Self Care as Prayer
Thirty years of practicing and teaching Healing Touch and energy medicine have changed my life.
HT has become a way of life for me, part of the natural flow of each day, and an important part of the dimensions of my spiritual growth. Self care
is a crucial aspect of being an effective practitioner
. In the early years, I did not pay as much attention to self care as I do now. Part of that is because my body is approaching its 60th
year of life, and I simply can’t “get away” with less than healthy self care practices. But more importantly is that over the years, I have learned to consciously embrace mindful, heart-ful self care as part of my spiritual life.
I’m surprised with how long it took me to ingrain into my belief system that self care is a form of prayer,
but better late than never!
As a woman of the baby boomer generation raised in blue-collar Chicago, becoming a nurse fit the cultural expectations of womanhood I was surrounded by. Becoming a mother of three daughters further imprinted both the necessity and delight in giving of the self for the benefit of another’s body-mind-spirit health and healing. It took time for me to consider my own self care needs to be part of Spirit’s expectation of me in developing spiritual maturity.
It’s all about balance.
It is blessed to both give and receive!
I have defined three kinds of self care
for my life based on frequency: daily, frequent and when possible.
For me, the Daily category
includes morning, daytime and bedtime prayers (including body prayer), connecting to God through nature, and expressing gratitude as often as possible. The body care that I do each day is now practiced in a more conscious way, mindful that my body is the temple of my soul
and that I need as healthy a body as possible to live out my life’s destiny and birth intention of love. Therefore, my dental hygiene routine, showers, face/hair care, food/fluid consumption, how I move, exercise and stretch my body, and my need for rest and sleep are all acts of dedicating my body to Spirit so that I can be the best vehicle possible for enacting whatever forms of service and glorification of God that I feel called to act upon. Silently praying or singing spirited songs while I do body care have become a sweet addition to the physical actions of bathing and other daily routines.
The Frequent category
for me includes expressive dancing, listening and singing to music, walking/hiking (I am blessed to live next to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains), fasting, yoga, sun-gazing (taking in long periods of Solar Energy through eye contact with the sun during sunrise/sunset), Earthing, creative writing, attending weekday Mass, participating in eclectic spiritually-oriented gatherings including gong baths, meditative groups, study circles, kirtan music, and meaningful sharing to connect with others. (You can read more about Earthing
and Sun gazing
in my June 2013 Newsletter
as well as view the videos I made on Body Prayer
The When Possible category
could be frequent or spaced apart depending on the flow of life. Self care activities for me include exploring beautiful places of nature, road trips in Colorado, an annual retreat in the mountains, receiving Healing Touch and related energy medicine/body work treatments, reading and studies, watching inspiring documentaries, funny films or a great movie. I also love the feeling of cleaning house and de-cluttering to purify and make beautiful my outer environment (the Hermetic Maxim: As above, so below; As outside, inside!
I have learned to be discerning
about the difference between true self care and acts of emotional gratification
which stem from unmet or unconscious human needs that have not yet been transformed through the heart to a higher vibration. For instance, there were many times in the past where I would “reward” myself with going shopping or eating junk food when I accomplished something that I felt I wanted acknowledgement for, even if just from myself. While it is important for all of us to celebrate our accomplishments (small and large), as I have matured, I have noted a transformation of how I acknowledge those progressions. The result is that through growing recognition of what truly “feeds” my mind/soul/spirit, I am able to make more responsible and healthier choices about how i honor or celebrate these things, which make me feel better about myself. When I make a choice out of wisdom and inner-knowing, then I am truly acting out of freedom.
What is true freedom?
To me, it is the ability to use one’s will forces to enact one’s beliefs and feelings. True freedom is a gift given to us by our loving Creator, who celebrates our growing discernment, acts of true freedom, and ability to show compassion to ourselves and others. Many people have the illusion that they are living in freedom, when they are really living lives based on habits, cultural and relationship expectations, and unconscious fears. Did you ever hear the statement: Don't believe everything you think!
To what extent do you live by limited thinking, habitual patterns and expectations of others? To what extent do you really feel free in your thinking, your feeling and your actions?
I encourage you to take some time to thoughtfully consider how you take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and to reflect upon the extent to which you consciously acknowledge them aspects of your soul growth.
The topic of self care as a spiritual practice
will be the theme of the next Healing Touch Retreat held at Shadowcliff Retreat Center in Grand Lake, Colorado, next June 14th-17th
(for all Level 2 students and above). The webpages include many photos and a fun video of the 2012 Shadowcliff HT Retreat as well. Early registration is required to get the best price.
May this time of Thanks-Giving
not only bring fulfilling times of sharing with friends and family, but also a time of considering how Self-Care can indeed be an Act of Prayer. I hope to see you
at the June 2014 Healing Touch Retreat which I hope will inspire participants to deeply contemplate how self care of body-mind-spirit can become conscious rituals of dedicating the Self to being the best person you can be.
May we all continue to count the many blessings of on lives every day...
_2014 Healing Touch Shadowcliff Retreat for Level 2 and Beyond
We are receiving registrations for the June 14-17, 2014 Shadowcliff HT Retreat
. There will be an optional day if you are interested (17th
). This will be a low key, contemplative but richly interactive time to learn via interaction and silence, with interested HT students and practitioners (Level 2 and above
) who want to explore the topic
of “Balancing Self Care and Service: Supporting My Energy in Order to be the Best Person and Practitioner I Can Be”.
The price is very affordable, the food is delicious and nutritious, the scenery is spectacular, the accommodations are cozy, the location is sacred to Healing Touch, and the company will be the BEST! There will be two gong baths
(with 3 large gongs)
and other offerings of inspiring live music and singing raising your vibrational frequency and time for joyful dancing and movement! Click here
for more information about the 2014 retreat
. Click here
for an eight minute film on the 2012 retreat
, a slideshow of the 2012 retreat
and/or for a summary of evaluations by attendees of the 2012 event.
Please take ONE MINUTE to support H.R. 3516 The Veterans and Armed Forces' Health Promotion Act of 2013 to expand holistic education and research in complementary and alternative health care....Read More Below.....
One of my greatest responsibilities as a Member of Congress is to ensure our veterans and active duty armed forces are getting the benefits and care they have earned.
That’s why, I just introduced H.R. 3516, The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013 to improve the quality of health care provided to our nation's heroes.
Specifically, this bipartisan legislation would:
• Expand the scope of holistic care education and research for signature wounds such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
• Establish complementary and alternative medicine pilot programs for mental health and pain management treatment for veterans.
• Create a grant pilot program to upgrade Veteran Service Organization facilities, expanding the reach of wellness services directly into economically strained communities.
This legislation will go a long way towards dramatically improving the quality of care that our nation's heroes receive, and propel the VA and DoD towards innovative health care solutions for the complex challenges they face.
Stand with me to continue to advocate for our veterans and service members. Let’s make H.R. 3516, The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013 the law of the land!
Member of Congress, 13th District of Ohio
Cynthia's Annual Visit to Shadowcliff Retreat Center, Grand Lake, CO., Sept 2013
Summary of my retreat at Shadowcliff Retreat Center in Grand Lake, CO.
This is the place where Janet Mentgen had her initial inspiration to create Healing Touch. I visit there annually to renew my vocational commitment to Janet and to Healing Touch. I experienced my instructor training there in 1994 and a special welcoming ceremony from Janet as Program Director there in 2005. Please click here
to go to see the slideshow of this year’s visit
which was special because I finally was able to climb to Cascade Falls
. Along this path at a huge boulder, Janet had a vision of a spiritual being who told her she would be founding Healing Touch. A few years later in 1989, with diligent daily meditation and an inner circle of friends, Healing Touch was born! I hiked the eight miles up and back barefoot, to me, by far
the superior way of walking on and connecting to the healing energy of Mother Earth.
VIEW CYNTHIA'S PAST NEWSLETTERS BY GOING TO HER WEBSITE UNDER ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS