—whether it’s my half hour dedicated reading time in the mornings (before my son wakes up); or taking 10minutes to have a quiet cup of tea (without looking at my phone); listening to inspiring podcasts while I drive or pulling out my yoga mat (after my son is in bed) to do some restorative poses to help me get a good nights sleep. These little practices that nourish my body, mind and spirit are starting to become a ritual for me, the more I do them the more closer I get towards making self care habitual, a fixed part of my life.

Do you have self-care habits/ routine? Please share in the comments field- I’d love to hear what is working for you!
 


Now, here is the bit I'm super excited to share with you all! In thinking about the importance of self care habits and the practice of nourishing the heart and soul I’ve been led to create Mid Winter Muse – a multi-day women’s yoga and meditation retreat; a chance to get out of the city and away from the screens to tend to our roots; relax, restore and rejuvenate.

 

Humans have been retreating to restore and nourish the spirit for as long as we have walked this earth. By scheduling an occasional interruption from regular work life we provide the mind an opportunity to recalibrate, integrating recent learning and through meditation practice we can create mental white space to encourage the emergence of fresh ideas, new perspectives and creativity. Aboriginal Australians have ‘walkabout’ as a cultural rite of passage (for adolescent males) where they disappear into the wilderness for up to six months undertaking various explorations on their own. The Sufi practice of Khalwa involves shutting out the world for 40 days in devoted service to the divine “Allah”, which reconnects them to their purpose. Then there’s the Buddhist practice of retreating to remote places, often in silence for multiple days (Vipassana) and even in pitch darkness to reconnect with essential nature of the self. Retreating has become popular in west for it’s very practical benefits on the body/mind, you don’t need to be religious to benefit from a ‘spiritual’ retreat because ultimately, we ALL want to be happy and free.


The Mid Winter Muse retreat is going to be a good balance of total relaxation mixed in with 2x daily yoga workshops and 1x daily guided meditation. The venue is in the Upper Blue Mountains, over looking Kanimbla Valley—and it is SPECTACULAR! I visited last Thursday with my dear friend Lizzie (who will be cooking her delicious food for the retreat) and we fell in love with the place! It's surrounded by thick bush and 10min walk from breathtaking clifftop views. The architect designed eco cottages where we will sleep are a beautiful balance between ‘weekend away luxury’ and cozy cottage charm. Read more about Mid Winter Muse- women's yoga and mediation retreat.

True to Shambhala style-- the weekend is planned out as a journey—we’ll unwind, relax, go deep in to nourishing and restoring our body mind and spirit and from there we’ll blossom in to our power and potential! And in keeping with Shambhala’s boutique feel, we'll only be taking 14 people away with us, so you'll get to meet some like-minded folks and share in a really special and potentially transformational weekend away.

In love and service,

Kate