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Thoughts on Self-Care

Cory Muscara






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Thoughts on Self-Care

This talk discusses the foundations of self-care, including your capacity to stay present to the different layers of your experience, without immediately trying to make them different.

I'm going to talk about why the capacity

to check in, feel, and stay present to

the different layers of your experience,

without immediately trying to make them

different, is the foundation for self-

care, healing, and deep fulfillment.

More to come on that.

First let's settle in with

the sound of the bells.

So, this align that I shared with

you at the beginning of the episode

is actually an idea, not a direct

quote, but close to a direct quote

from my book, Stop Missing Your Life.

I posted them on social media yesterday

and wanted to expound upon it here.

So I'll share it with you again and then

break down the different layers of it.

The quote is, "The capacity to check

in, feel, and stay present to the

different layers of your experience,

without immediately trying to make

them different, is the foundation for

self-care, healing, and deep fulfillment.

The foundation for self-care,

healing, and deep fulfillment.

Let's take a look at that.

So first this capacity to, to check

in, to feel, to stay present to the

different layers of our experience without

immediately trying to make them different.

Notice what you feel in

relationship to that.

Does that resonate on some level?

Do you feel connected to that ability

to be able to check in, to feel, to stay

present to the different layers of your

experience without trying to change it,

without judging it or making it wrong,

but simply holding space and making

contact with this dimension of yourself?

Now, maybe you feel like you

have that capacity to an extent.

And I think all of us do, to

an extent, to check in, to

say, Oh, how's it going, Cory.

What am I feeling right now?

We can stay present to it a little bit.

But I also think we all

have a threshold with that.

There are certain dimensions of

our experience, you know, emotional

experience, or parts of our personality

or insecurities or vulnerabilities,

sadness, grief, or even pleasure, joy.

Some of us cut off our own pleasure.

That's a really common one.

So, how far can we take this to,

to hold, to be present to the

different layers of our experience?

And I would argue that the depth to which

we can take that is directly related

to the depth of our own capacity for

self-care, healing, and deep fulfillment.

And let's break that down a little bit.

So first, self-care.

We' re only going to be able to take

care of ourselves to the extent which

we're able to show up for ourselves.

We won't be able to really understand

what our deeper needs are without

being able to be present to the

deeper layers of our experience.

On the surface level, we might be

aware, okay, I'm hungry right now.

And we can respond to that.

But if we're really disconnected from

our bodies and we've just been working

so hard, like grinding ourselves,

but we're so used to that and so used

to not checking in with ourselves,

like, what do I need right now?

As soon as we slowed down just enough

to maybe be able to sense into that,

into that exhaustion, we might be so

conditioned to not feel that, that

we quickly reverse it and go right

back into what our old pattern was.

Subsequently disconnecting

from ourselves and essentially

disassociating not being present to

those deeper layers of our experience.

And therefore not being able to

take care of those deeper levels,

which is also related to healing.

At least in the context I'm

talking about it here, like

deeper, psychological healing,

emotional healing, dramatic healing.

All of the trauma literature will, will

show that in order for traumatic energy

to start to get released and reintegrated,

it needs a degree of presence.

It, it can't be cast out into

the shadows of our awareness.

It can't get reintegrated

through dissociation.

And a good trauma therapist will

help a person make space for their

experience to move closer to their

experience, the uncomfortable parts of

it to start to feel it and stay present

to it, the intensity of it, so that

the intensity can start to dissipate.

And that's how reintegration happens.

A very basic overview of it, of course,

but starts with this ability to be

present to our experience without

immediately trying to make it different.

And this doesn't have to just

be traumatic experiences.

It could simply be unresolved sadness

that's been lingering beneath the surface,

waiting to be experienced just enough

so that it can finally start to pass.

Or even things like a negative

self-concept that you hold

toward yourself of not being

good enough or not being worthy.

Often the foundation of being able

to shift that is first being able to

be honest with the part of us that

feels that way or the different layers

of ourselves that feel that way, to

hold space for that, with love and

compassion, which is imbued, at least

for me, in a moment of presence.

And then often seemingly miraculously,

that inner voice softens a bit and

our relationship to ourself shifts.

And then how we think about ourselves

starts to shift, all by being able to

stay present to these different layers of

ourselves, different parts of ourselves.

So self-care, healing,

and then deep fulfillment.


You can have a lot of different

forms of happiness, like happiness

of getting what you want.

That's certainly a form of happiness.

The happiness of pleasure.

That feels good, that sensory

experience can give us a lot of,

well, a certain kind of happiness.

There's also a more substantial, I, I

would argue it's a more substantial,

deeper kind of fulfillment that comes when

we feel deeply okay in our own skin, our

bodies, our minds, our ego as ourselves,

or however you identify yourself.

The more we've made peace with and have

befriended all the different dimensions

of our humanness, the more we start

to experience this really profound

and cozy kind of wholeness where we're

no longer running from ourselves.

And there are many different

layers of running from ourselves.

It's not like you're someone that doesn't

run from yourself or you're someone that's

like totally at peace with yourself.

Like there's such a continuum.

There, there are still parts of myself, a

lot of parts that I'm actively resisting

still and working to make peace with.

Parts that are insecure or parts that

are uncertain, parts that I don't

like as much as other parts of myself.

And my practice is about like sensing

that resistance, making space for like

first being present to the resistance.

Because fighting the resistance is

just another form of resistance.

And then seeing if I can stay

present to whatever's behind it.

The thing that I don't want to be

there, the part that is insecure,

that doesn't have everything figured

out, that wants to be in control,

whatever I might be denying.

And so checking in feeling, stay present,

staying present to those different layers

of my experience, welcoming all of them

in, not necessarily indulging in them, but

just acknowledging their place in, in this

moment, the reality of them being there.

And when we get more comfortable

doing that, something in it's just

starts to let go and we experience the

wholeness of ourselves, the fullness

of ourselves, the parts that we enjoy

and the parts that we resent, but

we no longer resent them as much.

They are, they've been welcomed

in, into the family of who we are.

And I describe it as a coziness.

Cause I don't know any other word to use,

but you just become your own best friend.

It's like you have your own

internal blanket to snuggle into.

And maybe that sounds fluffy or

weak or whatever, but it feels good.

It feels good.

And life is hard enough.

It's enough difficulty out

there, and now people are going

to cause us stress and pain.

If we're adding another layer of

that for ourselves, by constantly

beating ourselves up, fighting our own

experience, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

So I'll say this one more time, the

capacity to check in, feel, and stay

present to the different layers of your

experience without immediately trying to

make them different is the foundation for

self care, healing, and deep fulfillment.

As you go about your day today,

just see if you can practice this.

Checking in, feeling, staying

present to all of who you are.

Notice where you do that easily

and where you have more struggle.

And hopefully this can help a little bit

on your daily journey to practicing human.

Great being with you.

Until then, take care.

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