Some months, for one reason or another, I can’t come up with a blog subject. I don’t have a huge audience, so it’s likely not a big deal for me to skip a month or two (or stop writing them altogether!), but when it comes down to it, I don’t just write the blogs for my followers, but for me, as well, as a type of “sadhana” – a spiritual practice or discipline. I have a recurring reminder on my calendar to pop up a sadhana every day at 10AM, but, honestly, most days I just swipe it away – “too busy” doing other things. Every time I do that, though, I deprive myself of a bit of writing, or a sketch, or a few moments of meditation, or other scrap of self-care for the day. I fail to put myself first. Writing a blog makes it happen at least once per month.
As I pondered over what might be a good subject for this month, I realized that I haven’t written a post about my Bones in quite a while. So I went to my Bone basket, opened it, and asked the Ancestors what would benefit my readers. And, immediately, it wasn’t just one Bone that caught my eye, but several, with a commonality – an emphasis on self-love. Brilliant as always, my guides and kin were saying – many people see a sea of hearts and flowers decorating everything in February. They think of sweethearts bringing them candy and other gifts. They think of love from a significant other (or a keen sting if they haven’t yet found one of their own). They forget that love of others starts with love of self.
At the beginning of 2022 – as Covid was loosening its grip at last – I wrote a blog about self-care, from the perspective of standing up for ourselves and saying no when we mean it. This is Muskrat energy, as symbolized by my muskrat jawbone. I mentioned some of the other self-care bones, knowing that I’d get to them one day. My Ancestors say that day has arrived.
When I think of self-care, I think of yin energy – dark, moist, quiet, emotion, rest, peace, breath, female. I almost included the female bone – small cowrie shell – in the featured photo. But then I realized that yin energy is of course not exclusively associated with the female. Males need yin energy as much as females need yang energy (NOTE: please excuse my use of the terms “male” and “female.” I do realize that not everyone fits into a “binary” box – I’m just using the words as shorthand for yin and yang energies, as has been done across millennia). We should each strive for a balance of yin and yang in our lives. But some of us live in cultures that prize one of these states of being as relating to others and ourselves. There may be a judgment of one or the other energy being “better” than the other, or more powerful or desirable. Not so – not by a longshot. The lack of balance causes much suffering to many people. In the sense of keeping that balance, we should all consider ourselves “nonbinary,” and strive for integration.
Let’s begin our explanation of the self-care Bones with the most obvious – the rose quartz heart, symbol of self-love. I love this tiny little being. It is one of the few Bones that I bought specifically for inclusion into my set, since it had such a sweet, gentle energy. It just exudes calm and love. We often think of hearts as symbols of romantic love – the energy between partners. But we seldom place ourselves on the list of important people in our lives. If we don’t love ourselves, and, most importantly, view ourselves as deserving of love from others, we will never find the love that is meant for us in this lifetime. In my work as a Twin Flame Manifestation Coach, the very first thing I do is help my clients understand how they feel about themselves, and why. If we see ourselves as (fill in negative self-description here), we will tend to attract partners who are looking to exploit that lack of self-care, self-love, and self-respect. Selfish and/or narcissistic people are drawn to those who see themselves as unworthy of kind and decent treatment. It leaves us vulnerable to others who get pleasure from dominating and marginalizing us. It’s a recipe for suffering. Rose quartz is a stone of self-love. Its energy is soft, pure and gentle, and helps us to see ourselves as worthy of love, from ourselves and others. If you have had a traumatic childhood or experience that has left you unable to love yourself, wear a rose quartz or carry one in your pocket, and see if its energy begins to help you feel better about yourself.
The lamb is a symbol of softness and comfort. It’s about feeling comfortable in your surroundings, and having a safe place that you call home (or, if home isn’t a place that you always feel safe, in another place – even in your heart – where you can feel comfortable until you are able to find a feeling of safety). Sometimes this is as easy as changing the décor in your surroundings to reflect a soft, warm and welcoming space. It may even start in just one room, or one comfy chair if that’s all you have. Ask yourself what makes you feel warm, happy and loved, and surround yourself with it. It may be pictures for your wall or your screen-saver; or furnishings and accents that are literally warm, soft and comfortable, such as a cushy couch or a quilt; or any small trinket, knickknack or item of every day use that makes you feel good. I have a “favorite” everything – plates, spoons, mugs, pens, socks, underwear – and I use them as often as possible, just to lift my Spirits and remind me that my opinions matter, and that I can give myself what I want in a small way every day.
The turquoise signifies care for your physical body and its well-being. It’s the “health” Bone. If you’re not giving your body the kind of nourishment it needs, be it in the form of food, information, entertainment, sleep, exercise, etc, it will begin to deteriorate. Our bodies are more that just a meat machine that our Spirits ride around in here on Earth. Its health is connected to the way we feel about ourselves, and how we care for ourselves. Aside from environmental causes such as viruses and unsanitary living conditions, many of our ailments have a genetic component (and scientists are now learning that trauma can alter our DNA, which affects not only us, but our offspring and descendants); but I believe that the majority of our dis-ease comes from the strength and composition of our mind-body connection. How we feel emotionally and mentally becomes how we feel physically. Years of stress, sadness, fear, anger, trauma and other negative influences take a toll on our bodies that can eventually lead to serious illness and breakdown. Self-care means paying attention to how what we’re thinking and feeling does to our bodies, as well as keeping it fit, clean, and taking in only as much healthy food as we need.
Gaia is the mother goddess – the place from which all life springs. The Greeks revered her as the personification of our Earth, as well as the mother of not only all life but of the gods, goddesses, and lesser deities and beings. She is the creator of all that exists, and exists as well in everything. In my Bone set, Gaia symbolizes the divine Yin – that place to which we go for refuge and wellness, peace, strength and harmony. She is the bringer of the darkness that gives us quiet and comfort. She allows us to stop acting, in favor of just being. She is the nurturing mother that some of us had, and others have never experienced – the loving comfort of arms around us and a promise of unconditional positive regard. She reminds us how loved we are, and encourages us to find within us the mothering and nurturing we deserve. Love yourself as She loves you.
The abalone shell is all forms of self-love combined in one place. When this bone comes up I encourage my client to stop, drop and roll into a deep, warm sea of whatever makes them feel the most wonderful. For me, I always picture a tub of warm water (preferably with jets), soft bubbles, peaceful music, softly scented candles providing dim light, a glass of red wine, maybe some cheese and chocolate (the good stuff), closed eyes and deep breaths – ahhhhhh…. It may be very different from what you picture, but whatever feeling good, loved, happy is for you – do that. Try for what brings you the ultimate in taking a break from what keeps you busy and constantly moving or plugged in to the sometimes tumultuous world around us, and just relax. I believe it’s the healthiest step any of us take toward ensuring that we live out our years here in comfort, health and well-being.
What have you done lately to take care of yourself? You may choose to start by finding time in every day to take a break – even if it’s just for a moment or two. Set an alarm on your ever-present phone to remind you to close your eyes and breathe deeply for two minutes – set your timer! (you’ll be surprised at how long a time that is). Smile. Step away from your computer. Turn off the tv and/or your phone (you can do it!) and read a book or magazine. Or, if that’s not your style, take in a movie, call some friends over for a party, go to a concert, take a walk in the woods, play with your pet (yes, I do realize that the arrangement in the featured photo looks like a pawprint – I love my furry family members) – whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, there are ways that will make you feel comforted, nurtured and loved. By YOU.