How to Fill Your Own Cup: 3 Rituals to Restore Your Soul

 

Waxing Moon.

Quench your thirst. Restore your soul.

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How do you fill your own cup? When your body is aching and your heart is empty, how do you reach beyond that place of depletion to restore your tired soul? When the world has disappointed you and you lose sight of your path, how do you carve out the space to come home to your sacred self?

Our modern world is made up of over-scheduled and frenzied lifestyles, so much so that it becomes difficult to heed the heart’s call to slow down. It’s so easy to give to others – to pour your heart, your love and your entire being into the things they need of you or into the tasks that demand your time. But when it comes to filling your own cup, does the giving come as easy? Too many of us put ourselves last, often at the expense of our own well-being. In the end, the ‘deep river within’ (as Abby Seixas describes it) runs dry.

Despite the fact that words like ‘self-care’ and ‘self-love’ have become common place, the deeper I go into conversation with women, the more I see just how many of us are still begging for permission to care for and restore ourselves. It’s a common theme that seems to crop up around this time when so many reach the end of the year feeling overwhelmed, overworked, completely depleted and desperate for a break from life.

We constantly need reminders that ‘Me-time’ is a necessity, not a luxury. Creating breathing space is not just an act of self-love, but also a means of self-preservation. It serves your well-being and your highest good, which in turn sets up a positive effect that trickles down into your work and relationships.

With this in mind, here are three ideas for simple + soulful self-care rituals to nourish and refuel your soul:

The Cup of Restoration: Create a list of things that you need to fill you up: Things that restore you, things that help you breathe easier, things that make you feel supported, things that inspire your and things that bring you joy.  Write each individual item on a small piece of paper and then place the bits of paper in a cup. This is your cup of restoration. Visit your cup once a day (or at least a couple of times a week) and pull one piece of paper out. Then do that one thing to nurture your soul and fill your own cup. Keep refilling your cup of restoration from time to time and make sure that it stays full of ideas and prompts to nurture your soul with.

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 A Cup of Light: Get yourself a teacup candle (or simply place a small candle in a teacup if that’s easier). Light your teacup candle once a day and take some time out for yourself. Meditated, unwind, listen to soothing music, read something that you love or just do something fun and relaxing. Do whatever makes you feel most nurtured.  When you feel you’ve had enough breathing space, then blow the candle out. Return to your cup of light daily to for some time to yourself.

A Teatime Ritual: A teatime ritual is one of my favourite daily practices. For this ritual, make yourself a pot of cup of your favourite tea either in the morning when the world is still calm and slowly waking up, in the late afternoon or at night when you have a moment of quiet before bed. If you like, you can light some candles and just find a quiet spot in your home where you can be alone for a little while. Or you can find a relaxing spot in the garden, surrounded by beauty. Sip your tea mindfully, taking in the aroma and taste. Feel yourself relax, breathe easier and visualise yourself quenching your soul’s thirst for replenishment and your inner well filling up with each sip that you take.

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How to Surrender Your Fear

“To engender a sense of freedom, lie on your back and enter into the moods of the sky.” ~ Chrissie Wildwood

The night was so hot and uncomfortable. I went outside to lie down on the grass, the soft green chest of the great mother against my back. I breathed in the dark overcast sky knowing that no Goddess kissed raindrops would fall from it. Bats flew, criss-crossing through secret sky paths above me.

I could feel the tightness of fear and anxiety in my body and the many things that I’m afraid of rising to the surface: Judgement and uncertainty. The fear that I may never overcome the challenges of PCOS or carry a pregnancy to term, despite my efforts to heal and balance my body or nurture my spirit. And also those debilitating moments when I’m so consumed by anxiety that I cannot do simple things that come naturally to everyone around me. Fear has a sneaky way of convincing us that only dead ends lie ahead, even when that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

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I looked up at the tree tops against the dark sky and inhaled their wildness. Their silhouettes swayed in the wind and I drew their freeing energy into the tight places of my body. Let it all go, whispered something in me. So, I tried to. I let my tension dissolve. I wanted to surrender to the night, to become part of it and to free the parts of me that felt locked in shackles. I needed to embrace my fear, surrender to the flow of love regardless, trusting that it would guide me forward to a more nurturing and positive truth. As Gabby Bernstein’s puts it so perfectly in The Universe Has Your Back, “By embracing my fear and surrendering my desire to be free, an even greater pathway to freedom is opened up to me.”

I realised that there is no fear in the wildness of things of the night, just a confident sureness, a deep Trust. So, I recognised that must be like bats who trust whole-heartedly in their inner guidance system to navigate them through the dark. I must trust my truth and the sound of my own voice the way they trust their screeches to reverberate through the quiet air and then return to them as a sounding board. And I must shake off my fear like the wildness of dark tree silhouettes on a windy evening and guide myself back to the confident space of love, trust and hope for new possibilities.

I inhaled the coolness around me and felt myself loosening up, aware of the sense of ease growing within. I remembered how in many difficult moments, surrendering to energy of the Earth and trusting in the Universe offered me refuge and insight, and I felt grateful that these glimpses of wildness have carried me beyond the fear and home to myself again. As I listened to the sky, it seemed to look back down at me and say: “Surrender…Be fearless like the wild night.”

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“The practice that will serve your highest good is the practice of surrendering to the love of the Universe.” ~ Gabrielle Bernstein

Meditation for Surrender: Centre yourself with a few deep breaths. Relax your body and clear your mind. What fears are unsettling you right now? What is causing you anxiety? Take note of what comes up and then set the intention to surrender these fears and anxiety to the Universe. Let it all go. Visualise everything being released from your body, from you mind and your soul as you surrender and let go. Feel the tension melting way more and more as you release. Now think about the more positive thoughts and feelings that you would like to cultivate within yourself. What are they? How do you want to feel? Allow yourself to continue to surrender your fears and replace them with more nurturing beliefs that bring your peace of mind, calmness and joy.

Affirmation: I surrender my fear to the Universe. I choose a loving perspective that serves my highest good instead. I choose to think good thoughts that nurture my soul and help me connect to feelings of deeper peace.

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A Nourishing Bedtime Ritual: Lavender Foot Massage for Gentle Sleep

New Moon. A Self-Care Ritual. 

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At the end of each long and tiring day lies a sacred opportunity. An opportunity to come home to yourself. To reconnect with the inner life of your vibrant soul and to embrace and reconnect with your body.

One way that I’ve learnt to do so (under Carrie-Anne Moss’s mentorship via Annapurna Living) is by the developing a nurturing relationship with your feet through a simple bedtime ritual. A simple practice that will leave your body feeling relaxed and your soul feeling nourished.

The Nourishing Bedtime Ritual: Before bed, get some lavender infused oil, a calming lavender foot balm or foot cream to rub your feet with (lavender aids peaceful sleep). Centre yourself, take a few deep breaths, empty your thoughts and just release the day’s stress. Massage your feet, gently rubbing the calming oil/balm into them. Feel yourself relax, becoming more peaceful and present as you do. Connect with your feet, your body and your inner self. Visualise your tension melting away a you unwind and open up to deep connection. Express gratitude for your feet and your body. Send love and soothing positive energy to yourself and let yourself feel nurtured by the practise.

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To Make Lavender Infused Oil: Fill a clean glass jar with dried or fresh lavender flowers. Then top the jar with jojoba or olive oil. Close the lid tightly and place the jar in a cool, dry and dark cupboard for 4 to 6 weeks to infuse. When the lavender oil has infused for long enough, take it out, strain it out to separate the oil from the flowers and then transfer the oil back into a clean glass bottle and discard the flowers. You can use the oil as is or use it as the basis for a lavender balm as I have done.

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To Make Lavender Bedtime Foot Balm: For my foot balm, I melted 1 tablespoon of mango butter, 1 tablespoon of beeswax, removed it from the heat, mixed it with a ¼ cup of my lavender oil infuser and then added 10 drops of lavender essential oil, 8 drops of geranium oil for scent, as well as a few drops of clary sage. I stirred it together thoroughly and then decanted the mixture the pretty vintage trinket box I got from my mom (I love using that particular trinket box for my bedside balms.) It’s up to you what kind of container you would like to store your balm in. Once decanted into its contain, the balm cools and hardens in 10 to 20 minutes. Here are a couple of lavender bedtime balm recipes if you would like to try making your own: Soothing Sleep Balm Recipe and Lavender Sleep Balm to Ease Your Dreams.