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Medicine Pouch

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Practices to feel more at home in our bodies and our world

I have developed tools and techniques over decades that have helped me and so many others. My experience has taught me that connecting to the wisdom of our bodies is key to the personal, organizational, and societal transformation we desire and is often what is missing in our daily lives and in our work towards collective liberation. When our bodies get free, we all get free. 

The practices can be used daily or as needed when you find yourself in conflict or out of balance. 

We will be adding new practices each month, so be sure to check back. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest additions. 

Embrace your Inner Critic

The Practice

Draw your own inner critic

List in bubbles all the messages they have to say.

 

Reflection

  • Imagine yourself saying them to someone you love.

  • Are there instances when those things aren’t true?

  • How can you apply love to these parts of yourself?

  • What can you learn from this practice?

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At least once a year, I like to get out my crayons and play, especially around my birthday. I like to delve into the world of my Inner Critic. You know the world I am talking about. That little voice inside our heads that narrates everything. My Inner Critic is often brutal. She begins the minute my eyes open.  She has a lot to say about my lack of value, lack of worth, why bother. We have more than 50-60,000 thoughts a day. Most of which are repetitive. When I am stuck, it is often that I have been secretly listening to her, repeating her mantra.

 

This practice of drawing my inner critic allows me to amplify and then analyze her messages. Most of the messages are part of her basic repertoire, and sometimes new ones come and old ones go. I drew her just to see all the things she said. I realized in time, she mostly repeated the same things over and over to me. And when I engaged my friends to draw their Inner Critic, we realized she is not even creative at all. There are really just three or four sentences that she likes to repeat over and over again about our lack of worth, about our lack of lovability, whatever it happens to be for you. I found great value in writing it down, drawing her out, and looking at her.

 

Over time, I watched her get the love she needed. I intentionally chose not to push her away, but rather pull her into me and loving her, letting her know that she is lovable, she is worthy, and she has value. We have been taught to divy up life into good or bad, taught to reject or push away our Inner Critic as something that is bad that lives within us. But I have found this only makes her get louder. Our Inner Critics quiet when we learn to love them. 

 

We all have a deep need to be loved and accepted for exactly who we are, and when we realize there are parts of us that are dark, that we do have a shadow side, we can love and embrace that part of ourselves as well. There will not be any need to act out. We can give our Inner Critics a voice and love on them. We can say, I see you are being especially brutal to yourself today. What do you need? 

Embrace your Inner Shero

The Practice 

Revisit your Inner Critic

  • Revisit the things your Inner Critic says. What would it look like if the opposite were true? 

  • How does it feel in your body? What sensations do you feel? Where in your body do you feel these sensations? 

  • Notice any emotions, thoughts, and/or stories that emerge. Does your Inner Critic show up in this space? If so, try to return to curiosity, “Yes, I hear you Inner Critic, but what if the opposite were true?” 

 

Try on the nice things others say about you

  • What do your friends, family, and coworkers say about you? Ask them directly and/or take note of the nice things they and others say about you. 

  • How does it make you feel in your body? Does it feel true? 

  • Consider how it might be true? Look for the stories and evidence.

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Draw your Inner Shero – your cape and superpowers (the medicine you carry with you)

  • Reflect on your own medicine (unique gifts to share). 

  • Say them quietly or out loud to yourself again and again until you can feel the resonance in your body – until you can experience them as your personal truth. 

  • Use them to create your own personalized affirmations. 

Once we embrace our Inner Critic, we can begin to look at the Shero within ourselves. A lot of times we have to first imagine her. For me, I couldn’t see her in the beginning. I could only imagine her as the opposite of my Inner Critic. So if my Inner Critic said, you are ugly, My Shero would say, you are beautiful. 

 

Then my practice shifted to an embodied practice of saying loving things to myself from my Shero with the same energy I offered the brutality from my Inner Critic. To make sure that my attention was energetically balanced, I was as loving to myself at least as much as I was brutal. 

 

When in balance, my Shero began to have her own voice. First, I begin hearing what other people would say and trying them on. This was another level of her. If I am not this (what the Inner Critic says), can I imagine being something else. I practiced opening myself to the kind things other people would say to me that before I would just push away. I intentionally gathered them and let them be part of my Shero course for a while. 

 

We can fully embrace her when we believe it for ourselves, embody it for ourselves, reflect it, and wield it. I have come to see that the Shero is the indomitable spirit within all of us. We came through so much, and there was always something within us that just knew better. When things come for us, she is there with us saying, I’m not sure about all of that. She is the wise self. At first, she was really quiet, and I hoped she was there, but now I feel her. I sit back in her.

Be Still

The Practice

Begin with a 5 minute practice each day. Preferably in the morning. Just sit and follow your breathing or focus on some thing of beauty.  Allow your body to settle.  Journal about your journey, consider it research, or me-search.

 

After a week or so increase your practice by 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Perhaps invite guided meditation or walking meditation into your practice. Journal about your journey.

 

Continue to increase by five minutes each week until your practice is 15, 20, 30 minutes. Journal about your journey.

 

Be still and know (God)

Be still and know

Be still

Be

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Meditation sometimes gets a bad wrap. When I think of meditation, I mostly think of Rumi’s quote, “It is in the stillness of the water that the reflection can be seen.” Meditation is an invitation to get still whether it be for 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, an increased practice of 20 or 30 minutes once or twice a day. It’s the practice of getting still and being with what is – not engaged in it, but witnessing it. 

 

Meditation reminds me of who I am at my core, in my essence. It gives me momentary entree, community, being held.  It feels like holding court with my wise self, the part of me that has always been and will always be.   And the peace that is contained therein,  gives me the strength to go out and do and be in the world. 

 

It is as simple as noticing the breath. Noticing the bird song. Noticing the wind. Noticing the breeze, flowers, and the trees. It is nothing but noticing, without judgment. 

 

Noticing the thoughts in our minds. Just notice. Many have explained it as the difference between being in the middle of the road directing the traffic or standing on the side of the road watching it pass by. Meditation is like being on the side of the road just watching all that goes by – not engaging, totally relaxed.

 

Meditation and mindfulness have been a part of nearly every culture. They have always been here woven into everyday life.  Whether it is being by the river, shelling peas, taking walks, or gardening, chances are you are already practicing it. Being more intentional about doing it everyday can have a profound effect on our sense of self and wellbeing. 

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