As the decade comes to a close, I cannot help but think about all the progress I’ve made personally, professionally and spiritually. About 500 days ago, I made a promise to myself. The promise was to make Chicago home. Turn a city of pain into my new playground. Create a life filled with love. Hold people accountable for less than behaviour… in my presence. About 500 days ago, I made a promise to myself to BE MY OWN HERO.
Part of the year was dedicated to developing new self care practices. These practices are constantly expanding.
Each day, I would dedicate a song to myself. Usually sharing the song on IG Stories. Sometimes the songs were symbolic of how I was feeling. Sometimes I couldn’t find words so just flowed through song. Sometimes, the songs were personal declarations to simply keep going. Song dedications helped me articulate the emotion that was stirring within…
Food is love. Food is fuel. Food is an event in my world. Specifically breakfast. I have made some of the most ridiculous breakfasts. On occasion, I’ll share my feast with others but for the most part, a colourful plate was my way to say I LOVE YOU to my body. My go-to is sweet potato hash. I have this down to a science.
Being a PR professional, a writer and somewhat of a self proclaimed entertainer… silence is in fact GOLDEN. I picked up this habit during meditation retreats. Observing 10 days of noble silence is not always possible but making sure that part of my day is silent has been so enormously beneficial for my overall wellbeing. Granted, there are times where I have a full head and a sharp tongue, and it’s catching myself in those moments that I exercise self-control. I allow the emotions to fly out just as quickly as they flew in.
Physical fitness. I took a year away from training. It’s very easy for me to self regulate through sports. It’s super easy for me to process just about any emotion/feeling through sport. Sports have a few aspects like breathing and mind-body coordination that brings me into the present moment. I’ve actually grown quite fond of swimming. Running used to be my favourite “drug” but I often find myself trying to find a pool to crank out a few laps.
Having my entire trust system compromised and not really knowing who has my best interest in mind was a challenge. I know my international tribe. I know my tribe in Asia but I needed to weed out the unhealthy and cultivate the healing in Chicago. Sometimes, unhealthy people snuck under my radar but for the most part, it’s taken me about 18 months, to find my tribe. The ironic part is that I’ve only been able to identify other healing people by trusting the process. Making myself vulnerable. Sharing the pain in my heart and asking others to simply hold space for me to be. At first, there were a lot of people that dismissed my emotions. But after a while, those people disappeared and created space for others worthy of my trust and love. Learning how to ask for help and receive love has been one of my most challenging and rewarding forms of self care.
How can I forget writing?! When I cannot figure something out. When I need to feel the feels to do the things. When I’m unable to shut down my mind or observe the body. When my ego takes over and I am convinced I NEED to share my two cents. Writing has been a dear friend. Granted, some people have used my words (and my healing journey) against me but for the most part, people tell me I’ve inspired them in some way. I guess writing has been a two-fer. Good for me and good for others. Writing has allowed me to hold myself accountable… especially my series called CONVERSATIONS (focused on what happens when I implement healthy boundaries with unhealthy people).
I’ve been doing a series on social media called puppy love. It’s basically me hanging out with all my puppy dog clients. Sometimes we walk. Other times we go to the park. I get the occasional leg hump. Generally speaking, I’m greeted with kisses and tail wags so intense that their puppy dog body is wagging just as fiercely as their tail. It’s so incredibly cute (and heart warming). Dogs do not judge. They simply love that you showed up. They keep me in the present moment. I’ve grown so fond of this form of self care that I created a regular hustle out of it. Within a year, I went from cleaning up after a housemate’s blue haired doberman brothers to having regular (paying) clients. Some clients are walks and others are for staycations. Life is so much better with a puppy.
I’m not sure what 2020 has in store for me. All I know is as I continue to honour myself, I witness the relationships around me improving. When I first moved to Chicago, it was difficult for me to find people able to articulate a goal or share a dream. Currently, my inner circle speaks my language. They have 3-5 and 7 year goals. They have a clear idea of what they are working towards and more importantly, they have an incredible sense of self. Their life is filled with love because they are love. My community in Chicago is finally starting to resemble my tribe in Asia… and my international family.
The journey continues…