I really do believe that our own inner wisdom is our the greatest resource when it comes to healing. Over the years, I've learned to listen closely to my heart and to my body and to honor what they tell me. Sometimes their requests seem strange to me at first, silly even, but through fulfilling their requests, I've uncovered some simple yet profound practices for healing, and connecting to simple pleasures is by far one of my most beloved ways to nourish my mind, body, and spirit.
I moved back down to Los Angeles from the Bay Area almost 10 years ago now. I had dropped out of my graduate program with only six months to go, moved in with my parents despite the fact that our relationship had been pretty strained over the years, and was essentially living in a never ending panic attack day after day after day...It is, without a doubt, one of the darkest periods of my life and just making it through each day felt like a nearly insurmountable battle. At some point along the way, I started really reaching for any form of comfort or relief I could find. I had already gotten clear that drugs and alcohol could only numb the pain for so long and that the rebound was always worse, so they were no longer options. Instead, any time I would notice that I was experiencing truly nourishing pleasure, even to the slightest degree, I would do my very best to let that experience fill up my entire being. Warm sunlight on my skin. The smell of the ocean. A delicious meal. The spaciousness in my body after stretching. Witnessing a kind moment between strangers while I was at the grocery story. The perfect unfurling of a fresh flower blossom.
This became a practice, a way to ground (although I didn't even know what that meant back then). In many ways, it was a form of gratitude, for the gift of this life, even when this human experience felt like it might crush me. To be honest, my reaching for simple pleasures was a desperate attempt to not check out completely, but as the years have gone by and the ebb and flow of my life found a more gentle pattern, I've noticed myself returning to the practice of connecting with simple pleasures again and again. When I'm having a rough day. When I'm nervous or fearful about the future. When I find myself being impatient or I experience dis-ease of any kind. I take a moment to feel the rise and fall of my chest and say thank you. I let myself get enveloped in the impossibly blue sky and let go. I stare deeply into flowers, sip hot tea slowly, and massage my own muscles and skin. These gifts don't cost a thing, but they can shift everything.
I know some of you probably saw my post from yesterday, and while nothing tragic was happening, I was definitely having a rough go of it. So I took an extra few minutes while I was over in Playa del Rey to really absorb the beauty of the wetlands. I spent some time playing with my parents' sweet little lovebug of a pup while I was at their house helping them with some things. And then, when the beautiful crescent moon made its appearance last night, I just stood outside and admired it until I realized that my heart felt lighter, that I was once again filled with gratitude, and that everything was going to turn out just exactly as it is meant to.