by Toni Steenson, Coraki, Australia
I recently attended a group presentation for women (and men if they chose to come), where many things were discussed, but one thing I found really potent was; what it means to deeply nurture oneself, and how this may look.
I had heard of the idea of nurturing oneself before, and then basically I had created a list from past experiences of things that were nurturing e.g. having a bath, going to bed early, preparing a loving meal, taking time to get ready for my day, doing my hair or nails, watching a movie etc. Where I had gone wrong with this was: I saw times when I needed to deeply nurture myself because I had a bad day and required some support to come back to myself, or alternatively if I had had a brilliant day and wanted to do something nurturing to confirm this feeling. When I had felt these times arise, I would have gone to the mental list I had created in my head and just performed one of these activities without really feeling if that was what would support me in the confirming / coming back to me process. And if I had not felt like doing anything on my so-called ‘self-nurturing’ list, I would almost berate myself for not caring or wanting to support myself.
The idea had been introduced to me at the women’s meeting that I know how to be deeply nurturing from my own experiences; what may be considered to be nurturing for myself in one situation may not be in the next. An activity may offer relief, which sounds great, but in my experience relief only masks what I am feeling by adding a ‘feel good’ feeling on top of what I am feeling, so it does not take long for the exact same stress or tension to seep through. Whereas the coming back to myself involves the process of feeling where I am at, then recognising and accepting how this came to be – and then choosing to reconnect and be with the feeling I know to be me.
So I can see it is really important to always feel if something is deeply nurturing, meaning it supports me to bring me back or confirms me in my amazingness; the gorgeous feelings I feel in my body when I am living in harmony with myself – or is it just an idea from my mental list of what I think is nurturing? I may think a bath is deeply nurturing, but do I feel to have a bath by candle light with incense, or in some other way: or, would a bath at this stage only offer me relief?… Or do I actually feel like lying down and just feeling my body while reflecting on my day.
So yes, there is always a mental list of possible activities I can do that I know from past experience can support me in the confirming of or reconnecting to myself, which I can refer to if I have let myself go so far I cannot feel what will specifically work at that time, but I now know that what it takes to deeply honour and nurture myself comes from within, and from this place I will get quite a precise way of going about this that will truly hold me.