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Tongue Scraping! (Or What Was Left of My Daily Morning Practice For a While)


Sometimes tongue scraping is all that’s left of someone’s beloved morning practice. And that someone would be me.That’s right. Me. Self-care expert. Long-time meditator. Deep relaxation lover. But no worries I am getting back on track. Nonetheless I wanted to share with you my experience from the past couple months, during which emotions ran high, sleep was lost, workouts were skipped. And that morning practice started to dwindle, dwindle, dwindle…until all that was left of it was my tongue scraping habit!

What a lesson. Well, many lessons.

1. The first one, the obvious one, on the importance of having a morning (and spiritual) practice well in place to begin with. Don’t postpone starting any longer! Especially if things are rather quiet in your life right now. That’s the best time to plant the strong foundation for health and sanity that is a sacred morning ritual. And I suggest planting real deep (i.e. be consistent)! You never know what kind of tornado is heading your way!

2. Sometimes (always?) the only way out is through. One of the greatest values of a daily morning practice is that it provides us with the stability we need to navigate unstable times. Ideally. But hey, we’re humans. And no matter how long we’ve been on this journey of conscious transformation, no matter how disciplined we normally are, there will always be times that are just too challenging. Times of loss and despair, or great joy and excitement. Both the super high’s and the super low’s of human emotions are equally disruptive to one’s inner peace. Yet is trying to stay in control the right response? Only you can tell. Seems to me though that letting go is what life invites us to do, over and over again, of small and big things. In that context, allowing high intensity life circumstances to (temporarily) disrupt our daily habits can feel absolutely right and precisely what life demands of us to keep evolving spiritually. The conscious act of surrendering to the disruption that strong emotions generate holds enormous potential for breaking through and breaking free of our old ways, and into a more authentic self. If that’s what you’re into 😉

3. Keep the momentum going! Even if your spiritual practice all comes down to tongue scraping, as happened with me, at least keep doing something! Might be 3 deep breaths. A couple stretches. That glass of hot lemon water. If you can at least stick to this one daily practice, you’ll keep a momentum going. When things quiet down again, you’ll find it much easier to add back up to your ritual the pieces that fell out, rather than having to generate a whole new momentum from scratch.

4. Self-Love + Perspective. When you do “fall off the wagon”, please don’t beat yourself up. Fortunately I don’t do that one. Ironically, I believe it is thanks to the consistency of my spiritual practice (over the years, if not this past summer!) that I was able to develop what I consider the most important skill for handling trying times: perspective. Being able to see the big picture even in the midst of feeling stretched, pulled and torn, is priceless. Having a “big picture perspective” helps us remember that “That too shall pass”. It softens and lightens our experience of the situation to the point that we find it easier to accept and go with the flow. Interestingly, out of that supple, non-resistant state often come great insights into why everything is happening the way it is.

5. Trust yourself. If you’ve had a regular spiritual practice then you most likely know what feeling calm, centered and content within yourself feels like. And that’s the best feeling ever! So much so that when you stray away from that blissful center, you’ll only last so long. Sooner or later trust that the pain of feeling disconnected from your truth will cause you to gravitate back to the techniques and practices that got you to feel connected in the first place.

Take home message on how to best handle life’s intense moments

• Have a morning practice firmly in place. That’s your foundation for well-being.

• Be willing and ready to let it go if surrendering to the pull of strong emotions feels right and inevitable.

• Just don’t drop your daily self-care entirely! Keep doing at least 1 thing for yourself everyday, no matter how small.

• Be kind to yourself in the process and remember that everything passes.

• Lastly, trust that after feeling like crap for a little while, the desire to feel good will resurface and you’ll naturally get back to your self-care rituals.

I’d be curious to hear how YOU handle intensity in your life? Do you tend to check out and go numb? Double up on yoga, meditation or exercise? Self-destruct in some ways? Feel free to share and ask questions in the comment section below. If you need support, I might be able to help. 🙂

With much love,

Sylvie BARTHELEMY

(p.s. Stay tuned for details on my upcoming event with Valerie Bennis and Margaret Marshall on 9/23: Graceful Aging Naturally.)

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