Tell me about your book Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care. What inspired you to write it?
Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care is a guide and workbook that I’ve christened Mindfulness Based Recovery and Rejuvenation. When used intentionally, this program leads the reader out of chaos and suffering into joy and well-being. I believe strongly in alternative health strategies to achieve wellness and wholeness. I feel confident that individuals suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and other distressing symptoms can feel better about themselves and their lives. Experience has taught me they can heal and feel happy again because the human body is wired for joy and health and is designed to self-balance when stressed or challenged. The energy psychology Radiant Energies Balance, Mindfulness, Journaling, and Affirmations are perfect mind-body partners to help seekers achieve balance and well-being.
Being naturally intuitive and growing up with heightened awareness was difficult for me. I visualized and comprehended the spoken and unspoken words of the adults who cared for me. I was loved, and understood my life was different because my mother was young and unmarried. I lived with my grandparents who were, and are still, my emotional anchors. Money was scarce and farm life in rural West Virginia was hard work. My creative and hardworking family members suffered with anxiety and panic disorders, alcoholism, codependence and other addictions. Much emotional pain existed, and I suffered with fear and anxiety through young adulthood.
From a very young age I viewed life as a positive experience and had goals and aspirations for health and well-being that many of my adult family members wanted but never obtained. Luckily I always had someone in my life who loved me enough to keep me growing in a positive direction. It took me years to realize this fact and this realization allowed me to heal. With a little attention, love, and compassion, anyone can heal from the daily emotional ups and downs of life as well as systemic trauma, dysfunction, and chaos. Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care provides a positive way for me to reach out to those who are on a healing journey.
How important are affirmations in practicing self-care?
Positive thought is essential to a happy and balanced life. The more positive we are, the happier our lives can be. When happy, we can love, forgive and reach out to others with compassion and kindness. When we are happy we are rarely judgmental, and we possess the ability to view our mistakes and the mistakes of others as a learning experience. We can move forward without guilt, regret, or disappointment.
Affirmations help us develop and maintain a positive lifestyle. We can create new brain neuropathways with our positive thoughts, and affirmations speed up the process. “Neurons that fire together wire together” illustrates what happens when similar thoughts are repeated over and over again. The neural synapses that are regularly used strengthen their bond and wire together to fire when triggered. The neural synapses that are rarely used are automatically discarded by the brain, leaving the new positive pathways to fire more often. Positive thoughts create neuropathways that respond to current and future positive thoughts, and negative thoughts create neuropathways that respond to negative thoughts.
As long as we have a choice, why not fill our mind with positive thoughts and outcomes. By doing so we create a positive, productive life, one thought at a time.
Positive thoughts also keep positive brain chemicals flowing. They slow down the production and release of the stress hormone cortisol and increase the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps to create overall feelings of wellbeing.
What role does solitude and meditation play in a healthy lifestyle?
Meditation is alive for me as I spend it in quiet communication with my higher self and together with my spiritual family of guides and teachers. The peacefulness is profound.
We all have our own inner formula that leads us to a quiet, deep relaxation, just like we have a favorite position for sleep or a favorite chair for watching TV. While I enjoy walking in a lush green forest with tweeting birds and croaking frogs, it is possible to enter a state of meditation anywhere. It does not have to happen sitting alone under a tree or closed off in a quiet room. I love to stretch out on my couch and fall into a deep and silent meditation, and love a few moments of mediation walking through the airport or waiting in line at the grocery store. The important things is to quiet conscious thought and find a deep inner place where the mind turns off and the deeper part of you awakens and blooms .
The goal of meditation is to make higher awareness a way of life, rather than an event that relaxes and balances you for a few hours.
What location do you find the most soothing and restorative? When you identify the environment that feeds your soul, put yourself in those surroundings as often as possible as they help you develop inner stillness and peacefulness.
Ultimately meditation allows us to get to know who we really are, what we are meant to do in this life, and provides the higher communication necessary to follow our spiritual path.
What is the value in having massages on a regular basis? Are they needful or self-indulgent?
I love massage and make sure I get some kind of body-work on a regular basis. Healing Touch, Reiki, Body Talk, and Chiropractic Kinesiology are wonderful. My daughters and I share a love for reflexology and we make joint appointments for mother-daughter time as well as for our personal self-care. Massage and body-work gets the blood flowing, helps reduce stress and anxiety, loosens sore and stiff muscles, and provide a therapeutic healing touch that is soothing on the emotional and physical levels.
Healing Touch, Reiki, and Body Talk and other similar techniques provide an intentional gentle release process that opens up the flow of bottled-up mental and emotional energy, both positive and negative. The build-up creates uneven energy flow throughout the body, leaving some parts starving and other parts over-energized. Emotional release creates a more balanced energy flow, resulting in our body’s increased ability to stay healthy and well.
If you are in therapy, have a challenging life issue, or are a caregiver for a sick or handicapped loved one, try an appointment with a certificated energy healing professional or a licensed massage therapist. You’ll feel lighter, healthier, and happier. Massage and Body-Work / Energy Healing is a listed category on the Self-Care First! journal pages in the Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care workbook. Each Self-Care First! page begins with “Positive emotional and physical self-care is the most beautiful gift that you can give to yourself and your family.”
Is it possible that self-care has an effect on a person’s level of creativity?
Any artist, whether a painter, designer, photographer, musician, dancer or writer will tell you they are at their best when they feel the art flow from somewhere deep inside. When an artist is in the “zone,” the art takes over. Eventually the artist wakes up and a chapter is written, a new song is born, or the dancer danced the dance, body moving to the music without conscious thought. Conscious thought is absent when an artist is in the midst of a transcendent experience that has fully engaged the mind, body, and soul.
Artists make good energy healing and energy psychology clients because they know the art stems from an internal spring deep within. The internal source that feeds their creativity is the same spring that an energy healer taps in order to flow healing energy. Within the spring is the knowledge of self and the creative power and knowledge of the Universe. Universal wisdom contains the secrets of life and the understanding of the realities of life itself. It teaches us that our answers are already within us. Some of the answers are physically built into our body so our body automatically knows how to balance and heal itself. Our job is to allow the healing process to occur.
Balance and harmony are the keys to creativity. We can’t enjoy them unless we are willing to care for our own health and well-being. We can work hard, but then it is necessary to sleep, to play, or become temporarily lost in meditation, our own internal spring of wisdom. Life is near perfection if our work is also our creativity and our play!
What advice would you give a creative professional on developing a self-care routine to improve their creativity?
- Know what feeds your soul and your creativity and stick with it even if you are criticized.
- Choose self-care routines that protect your ability to do your creative work and also enhance your physical health.
- Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Conscious breathing brings you into the now where you and the “creative flow” find each other.
- Learn how to quiet your mind so your soul can speak through your creativity.
- Don’t be afraid to try tai chi, yoga, qi gong, and walking meditation. These are all great mind-body exercise modalities. They provide the quiet inner space for awareness to bloom; for buried wisdom to surface into the conscious mind. They teach connection to self, life, Creation and Mother Earth, and they strengthen us physically.
- Laugh. It is good emotional and physical exercise!
- Accept yourself as you are. Be comfortable in your own skin. Comfort enhances creativity.
- Get enough sleep and know when to change the pace of your work to accommodate the needs of your physical body.
- Know when you need an environmental change and go to the places that feed your soul.
- Live in process. Your work, your goals, your life are all process endeavors.