Cultivate True Self Care
Mindfulness Leader Mara Branscombe on the importance of cultivating your inner self in the new year.
We’ve all wrapped up a busy time of year—the holiday season—and now everybody’s talking about resolutions. Getting fit, cleaning out your closet, and starting a new routine are often where we choose to put our focus. But what about setting a resolution to increase our inner peace and opportunity for growth?
Mindfulness leader, yogi and radiant being Mara Branscombe is here to help us cultivate true self-care: the kind that changes our lives from the inside out. She shares her thoughts on the importance of tending to your inner self, and setting a solid foundation for personal growth throughout the year.
Summer is beautiful and vibrant, full of plant life and sunshine, while the subtle richness of winter is harder to see. When we welcome the energy of this quieter, more reflective season in to our lives, we can cultivate a fertile and abundant foundation for change.
Creating space for new perspectives, listening to the intuitive call to action, and leaning into what nourishes you will help you flourish this year in every season. Here’s how to find stillness and create resolutions that will last a lifetime.
Shift your perspective
Too often in our fast-paced lives, we look for quick fixes and focus on how we look on the outside rather than how we feel on the inside. When we call this outward energy ‘self-care’, we take away an opportunity to grow from within.
Just like plants, we need nutrients, sunlight, space, and water to grow—and we also need time for stillness and rest, like the seeds and roots lying dormant under the soil in these cold months. Giving ourselves time for stillness is not selfish: it’s taking care of our entire being, mind, body and soul.
What if we shifted this perspective and cared for ourselves from the inside out? What if we gave ourselves permission to rest, and consciously worked towards inner health by balancing our emotions? The health of your inner self—your mind and spirit—dictates the health of your outer self, and your life as a whole. Your inner health is your vitality, your radiance and your most authentic expression.
Start by choosing real self-care and:
- rest the mind by engaging in quiet, mindful rhythms,
- develop an awareness of your imbalances,
- make choices to shift them, and
- maintain a gentle yet steady focus on your path to growth.
Over time, you will find yourself more focused, energized, joyful, productive, and ultimately, ready to embrace the life you want to live.
Rest to grow
This is the time of year is when we think about what we want to change, what we want to achieve, and then set resolutions to meet our goals. However, if we focus our resolutions on the end result, our outward lives, they may leave us with a cycle of imbalances, toxic thoughts and unsatisfying results.
Perhaps we can decide to simply give ourselves more opportunity for rest. Your nervous system loves rest, good food, physical activity and hydration. And when your nervous system is in balance, so are you. Pay close attention to what pulls you away from getting enough rest, and work to reorganize your day to eliminate thoughts and actions that exhaust you.
By creating space for rest and stillness in your day, even for a few minutes, your inner self can begin to express the emotional patterns and stressors that are negatively affecting you. Simply be present with them, witness them, and allow them to dissolve. Developing a calm awareness of your thoughts is the key to staying steady and on the mindful path towards your best self.
Create space for potential
Just like pulling weeds from the garden allows our food and flowers to grow to their full potential, we can pull out the thoughts in our minds that are limiting us. This is easier said than done: we are hard-wired to focus on the negative aspects of life. Our brains have between 25 000 and 50 000 thoughts per day, and 70 per cent tend towards the negative. Our ancestors needed to avoid negativity in the form of danger to survive, but in our modern world, we can choose to expand into positivity.
Our core beliefs are formed based on our life experience, and our life is shaped by our thoughts. If some of your core beliefs feel negative, it may be time to consider how your thoughts and beliefs are affecting your life. Developing greater awareness and getting real about what triggers your mind into negative thinking is the key to pulling toxic thoughts from the garden of your mind.
Plant the seeds of authenticity
As you tend to your inner landscape, you can begin to understand your authentic needs and begin to cultivate them. Commit only to the practices that inspire you and leave you feeling connected to your whole self. Lean into what already lives inside you and what nourishes your body, mind and spirit.
Some of us find a feeling of oneness through active pursuits like skiing, cycling, and running marathons; others find connection through quieter activities like yoga, hiking, meditating, painting and writing. When you create space for what you love, you can plant the seeds of your dreams, and live a life of authenticity. Space creates reflection, reflection creates perspective, and perspective allows us to release what we no longer want and invite new energy into our lives.
Trust in your process
Our process is our teacher, and letting our process guide us requires trust and patience. At times, life throws us changes and challenges that can be truly uncomfortable. Softening our control of the outcome and staying mindful of our triggers, thoughts, and actions will be what transforms us. As we practice the art of setting intentions true to our inner selves, we become more fluid and grounded in our approach to our lives. Let go of the striving and the grasping, of focusing your goals and energy outward, and let your process guide you.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, rest and stillness are the catalysts for change in our lives. Leaning into what nourishes your inner self, what brings you joy, balance and peace will naturally bring forth your authentic radiance, your spark of vitality and a freedom to witness your wildest dreams come true.
May we continue to dance with the ebb and flow of whatever life brings to us, and sculpt our experience in alignment with our personal self-care. Tending to our inner landscape in this way will bring abundance, vitality, and a resilience that will continue to grow, transform and renew us this year, and every year after.
Mara’s ability to hold healing space for the hearts and minds of others offers a vast landscape for transformation within. In her yoga teachings, Mara weaves together her background as a dance artist, her practice in the shamanic tradition, and her twenty years of experience on her mat—naturally what arises is a fluid, earthy, full-bodied practice. Her intention is to make yoga and meditation accessible to every person willing to step onto their mat and commit to putting their best self forward.
Currently, Mara hosts international yoga retreats, fuses yoga and corporate leadership to executive teams, teaches professional athletes and artists, mentors yoga teachers, and teaches classes and workshops in Vancouver, Canada.