Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I need frequent reminders–quotes, images, podcasts–that I am worth taking care of and ready lists of strategies and supports for self-care. I need daily inspiration, even beyond my meditation practice. Hence I am always on the lookout for things that keep me on the self-care track (or get me back there when I’ve fallen off). Here I want to offer some of the things I’ve found useful. Who knows? Maybe something here will help you, too, shine your light on this world. Heaven knows the world needs it.
MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION
Something that has helped me a lot in my healing has been mindfulness meditation. I wish I had learned how to do it earlier, because I think it could have helped me with all the flooding I experienced when I was first opening up to my therapist about things that had happened. Or who knows, maybe I couldn’t have done it then. I started taking it seriously in 2016, and now (2018), it continues to be an important practice in my life.
Apps for your phone. I downloaded the Insight Timer app for my iPhone and love it (it’s also available for Android). I use it most days. I try to do either a guided meditation or a quiet meditation with attention to my breath every morning. Then sometimes midday, I’ll take a break and do another one for 5-10 minutes. It helps me find my center again. I love that the app offers literally thousands different guided meditations, from a minute long to an hour or more. Most are guided meditations, but there is also chanting and other types of meditative music. It also plays bells for you to time your own meditation, if you prefer. There are some recorded talks on as well, and features that track how long you have been meditating this week and in recent months. After nearly two years of use, I would still give this app five stars and recommend it to anyone.
I’ve also tried another app, Calm. You can download it for free and get some initial meditations, but to get access to all its options, you need a subscription ($4.99/month if you sign up for a year). I decided to stick with Insight Timer, but I know people who love Calm and consider it worth the price.
On the web. Kristin Neff, psychologist and leading researcher into self-compassion, offers a number of free guided meditations on her website. They are all about noticing what is going on inside of you and bringing compassion to your experience.
I really like the voice and the messages in many of davidji’s guided meditations. He’s also good at allowing you enough time for the message to settle in (i.e. it’s not all solid talking). There are over 100 meditations available for free on his website.
Defining Attachment Trauma: How to Heal Attachment Wounds (29 minutes) – a short overview of attachment trauma and then an overview of the kinds of work needed to heal from this kind of trauma. Alan Robarge, the therapist in the video, also has many other videos on relationships and healing from trauma.
How To Be A Friend To Yourself (4 minutes)
Brave by Sara Bareilles (4 minutes) – always a good pick-me-up song
There are a lot, so I have a separate page for my Healing Reading List. I’m overdue to update it–and always up for suggestions.
WEBSITES WITH RESOURCES I LIKE
How to find or choose a therapist is something I have thought about a lot, even though I have worked with the same person for a long time. I still don’t know that I fully understand how to choose, but here here is a piece that helped my thinking:
How to Choose a Therapist by Jonathan Shedler. I particularly like the way he describes a therapeutic alliance as something more than a “warm connection.”
For The Little Ones Inside. “Welcome to an oasis of calm, soothing gentleness, compassion, loving-kindness and self-nurturing in the midst of a crazy-making world. Visit a while in space that honors, affirms and reclaims the way and the truths of the Sacred Feminine.” Psychologist Robyn Pozin has created and collected a range of materials to support gentle, compassionate self-care. In addition to her stories and art, she also has a great resource page of her own. One of her important messages is that it’s okay to go more slowly and take care of yourself. Her tales are generally examples of how she learned to do this in her own life.
Cheryl Rainfield is a young adult author who writes stories about young people who self-harm, a topic she knows about from her own past experience. On this page she lists 17 Reasons Not To Hurt Yourself. She also offer advice here for how to respond constructively to someone who is harming her/himself.
MISCELLANEOUS SH*T I’VE MADE THAT YOU CAN COPY OR ADAPT
Messages To The Girl. These are little cards I made and used to carry with me in my purse as reminders. I used them the most when I was just starting to believe in my own memories of trauma and still needed help to continue believing the girl when I was around my family. You can print them out and use them too, or just use them to give you ideas to make your own. (I have more that I’ll add later.)
Map of the Pit (mapping depression symptoms). You’ll want to make your own descriptors and really think about what the things are that you think or do when you are a little depressed or depressed or crawling around in your darkest, lowest places. E has found it useful that I brought it to her from time to time and mark the things I had been experiencing. I have tended to downplay how bad I feel to her, so the map helped her know what was really going on. It used to be easier for me to bring one in than to talk about it. These days I’ve become more comfortable talking about how I feel, so I don’t use this much anymore, but it was a useful tool in the past.
INSPIRING, MOTIVATING STUFF
I just recently (May 2016) discovered Little Red Survivor Art, and I’ve become a huge fan. She has several series of art prints (“Survivor Girls” and “Soul Sanctuary,” for example). My absolute favorite, though, is her Red Riding Hood series. I ended up buying a print of “Trust Your Gut” because it’s a message I need again and again. (Btw, I’m not in any affiliate program or anything–I just like this and thought you might, too.)
If you like to have cards with poems or messages to inspire you, you might like to check out Compassionate Ink, which create and sells these cards. I found out about them when my therapist sent me one of their cards. Now I think I will get some of my own to share with my friends.
I started a Pinterest board specifically focused on inspiration. (I also have other boards on recovering from abuse and other topics that matter to me). It’s nice to go back and review these pins (or look for new ones) from time to time. (If you use also Pinterest in this way, let me know so I can follow you.)