Learning to use my Warrior Weapons and Gentle Tenderness
It was one of those amazing days yesterday…when I stepped into an opportunity to give that gave back to me in all the unexpected ways.
Gregg Potter of Project Kinect asked me to teach a workshop at the 2nd annual Social Change Forum about self care/self love. Boom! It was a HELL YES for me and I was fired up to create an hour long workshop that I would give three times during the day to three different groups of change agents. I’m the queen of love, right?
But wait…there is necessary back story and a timeline here:
2/25 – DreamBank Event
2/26-3/2 – Trip to Guadalajara
3/3 – Social Change Forum
That looks daunting doesn’t it? My husband and I needed to go to Guadalajara to sign paperwork for a recent transaction. The only time we could go, based on our busy schedules, was 2/26 – 3/2. Smack between two speaking gigs for me.
The day after the DreamBank event I was exhausted as we boarded a plane for Mexico. It had been a busy week leading up to our trip but I was still looking forward to our awesome and jam packed trip full of adventures. We got the paperwork signed (had to go back the next day, because that is just how all business transactions go in Mexico) and then we got on a flight back to Madison home Wednesday morning, the day before the Social Change Forum.
Thursday morning, I was little girl excited as I arrived to the Social Change Forum to teach about self love and self care.
During the workshop we went over the WHY and importance of self love/self care.
– The intellectual knowledge that we can’t serve from an empty vessel.
– We can’t authentically love on others when we don’t practice loving on ourselves.
– No one else is going to take care of ourselves except for us.
– If we aren’t healthy in mind, body and spirit, how can we expect to serve others on the road of well being, sustainability and social change?
I asked everyone to get a pen and paper and write about how awesome they are. Love on yourself. If you get stuck, imagine your best friend describing your awesomeness. I lit a candle (non scented for my sensitive people) and let them be quiet and write while we listened to the beautiful song, I am Light, by India Arie. The space was magical.
The exercise wasn’t that easy, but it was powerful. And for those that did find it easy, guilt and shame bubbled up. The exercise felt selfish. I told the story of me learning to be full of myself. Because if we aren’t full of ourselves, who and what are we full of? Yes, it all sinks in, the vicious culture we live in that doesn’t want us to feel like we are enough. That wants us to think we aren’t doing enough. And in the activism world, the cloud that hangs over our head worries that we aren’t making a big enough difference.
How do we take bring the joy back in our life and not be bound by these limiting and false thoughts?
How do we handle criticism (our own self criticism, mostly) and the fear of not being liked when we are standing up in controversy? How do we take care of ourselves to avoid burnout? How do we see the cultural messages and then choose different ones?
Let’s call the bullshit when we see it. Call ourselves out and learn to love on ourselves.
And so we went through a brainstorming and sharing session of the Warrior Weapons and Gentle Tenderness we can use to take care of ourselves, to see things differently, to create experiences that will nurture our souls, feed our spirits and re-energize our active brains and bodies.
We played around with how to say No if it’s not a HELL YES. And what is a HELL YES anyway? We shared trickster tools like meditation secrets, scheduling ideas, learning to notice the triggers and signals to slow down and be gentle. We learned how to quiet the critical voice in our head with some smack talk and sometimes with gentle tenderness.
We gave ourselves permission to zone out with netflix and candy crush. We challenged ourselves not to numb out with netflix and candy crush. Yes, they are both valid. Know yourself. Know when what works isn’t serving you anymore. There is no right formula.
We have to cultivate self awareness in a brilliant and ever changing way.
One drink after a long day may be the perfect way to unwind, no judgment. But for someone else it might be a trigger that will lead to numbing out and hiding from unwanted stress.
Be honest with ourselves. I want to love on me like I would love on my best friend.
And so it was. A wonderful and fun workshop that lit me up in all the sparkly ways. I was happy. And then during the last workshop I felt the exhaustion seep into my bones. I was tired. So freaking tired.
During a debrief after the last workshop, I sat with another one of the presenters and the first thing I said was that the last workshop wasn’t as good as the first two. It was after lunch and everyone, myself included, was tired.
Wait, what?? Yep, I caught myself. After teaching three workshops on self love and self care, the first thing I did was criticize my own work. Do I learn as I teach? Hell yes. Sometimes it is a stubborn habit to break but I was breaking it by catching myself. I was quick to gush to him about all the yummy, juicy and wonderful reasons that the workshops went really well. And I admitted to my exhaustion vs pretending.
Dude this stuff is NOT easy. Keep doing it. It is worth it.
My friend pointed out how wonderful I am at feeding love to people and she eats it up (it’s hard not to love on Dina Nina Martinez). I am able to do that because I feed myself massive amounts of love. And even though I forget sometimes, I know it is a practice and I can smile, and correct myself when I slip.
Today I woke up feeling like a train wreck. Still exhausted, y’all. I’ve pushed myself hard. So I will rest, eat pizza with healthy smoothies, drink water, read, write, do a little work but not too much and take care of me. Today I practice what I teach in hopes of spreading massive love all around me, always.
It’s all about the love, my friends.