I will never forget the day that I let the walls of my heart come crashing down.
Tears flooded my cheeks as I fell to my knees with my hands over my heart. I had no idea it was possible to feel such an immense amount of love, I never felt worthy enough for it. I believed that love was a lie created by people trying to sell cards and flowers and that it only existed as a conditional concept. Conditionally meaning that love was something I did for other people, to take care of others, to overextend myself without boundaries. I didn’t believe a healthy and supportive relationship to love existed, and if it did, I certainly didn’t believe I was worthy of it.
As an experiment, I decided to play with the concept of unconditional love within myself. Growing up, my parents taught me that unconditional love wasn’t something I was going to find outside of myself. I spent too many moments being ignored and brushed off to believe that it could come from someone. But what if I had the power to show myself the love that no one else was providing me with? What if this love was within me all along, and I never had to seek it outside of myself in the first place? It was enough of an idea for me to want to try it on for size.
I spent a 2 years working with mentors using different healing modalities and practices that guided me on the journey of self love, compassion, and exploration. I spent a lot of time in deep study, but what I kept coming back to was the power of cultivating my own personal daily alignment practice. I realized that no matter what practice or modality someone uses to get to know themselves better, it’s only as powerful as the connection that person has with themselves. You can only go as deep in your journey as you allow yourself to and in order to go real deep, you have to have a certain level of trust and understanding within yourself and your own heart. If you want to create a life of purpose, pleasure, and joy, you have to get to know yourself. You have to spent time alone, asking yourself the tough questions. You have to spend time feelings the feelings that have been buried under layers of self-protection. And most importantly, you have to actually show up for yourself. Every single day.
This past year I learned that getting to know yourself is one of the most awkward, weird, and uncomfortable journeys you can embark on, but it is hands down one of the most important. If you ever speak to someone on their death bed, their one regret is typically not doing all of the things they wish they would have. Don’t wait until your death bed to play with the desires of your heart. Instead act upon them no matter how much they make you squirm with fear and angst. In order to decode and uncover the layers of your heart, you have to spend time with your mind, body, and spirit. I have found that the only way to do this is by simply carving out time in each time to sit with yourself and simply be with whatever is up for you at the moment.
I call this act my daily alignment practice. I choose this wording because this is a time for me to literally check in with my alignment on a daily basis. Alignment meaning a balance within myself that feels empowering and good. My daily alignment practice will vary each day depending on my schedule. What’s most important though, is finding a groove that works for you of checking in with yourself and sitting with whatever needs to surface. Below are my beginners steps to crafting this daily practice, but allow your own process to emerge. Allow yourself to flow with what feels good. Play with your own practices and rituals to figure out what lights you up with joy. The point of trying different practices is to find ones that you actually want to show up for every day. Remember, if you try something that doesn’t quite feel right, don’t be afraid to scrap it and find something that clicks. Start with these basic steps and then get your experimenter goggles ready to play with how you can make this practice as unique as you are.
>> Craft your sacred space
Anytime you begin work that explores your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, make sure that you are in a safe and comfortable environment. I recommend finding an area in your home that you can make your own. Make sure your space is free of clutter as that can hold a low vibration that can call in stress or anxiety. Bring in things that bring you joy such as a nicely scented candle, a crystal, or a vase of flowers. Surround your space with things that make you feel supported. Before entering your space for your practice, cleanse the air around you. You may invite some sage or palo santo into the room or simply open a window to call in fresh air. As your space is being cleansed, imagine a white light surrounding your area. Ask for the energy of the highest truth and compassion to be present with you during your practice. Then get into a comfortable and grounding position. Easy pose with your sits bones grounded or sitting in a chair with your feet firmly planted are great options.
Always begin your practice by dropping into your body with the breath. Begin to slowly inhale through your nose, allowing your breath to travel all the way down the depths of your belly, pause and hold for a second, then release audibly through the mouth, sighing out any tension that you may have found along the way. Allow your body to relax more with each breath. Notice any tension that may arise, breathe into it, and then simply release it out through the mouth on your exhale. Put your observation goggles on while you tune into your body. Notice anything that may arise, but don’t offer up any judgement. This isn’t time to analyze, it’s time to simply be.
>> Feel, process, and release
Continue your breath while you feel into anything that is coming up for you. If a thought or emotion comes to mind, allow yourself to breathe into it. When something comes up for you, exhale with an audible sigh. Allow some vibration to flow through your body and chest. Imagine this vibration grounding you to the earth below. Visualize roots extending below you into mother earth, supporting you in your release. Upon feeling, its possible for emotions to arise. When they do, acknowledge them. It’s not always necessary for you to follow them to their root cause, but it is necessary that you process and release them through feeling. For example, if you are feeling sadness, allow yourself to cry without judgement of the tears. Remind yourself that you are in a safe and supportive space where nothing bad can happen by feeling. If an emotion becomes overwhelming, simply come back to your breath. Inhale deeply, all the way down to the bottom of your belly, audibly release through the mouth. Continue as many times as feels necessary.
>> Move the energy
Complete your practice with some movement. Any time we are releasing our feelings and emotions, we are moving energy through our body. To make sure that stagnant energy isn’t left behind, it’s important to move your body. Some examples are, dancing, a yoga sequence, a roll of the neck and shoulders, or simply reaching your arms up to the sky, providing a full body stretch. Get creative with your movement and practice following your body’s natural instinct.
>> Express gratitude
Pause for a moment before going about your day. Thank yourself for this time that you carved out for your own self care. Maybe even give yourself a hug. Show yourself compassion and grace in this great work you are doing. It takes a lot of guts to show up for yourself in this massive way. Celebrate that!
>> Show up every day
Part of this practice is consistency. Each day that you show up for yourself, you are deepening the relationship you have with your body, mind, and spirit. This practice is designed to cultivate more awareness in your day-to-day life, allowing you to show up fully present to each moment and being able to sense when something is off within your mind and body. This practice will deepen your relationship with your heart and your intuition.
Lastly, be gentle with yourself. Any time you begin a new routine, it’s important that you ease into it. Start simply by setting aside 10 minutes at the beginning or end of your day. Anchoring this new practice to an existing routine is also helpful. When I first began my daily alignment practice, I anchored it to brushing my teeth. Meaning that each day after I brushed my teeth, I would immediately begin my practice. This way my mind connected this new routine with one that was already in existence. If you feel resistance to showing up each day for your practice, I challenge you to show up anyway, bringing that resistance right along with you. Chances are, that resistance has something to teach you and the only way to listen to the lesson is to get quiet enough to hear it.