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Why is it that we know it is important for us and often times don’t do it or struggle with the practice of Self Care? Many of us care for a number of others in our work, our families, our communities and don’t consider what we need to stay well. An interesting tidbit: The American Holistic Medical Association presented at their September conference that ‘self-care is the new primary care’. It is up to each of us to manage and invest in our sustainable well being. How might it be to begin my day with the inquiry: What most serves me today? What most serves me today? Wow.
I close my eyes, feeling and dreaming into the yummy-ness of this curiosity. I feel a warm spaciousness inside myself…a slowing down of my attention, my breath, and my inner tempo. The center of my chest softens, warms and expands. My spine roots into Earth and grows longer, shoulders drop, neck soft but long and the top of my head tingles as it opens to Sky. All the while I feel breath easily entering and exiting my body.
I am taken to a dream figure who first appeared to me a couple of weeks ago…a young pre-teen panther who had cheetah spots on the lower half of his body and emerging blackness along the spine, head, top of hips and shoulders. He has been attached by a bullying creature and threatened. I have intervened and wacked the attacker away while the panther looks shocked, meek and skulks away to hide. I work with this image and understand it is related to feeling this same bullying energy from a character in my work life.
A week after this dream figure showed up he returned to me in meditation. Now he shows me he is safe, warm, self-soothing. He tends to himself, licking paws, cleaning face, ears, slow, soft, sweet and growing in strength and maturity. This image directs me to do the same. Go slow, be gentle, tend to self…gather, gather, gather, and be still.
Today he returns to me as I invite: What most serves me today? I see him sitting up, tall, almost fully black with only a tan under belly. He has grown in strength and maturity again. He is gathering strength, his tail swishes rhythmically as I hear him breath with a guttural almost-purr. In short time he will be ready to pounce, to stride long and strong, to embody his primal response against any bully, any threat. As I write this I feel excitement stirring in my heart and belly – I sit in this tension of opposites – letting the excitement, the impetus to act be held within the gathering strength of my strong spine, soft throat and growing potency.
Today I will practice embodying this image, these energies, this growing certainty and power. Tomorrow? I may pounce! I wonder what your journey of Self-Care and inquiry might bring you today?
Shannon Simonelli Ph.D., ATR is the co-founder of the NeuroImaginal Institute, the founder of RemedyWave classes and workshops and a lead facilitator with Healer Within Retreats. . She integrates therapeutic yoga, dance, movement, art, guided journeywork, the imagination, embodied awareness, belief shifting strategies, ritual, eco and spiritual psychology in her work. She has been writing since adolescents.