Vacation Bonus: Hearing Your True Self

When Don—my husband—and I got home from the Grand Canyon, I began writing my book, Trail to My True Self. We had a day or two to just veg before going back to our regular job lives. I remember sitting on the blue couch in our dining room-turned-den with a spiral bound notebook busily jotting down the insights I had on that first hike down into the Grand Canyon.

But something was different. I wasn’t just journaling, as I did on a pretty regular basis. I was writing a story. I hadn’t planned to write a story. It just sort of flowed out of me onto the paper. I was taken aback because I didn’t write stories…ever. I was a practical writer. Writing was my tool to help me solve my problems or a method to vent frustrations. I didn’t even like writing. In college, I had a semsester of required Creative Writing 101. Ugh, I hated every minute of it. So what was up with this story that was flowing out of me? Even though I had just lived what was coming out onto the page, I found myself curious and eager to read what would happen next, as if I was the reader rather than the writer. When I read it afterwards I thought, Wow, that sounds really neat, like part of a book. And so, the beginning—or what I thought at the time was the beginning, but turned out to be Chapter Two—of my book was in ink.

I’ve never written again quite in that fashion, wondering what words would come out next. I didn’t know on that day I would be starting a book that I would publish almost ten years later. I just sat on the blue couch in a relaxed, post-vacation mode and wrote what I had learned about myself on vacation.

You never know what could come from vacation or relaxation time. Really, the point is to make it a priority to care for and listen to yourself. To have some down time—even a few minutes with no errands, schedules, or must-do’s—when you can hear the cool story your true self is communicating to you. It may not be a book, but no doubt it’s some very valuable information.

If interested, you can read my story from the Grand Canyon here.  🙂


Maintaining Self-Worth

Now that we’ve gone through numerous ways to increase our self-worth, what happens when we don’t keep up with the practice or the ego has off-putting comments?  The other day, for instance, my ego said, ‘You are not good at this because you have to keep doing it every day.’  That got me down at first, but then I realized these interesting analogies with eating and exercising:

We don’t eat everything for the week on Monday and then say, I’m good to go for the rest of the week.  Obviously, to be in good health we need to eat every day.  The other analogy is regarding exercising.  Even when peak physical condition is reached (analogous to having high self-worth), such as for those that win marathons and Ironman races, they don’t say, ‘I reached physical perfection and I’ll just stay here now and not workout ever again’.  No, every day they must maintain their peak condition.

So the same goes with maintaining our self-worth.  We must think kind, loving thoughts about ourselves and acknowledge our strengths and affirm our talents every day.   Because we need to do this practice every day does not make us weak or wrong or unworthy.  Just as we aren’t weak or wrong because we need to eat every day, it simply is how being human works. And if we go a day without eating -whatever the reason- of course we wouldn’t berate ourselves.  We simply would begin eating again as soon as possible.  The same goes for maintaining our self-worth.  If we miss a day (or 2 or 30!) –whatever the reason- we simply begin again as soon as possible.

I have noticed that when I get in these not-loving-myself ruts, it is when my life is hectic (physically or mentally) and I have not taken time for myself.  I am reminded that no matter how busy we are, no matter what devastating crisis has come up, if we want to be joyful we must take time to just “be”.

Yep, I’m talking about meditation.  But that word can be somewhat daunting.  I used to think I had to meditate for a certain amount of time, two times a day, in a specific way – for example, with candles lit, specific type of music, fingers touching in a certain way, sitting with my back perfectly straight.  Guess what happened when I thought that…not much because I rarely would do it!  I realized intuitively that one minute of focusing on breathing is meditation. So rather than tell myself to meditate, I like to just say I am doing some deep breathing or being still (mentally) for a few minutes.

What happens when we are mentally still (usually during but sometimes not until afterwards) is that we feel calmer; we feel the connection to something bigger than ourselves; a connection to the Source from which we came; we are able to see the Forest for the trees.  With this, our ego worries and fears drift off.  This is not something that can be quantified or proven through the senses to satisfy the ego.  But it can be felt.  Give it a try today!