What coughing has to do with caring for yourself

Hello Beautiful!

I share a lot about self care and the importance of having a dedicated practice to sustain us in the ebbs and flows of modern womanhood. I’m also aware that it’s really easy to fall into the trap of self-care and daily ritual becoming just another thing on the to-do list…another measuring stick we use to beat ourselves up when we “fall short.”

The thing is, if we keep trying to fit ourselves into a cookie-cutter expression of self-care–doing what we “used” to do or what we think we “should do”we run the risk of doing things just for the sake of doing them. Of moving aimlessly through the motions without leaning into the real reason we practice in the first place: to come back to caring for ourselves in a sustainable and heartfelt way, regardless of what’s going on in our lives.

Ultimately, self-care and ritual are meant to support us in feeling nourished, open, free to be ourselves, unrestricted in our movement, and fully available to connect both with ourselves and with those we love. What’s more, self-care is something we can practice at any moment. I’ll share with you one example of this, and as you read, I invite you to consider how whatever resonates here might support you in your own life:

A few weeks ago I was in session with a client who was wanting to create a shift around her relationship to self-care. She longed to cultivate a way of being about it that didn’t feel forced, strained, like a “should” or “have to.” As she expressed something really vulnerable about the way self-care had been going for her, she felt a tickle in her throat. She coughed once, and then immediately jumped back into what she had been saying.

In that moment, I invited her to actually hold space for her physical sensation, rather than discounting it in order to keep moving our conversation forward. I invited her to consider that inside that moment of vulnerable self-expression, her body was communicating to her…that the tickle in her throat was a way her body was signaling, “Hey, listen to me for a moment! Be with what’s here.” That it might be powerful to just be with the feelings rather than talking on top of them. As she paused and met the sensation, more coughing came up. There was more there for her than she originally thought, and it wasn’t until she held the space for it that the energy could move through.

As I watched her being with her physical body, her eyes lit up. She dropped into deeper presence. We giggled together. Then she said,  “Oh my goodness, I am starting to really get this! Self-care is what I just did for myself, huh?” I smiled and said, “Yes.” In that moment, self- care looked like giving herself permission to pause, using the clear signal from her body as a way to come into deeper connection with herself and tending to her own needs. In that moment, she actually got the practice of self-care–caring for her Self.

I saw the breakthrough written all across her face. It was like the pressure lifted. The rules she’d been carrying around about what self-care should look like and the ways she’d been beating up on herself about not “following through” on the perfect self-care practice softened. What was left was presence and powerful connection to her body and her center.

And so, back to you. In what ways are you holding onto rules about what self-care “should” look like? Without judgment, consider, how can you release the pressure? How might you be with yourself in a new way inside what you’re creating?

I invite you to really allow space for thoughtful reflection here. What from my client’s story lights you up as a new possibility or access point for yourself in relationship with self care? What’s one new belief or mini action step you’d like to practice integrating into caring for yourself? I’d love to hear!


P.S.  If you’re feeling called to learn how to listen more deeply and feel more in connection with yourself, your unique expression, and how it wants to move through you, then stay tuned for the return of The Expressed Woman day-long retreat on June 8th. I’ll be sharing more details with you, and the way you can sign up, in just about a week from now!

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