Fuck That•5 Ways to Reframe Challenging Times
This month we’re focusing on retreating and turning inward to do deep self work so we can show up in the world more authentically. Retreats can be anything from luxe getaways to a few special moments at the beginning of your day— the unifying thread regardless of how much time, energy, or money you have to spend is the intention of looking inward and getting back to feeling at home within yourself. We’re going to share a full spectrum of ways that we incorporate retreats big and small into our lives.
In this series, Kate brings you along on her journey to healing chronic illness. Health doesn’t have to feel like a burden, an obsession, or be the central feature of our lives. Fuck that. Physical health is crucial groundwork, certainly, but there is so much more.
Bodies can be bridges to minds and souls. Illness nudges us to turn inward and meditate on that connection. I’m starting to view my illness as a sort of forced partial retreat. Since I don’t have the energy to live the life that I’m used to living, I’ve been unwittingly immersed in this scary stillness. I sometimes resent the loss of the version of myself that had superwoman willpower, could be productive throughout any amount of exhaustion, and got to say ‘yes’ to anything that piqued my interest. This uncomfortable stillness, though, has become my unrelenting and cruel, yet righteous teacher. I’m slowly learning to surrender to it, to let it lead my mind places that I would never consciously choose to go. Viewing my journey with illness as a retreat from my ‘normal’ life allows me to look at it from a zoomed out vantage point, which enables me to see the overarching patterns and programming that have directed my life so far.
Here are 5 practices I’ve found helpful to reframe challenging chapters of life as opportunities to turn inward:
1. Get out in nature.
A few weeks ago, I reached a breaking point. I was waking up morning after morning with my heart thumping crazily, I was working too much, and expecting too much of myself for how ill I was feeling. I was angry at myself that I couldn’t function at my normal pace and feeling like I was missing out on life. I got the ping that I needed nature ASAP. That night, I packed a backpack and drove up to Joshua Tree. I spent the better part of the next day lying on a huge boulder, staring into the sky and listening to the lively silence of the nearly empty park. I immediately felt significantly better. Now, I know it’s not always super practical to take spontaneous solo camping trips, but nature is medicine even in small doses. Since that trip, I have been making a concerted effort to give myself mini retreats in nature every day. Lately I have been loving long, slow walks while listening to mantra music or a good podcast.
2. Balance structure and freedom.
I was thinking about what makes retreats feel so restorative, and I came to the conclusion that it is in part due to a balance of structure and freedom. A good retreat provides enough structure to make you feel supported and held while allowing you enough freedom to branch off on your own, not feeling obliged to do any of the day’s scheduled activities. I’ve been working on incorporating this framework into my TBM work and into other areas of my life. For my self-work practice, this means keeping the container of my practice sacred but letting it be filled with whatever I feel called to on a given day. I set aside 45 minutes each morning to do my TBM work. I almost always start with a DI (lately I’ve been loving the Health and Prosperity DI within The Pathway) and then I either journal or do another day of whichever workshop I’m immersed in at the time.
3. Embrace your inner child.
One practice that has been so helpful for me recently has been using the TBM work to nurture my inner child. I am working through Reparent right now using the Integrated Roadmap (available only in The Pathway). In the magnetic family DI, I kept coming back to seeing my current self caring for my younger self. I picture all of my own emotional hang ups and worries as coming from the young version of myself. My perspective immediately shifts from self-judgement to wanting to soothe and help little me. After each day’s DI, I then follow a journal prompt from the Integrated Roadmap.
4. Own your vulnerability..
I went on a weekend retreat last summer that really shifted things for me. It was a retreat based on Native American medicine teachings and spirits. The first day of the retreat, the leader channeled a message from spirit outing the ways in which I hide. In front of the entire group, she had me tell everyone about the pain I was carrying, and I immediately started sobbing. I felt so exposed. What I realize in hindsight, though, is that she was having me out all of my own pain so that I could own it. In the Shadow workshop, one of the steps that Lacy has us go through is to out anything that we feel uncomfortable with so that it can no longer own us. Try outing your shameful aspects in front of people— and reference Day 4 of Shadow to learn how.
5. Nourish your body and mind.
This is one of my go-to tonic recipes lately to nourish my adrenals and support my inner work. It has skullcap and brahmi to support our brains and our connection to intuition, blue green algae to help detox the liver, collagen to soothe the gut, and butyric acid-rich ghee to aid in the absorption of nutrients.