Sunday Self-Care 05/28/22

Jun 6, 2022 | Blog, Newsletters

Wondergirl at sunset and me receiving the sacred gifts of the canyon. 

If you’d like a soothing soundtrack while you read, tune into The Music of the Grand Canyon by Nicholas Gunn. I discovered this album nearly 30 years ago and pulled it out of hiding recently.  I can feel the canyon’s geologic layers as I listen. 

Hi friends, I hope you’re finding sources for solace and replenishment amidst the continual stressors and tragedies we face–here in the US and everywhere. I feel like I’m in a constant state of discerning how to navigate the challenges honestly, how to care for my grieving parts tenderly, asking them not to overwhelm me and to wait when I need to be present for loved ones, clients and students. My work within the IFS Community enlivens and buoys me, especially when suffering abounds.

As you’ll see from the range of photos included here, by the time I finally get a mailing out (speed writing is still not my forte’), my experiences and morsels to share have accumulated. It’s always hard to choose what content to share, so if you have requests or feedback, please let me know!

Given the season of grief and loss that seem to have followed me the past nine months or so, plus the tragic events this week in Uvalde, Texas, the theme for today is self care and sources for soothing our grieving parts. As many of you already know, my parts are most fully soothed and nourished in nature. My system has been drawn to nature for as long as I can remember. I am happiest when I’m outside (or in the shade when it’s too unbearable for my fair, Nordic skin!)

(You’ll see more photos and experiences if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram. This mailing includes condensed social media posts from this week from my recent trip to Arizona and a glimpse into my soothing cold water practice.)

I was in my homestate of Arizona last week for memorial services for 4 loved ones–3 in the same family of a very dear college friend who was a bridesmaid in our wedding 27 years ago. 🙁 I experienced an unusual contrast between the two memorial services: The first was shadowed by disconnection, questions and silence. The second overflowed with community, friendship and love. I was struck how important it is for grief to be openly shared with loved ones and how bewildering it is to grieve alone, in isolation, without answers or resolution.


While in Arizona, two Grand Canyon campsites unexpectedly opened up so I headed north from Phoenix and Flagstaff. I had backpacked this sacred canyon with my family as a child and was last here in 2009 when my husband and I guided my father down to the river for 3 nights to celebrate his 70th birthday. Yes, I get my adventurous spirit from him!

I’ll share more photos and videos on Social Media soon. Needless to say the sacred canyon sanctuary held my grief.

My somber mood this week brought me back to a soothing memory from April I’ve wanted to share with you.
💦. I’ve gradually been exposing myself to cold water over the past year for a number of reasons. Befriending and embracing the cold is balm to my soul–after the initial shock as I first enter the cold water and ask myself, “Why am I doing this again?! Da** this is cold!” ❄️ My entire being feels replenished from this activity…even just a minute or two.

The movie, “My Octopus Teacher”, inspired me to pursue this activity. He submerged himself for up to 7-9 minutes in 49 degree F water. There’s a magic of immersing myself in bodies of water that I’d normally have to avoid. I’ve swam now in waters I never could’ve enjoyed and can’t wait to share some of the locations with you. It’s truly invigorating.

This video was taken in April during a visit with cousins in Vermont. Snow and ice had just melted and the water temp was in the low 40s. Air temp high 40s/low 50s? made even better with my favorite swimming companion, Pistol, the only Muensterlaender I’ve ever met. I’m smitten. (The snowy pic was the day following the video. Yes I swam. Water temp isn’t much different. It’s just a little harder to get in mentally! ) This is the first swim where I outlasted the dogs. What does that tell you?!

I love watching the dogs in this video. Border collie, Brill, keeps watch from the shore. Pistol joins me initially, then changes his mind but still keeps an eye on me. Every activity is better with a dog. The command for Pistol to give me distance so his paddle paws/claws don’t scrape me is, “Out!”. He did pretty well this time! I can’t wait to return.

Much love and cool waters to you today. 💦

Finally, here’s a poem the brilliant, young poet, Amanda Gorman, wrote after Texas shooting this week. Amanda writes, “Though it was hard to find the words to write poetry about horrific, intelligible tragedy, I was moved after a few thoughts I posted here turned into $1 million successfully raised for @everytown for Gun Safety in just 3 days. The one thing I know how to do when times are dark is to write. And that’s what I’ll keep doing, even when told poetry can never make a difference against a gun. As Audre Lorde said, “poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.” If this poem speaks to you, speak back—act. A good place to start is following @everytown & texting BOLD to 644-33. Love, Amanda 💛

Hymn for the Hurting By Amanda Gorman

Everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
And yet none of it is new;
We knew it as home,
As horror,
As heritage.
Even our children
Cannot be children,
Cannot be.

Everything hurts.
It’s a hard time to be alive,
And even harder to stay that way.
We’re burdened to live out these days,
While at the same time, blessed to outlive them.

This alarm is how we know
We must be altered —
That we must differ or die,
That we must triumph or try.
Thus while hate cannot be terminated,
It can be transformed
Into a love that lets us live.

May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost.

Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.

But only when everything hurts may everything change.

Sending love.

Take care of you and your parts…