Why Nurturing Yourself May Be the Key to Happiness

Did you know that along with food and water, the act of nurturing is one of the building blocks to a healthy brain?

I’ve recently come across some fascinating information in Joseph Chilton Pearce’s book, “The Heart-Mind Matrix” that I wish was common knowledge.  Essentially, Pearce says that the successful development of the human brain is based on nurturing. The brain forms into its most advanced and highest versions when a child is cared for and nurtured with consistency. When we are nurtured, we become the best versions of ourselves

I want to explain this a little more, so please allow me to nerd out for a moment.

A cucumber sprout soaking up warmth from the sun.
A cucumber sprout we’ve nurtured for two weeks, growing and thriving with constant care.

The human brain consists of three major sections which follow our evolution. The first part of the brain that forms is the reptilian brain. This is the part of the brain that is in charge of making sure we are safe in the world. It is purely instinctual and its number one priority is survival at all costs (think a reptile).

The second part of the brain that forms is the mammalian brain, which forms on top of the reptilian brain. The mammalian brain is responsible for allowing an individual to have emotions, memories, and a sense of connection with others (think of how mammals like to cuddle and connect).

The third part of the brain that forms on top of the other two parts is called the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for higher-order reasoning and thinking. The prefrontal cortex allows us to have self-awareness, think about what we are doing, ask questions like “why?” and to have morality. It is fundamentally the part of the brain that makes us human and capable of complex thought and higher order decisions.

Now, where it really gets juicy is that the full formation of the pre-frontal cortex can only happen when a person feels safe and nurtured. If a person isn’t feeling safe and nurtured, the reptilian brain goes into overdrive. When the reptilian brain is at full throttle, the prefrontal cortex can’t develop to its fullest form. The integration of the reptilian brain, mammalian brain, and prefrontal cortex is all dependent on feeling safe and nurtured.

What does this mean? It means can’t step into our highest potential as a logical, moral, evolved human without nurturing.

So many people who grow up in chaotic homes without proper nurturing get stuck in their reptilian brain and can only think about survival. This can lead to chronic anxiety or depression because the brain and nervous system are stuck in survival mode.  Isn’t that fascinating?

What is most incredible to me is that this information gives us clues about what we need in order to heal ourselves. If nurturing is the missing link in proper brain development, then we know what to give ourselves and others. We can seek out nurturing and loving relationships. And most importantly, we can nurture and love ourselves. This not only feels good, but helps us to create peace, calm, and integration in our brains and our bodies.

It turns out, that nurturing is a spiritual energy. It creates peace, healing, and integration in our brains and relationships.

If you want to evolve into the best version of yourself, nurture yourself.

If you want to help create a more peaceful world, nurture those around you.

Loving yourself and the world around you really is the way to create wholeness.

Ideas To Nurture Yourself:

  1. Get a massage, acupuncture, or facial
  2. Create a home environment that feels good to you – surround yourself in colors, patterns, and textures that feel good
  3. When applying lotion or body oil, really take the time to love yourself and nurture yourself with your own touch
  4. Get creative – paint, draw, sing – Express yourself!
  5. When sad or distressed, hold onto a pillow or stuffed animal
  6. Cuddle (with anyone)
  7. Cook a delicious and nurturing meal for yourself
  8. Buy yourself flowers
  9. Use essential oils that make you feel more grounded, happy, and centered
  10. Do some gentle exercise, like walking or yoga
  11. Put on some music that you love
  12. Hold your hand on your heart and just feel the warmth and love from your own hand
  13. Drink warm tea or take a hot bath – warmth is very nurturing

The Most Important Political Action You Should Be Taking Probably Isn’t What You Think It Is

Ok, let’s be real. The world feels like a total mess right now. So many of us are scared, heartbroken, confused, and unsure of what to do. It is so easy to feel powerless when a country’s leaders are making decisions haphazardly and without input from their people.

IMG_4399Consciousness has chosen Trump to be president of the United States. He is here to shake up the stuck energies that were keeping the country (and world) in an embroiled battle. He is here to move energy, and he is doing that quickly and swiftly. The good news is that our consciousness has a say in what happens next. Our individual consciousness is part of a larger consciousness. As we change our own consciousness, we change the equation. As we change ourselves, we change the world. As we go for health, loving, kindness, and creativity, we add those elements to the larger consciousness. We vote for more heart, and that has the power to change what the future holds.

So how can you change your consciousness? Right now, our world is getting overly stuck in the mental realm. We are moving further and further into our minds. Technology has boomed in the past several decades. Our smartphones have become our best friends. The world is titillated by the latest apps and the newest toys.

The problem is, this has created a great imbalance. Our world is overly tipped into the mental and we are ignoring our hearts and bodies. We are abandoning creativity in favor of mental stimulation. In a way, it feels easier to spend an hour scrolling through Facebook than to use that hour to get into our hearts and bodies and really enjoy life.  The problem is, the mind is where so many of these power games we are seeing play out originate. Being overly pulled into the mental realm will only contribute to duality, fighting, judgment, and hate.

If you want to change the world, the best thing you can do is get out of your mind. Counteract this pull towards the mental by moving in the opposite direction. Move into your heart. Move into your body. This is truly what the world needs. It needs more people to help pull consciousness down into the lived experience of the body, and away from the mind.

By being in your body and enjoying all the wonderful sensate pleasures of earth, you really do start to change the world. You change consciousness. You help to encourage the collective consciousness to choose the path of the heart, kindness, compassion, and creativity instead of the path of the mind, power, and drama. Your health adds health to the equation of consciousness, which in turn will change the world. Tell consciousness that you want more heart, less mind.

So what can you do to come into your heart or body? Any activity that gets you out of the mental. We get trapped in the mental when we spend hours on social media, playing video games, eating in front of our computers, etc. We get out of our minds when we hug each other, sit quietly and feel our bodies, paint, draw, sculpt, dance, cook, enjoy the food we are eating, feel the sunlight bathing the back of our necks as we walk, and feel the energy buzzing in our right big toe. We get out of the mental when we start to enjoy our lives and our bodies.

Find those activities that bring you into your body. During these challenging times, I am making a more conscious effort to take a break from the news and to be mindful and alive in my body. I’m trying to savor my cup of decaf coffee in the morning even more than I did before. I’m also taking a few more art classes and spending less time watching TV. I’m hugging my partner longer and really feeling my heart open as I do so. I sit every night with our puppy on my lap and feel her warm body against my thighs. I take daily walks in the hills and take in the gorgeous mountains that seem to change every day. Essentially, I am making an effort to feel my body more and be in my mind less. I am voting for love with my body.

This is an act of political activism that is truly radical in this culture of video games and social media. Of course, take all the actions you feel called to in this time of change. Actions on the external level are also necessary and I have felt called to engage on that level as well. But don’t discount how important it is to tend to your consciousness. The most important act of political resistance you can do is to get out of your mind and vote for more heart.

Finding your Inner Badass and Becoming a Spiritual Rule-breaker

Showing his "lighter" side!I’m going to tell you a very embarrassing story. It was Halloween and I was 24, and in my first year of my Master’s program to become a therapist. I had decided to throw a party and had invited a dozen or so people from my M.A. program over to my house for some drinks before heading out to some parties in town. I remember I had dressed up in some random clothes I had in the back of my closet and I looked like a Saloon girl from the Wild West. I remember feeling embarrassed that I was dressed in a sexy low-cut shirt and bustier.

As my friends started coming over, I opened some bottles of wine. In part to mask my own feelings of shame about my attire, I had a couple glasses of wine. Before I knew it, I was tipsy. Very tipsy. And instead of feeling better about my sexy Halloween costume, I felt worse. To add more fuel to the fire of my inner shame storm, I began to feel embarrassed about the fact that I was now also a bit drunk.

In my intoxicated state, I began loudly telling anyone who would listen “Please don’t judge me, I know I’m a bit drunk and dressed like this. Don’t judge me because I’m a therapist. I know I’m supposed to be spiritual. I’m a therapist, I shouldn’t be doing this. Don’t judge me.” My sweet young 24-year-old self was terrified of looking anything less than perfect. I thought that if I was studying to be a therapist, I had to be a beacon of morality and prudence at all times. I thought that I should always be wise, compassionate, serious, and able to show up for others in need at all times. I thought I should basically emulate Jesus (seriously, I really did). At the age of 24, I had a very strict code of conduct for myself that prohibited me from dressing sexy, drinking too much, acting silly, being too loud, saying what was on my mind, or being rambunctious in any way. This code of conduct put a damper on the part of me that was young, wild, and wanted to explore the world and my emerging self.

I was stuck in my identity as a “spiritual person.” With this identity came rules in my head about what it meant to be spiritual. Some of these rules were: “Spiritual people do not drink. Spiritual people do not act sexy. Spiritual people do not have fun. Spiritual people do not flirt. Spiritual people should not want sex. Spiritual people should not care about dating. Spiritual people should not eat meat. Spiritual people should be modest and humble at all times. Spiritual people should dress conservatively. Spiritual people should meditate an hour every single day. Spiritual people should be meek and mild. Spiritual people should wear purple.” The list goes on and on.

Which is why, on Halloween night when I was 24, I spent the majority of the night walking around in my bar maid’s outfit, telling people how sorry I was that I was a therapist who was a bit drunk and asking them not to judge me.

I still feel a bit embarrassed sharing this story, but I do it because looking back, I can see how clearly my rules of what it means to be spiritual kept me in a prison. I have since broken out of that prison and can see that I had rules that kept me in a dualistic mindset. I thought that certain behaviors were designated spiritual, and certain behaviors were not. I know now that God can be in every moment of any action. You cannot take spirituality out of life.

Many of us have taken vows of poverty and chastity in past lives. Most of us at some point lived lifetimes where we were in religious groups that had very strict rules about what and wasn’t ok to be spiritual. We have all at some point denied ourselves money, sex, food, alcohol, and physical comfort in an effort to find enlightenment and get to God.

However, it is time for an update. We now live in a time of evolution where we are realizing we don’t have to give up life to be spiritual. Life is spiritual. The two cannot be separated. You can have a drink, make love, eat a steak, and still be as worthy as the monk meditating on the mountain top. There is nothing you have to do to get to God. God lives inside of you. What all of our spiritual studies across lifetimes have taught us is that God lives in you, as you. You cannot be separated.

So enjoy your life. If you have a drink, enjoy every little sip of it. If you wear an outfit that you feel sexy and attractive in, enjoy the feeling of being in your own body and skin. If you flirt with a stranger, feel the pulse of God running through the moment. If you have sex, feel the loving of God in your heart pouring out through your body. Enjoy every little morsel of Earth’s goodness.

Break your own spiritual rules. You’ll find that all God ever wanted for you was to know complete and total freedom.

Do you have any of the following beliefs that need to be cleared up? Repeat the belief and take a deep breath. (Quick note: I use the word “God” because it resonates with me. If you prefer a different word such as “Universe, Higher Self, All that Is, Soul,” please use that instead).

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that I have to be perfect to get to God.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that if I make a mistake, God won’t welcome me back.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that having fun is a waste of time and not spiritual.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing I have to be strict with myself to get to God.

I forgive myself for judging myself for believing that sex is bad, shameful, or impure.

 

You’ve Been Set Up to Succeed – Just Keep Going

The tiny elm seed
The tiny elm seed

We are designed much like the little elm seed. We come down here with everything we need already inside of us. We have “divine seed packets” deep embedded inside of us with all that we will ever need to grow into our full self. Encoded in our divine seed packets are the tools, people, awarenesses, and events we will need to fulfill our particular soul mission.

Every single thing we need for our growth, evolution, success, and fulfillment was set up before we were even born.

If we only knew this, we would worry a lot less. So much of our time is spent worrying about if we will have what we need – will we have enough money, the right relationships, great opportunities, a place to live, etc.? If we knew the truth, which is that whatever we needed would find us at the exact minute we needed it, we would worry less.

It may not seem like all our needs are being met if we are sick, or lonely, or struggling to find work. However, part of what is encoded in that divine seed packet is what we need to learn. Those times that are challenging are our greatest teachers. They are set up to help us strengthen, deepen, and reach for a greater love and trust in ourselves. They are all part of our own divine seed packet.

In that seed packet, we also have the gifts we will need to get through life. The events, openings, opportunities, and people we need to fulfill our unique destinies are already set up.

What you need, will come. It may take longer than our basic selves would like, but it does come. Your job is to keep moving through your life making sure you have food, water, fun, and maybe some sunlight. Your task is to just keep walking, one foot in front of the other, and allow everything you need to fall into place.

Your job is to just keep going, and to allow what you need to find you.

You’ve been set up to succeed. Embedded deep inside of you truly is everything you will ever need. The events, opportunities, and people you need to do what you are here to do will come. Everything you need will be taken care of. Just keep walking.