I met Erica over 10 years ago when I decided to face a fear and join a women’s dance circle. We were dancing to honour the Goddess Kali that night, my favourite Goddess, and Erica was our main facilitator. What occurred that night opened me up to the magic that happens when women come together and I have yet to stop dancing. Erica has since then become a blessed friend and a powerful mentor. She is fearless, joy-filled, daring, and limitless in her creative capabilities – there is nothing that this woman will not try. And her smile is the sun itself. Here is what Erica teaches about self-care, especially for those of us who are facilitators. Then again, we’re all facilitators in some capacity so this wisdom applies to us all. Enjoy!
Self- care is an expression and act of self-love. Self-care is the right and responsibility to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It can be thought of as anything that contributes to your emotional, spiritual, physical, and/or social rejuvenation, enabling you to create balance in your lives.
As a woman, I know that one way I can stay in balance, and to continue to take care of myself, is to take time to listen within and to feel into my body and heart when I am making a decision about something I’m about to do or not do. I check in to see if it feels right in my body. If I feel a softening and an opening, it’s usually a good sign that I’m on the path of self-care.
And sometimes, it doesn’t feel good at all, even though you know it’s an important self-care piece; such as saying ‘no’ to someone knowing that it might hurt or disappoint them, or knowing that you need to let go of something or someone. This is where trust and courage comes in, and the practice of listening within, and moving past and through those rough feelings.
Self-care as a facilitator:
Committing to self-care is a gift to you and to the world (clients). As you know, your behaviour, actions, words, and energy impact those around you. As a facilitator you are a role-model, so it is vitally important that you take care of yourself so you can bring the best of who you are to your clients and groups. We can only lead as far as we are willing to go ourselves.
How well you nourish yourself which includes doing things that keep us in alignment with your goals, values and wishes for yourself and others, impacts how you will be in relationship to your clients. It’s hard to hold safe and sacred space for another when we aren’t doing that for ourselves, so this issue of self-care is so important both personally and collectively on every level.
As a facilitator here are 2 good questions to ask yourself:
What factors need to be in place for me to focus my energy on the task of facilitating without becoming drained and exhausted?
What conditions need to be present for me to serve my students/clients while at the same time serving myself?
Create Your Own Self-Care Plan:
Take a few minutes and identify activities and lifestyle choices that can help you improve your emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual aspects of life. Also note those stresses and responsibilities that you could let go of, to create more peace and joy in your life.
Your self-care plan is structured under these categories:
o Continuing to do… those things that you are already doing that rejuvenate you and positively contribute to your health and quality of life.
o Start doing… new activities or accessing services that will enable you to recharge and achieve better balance in your life.
o Stop doing… those things which are optional and add to your current responsibilities and stresses.
Here is the link to Erica’s upcoming events – Dance Our Way Home Fall Immersion for women who might like to explore the possibility of becoming facilitators of Dance Our Way Home, and her women’s retreat, Bloom – A Week-Long Urban Retreat, Spa & Temple for Self-Employed Toronto Goddesses: http://danceourwayhome.com/offerings. Plus, you get to see a picture of Erica’s radiant smile.
Be well and journey long!