2 months ago, I stood in the shower in my NYC hotel room, sobbing.
I am one of those crazy people who wants to be more awake all the time, even if it hurts. I want people to lovingly call me out and show me the parts of myself that I can’t see, revealing the patterns that I am living so deeply in that they’re the air I breathe. I want to be challenged. I want to grow. I am a human, so I resist the hell out of it sometimes, but still, I want it.
Why? Because I’m here, alive, so I might as well open my eyes to all there is I can possibly see. I want to see. I want to feel.
On this particular day, I had just spent 12 hours being coached by my dear friend, Michael Ellsberg. 12 hours straight. It was beyond, beyond, beyond intense. Painful. Beautiful. At the end of the day, I lit candles in the bathroom and stepped into the shower. As the warmly-lit room filled with steam, I looked through the glass and saw myself in the mirror. Naked. Unraveled, spent and present. I put my hands on my belly, water streaming down my face, and an awareness washed through me…
I am it.
My primary responsibility
in my entire life is to take
care of me. This body.
I cried at the recognition of my impermanence.
I cried at the recognition of my sacred duty.
I cried at the recognition of all the times I’d put myself last.
I cried at the recognition of how much I was still waiting.
After all these years, I was still waiting to feel taken care of by the world, instead of sinking deeply and wholly into taking care of myself. There were still so many more layers of depth to my own experience of self-love.
We do this all the time –
wait for the world to take care of us.
: We wait to fall in love, or to fall back in love with our partner, so we can start building a life together.
: We wait until we feel better in our bodies, so we can start playing and allowing ourselves to be seen.
: We wait to hear what they want, what their plans are, what they think, so we can make plans for ourselves.
: We wait for our business to make enough money to sustain us, so we can finally start having some fun.
In the meantime…we struggle, we try to figure it out, we get by.
But… “in the meantime” is where life happens.
Struggling, hoping and waiting is a completely unsustainable approach. It doesn’t give us more energy, more life force, more incentive and more motivation to keep going — it gives us less. This old paradigm of work-work-work until one day when we finally have what we want keeps joie de vivre at bay. Do you really want to leave your joie de vivre to chance?
In the meantime…you are alive.
What if, instead of approaching creating your epic romance, fit body and fabulous business with struggle and overwhelm, you approached it with a focus on pleasure and sustainability?
What if you made it your job to take care of you?
The best kept secret, as I’m learning and integrating every day, to having what we desire is:
Having the kind of life today that nourishes the feelings you crave – living your “skinny life”, your “successful life”, your “epic romantic life”. This means creating sustainability and satisfaction in your life now, so you can keep moving. It means living a life of ever-increasing pleasure and ease. It means giving yourself the experiences that you think those other things will give you. It means not only talking about self-love, but living it.
When struggle shows up, as it will for us all, use it as a red flag that you need more spaciousness. More pleasure and ease.
Within that frame, here’s what self-love might look like:
: Keeping your side hustle while you build your business.
: Going out with your friends instead of writing your business plan.
: Writing your business plan with lipstick on and a glass of wine in hand.
: Buying a bright red dress that you feel great in, before you lose another 20lbs.
: Eating gorgeous, delicious food that nourishes your body because it feels amazing.
: Savoring a gourmet donut with your girlfriends at 1am, while laughing.
: Getting dressed in your favorite outfit…on a Tuesday.
: Running the numbers with Stevie Wonder playing in the background.
: Having a shower even though you are totally exhausted. It’ll help.
: Saying Yes to invitations from your friends, even though you have work to do.
: Subletting your apartment and buying a ticket to Costa Rica, so you can finally learn to surf.
: Not checking your email until 11am, because you’re more creative and productive that way.
: Making your own plans, not in defiance, but because you know what you want.
Or maybe it will look like something else.
Only you know your true expressions self-love.
Understand this: your business, lover or
skinny body aren’t going to give it to you.
It’s not their job, it’s yours.
Locate where you’re struggling (not enough money, working too much, eating mindlessly, etc) and start giving some loving attention there now. Infuse pleasure, so you can keep living into your desires. If these are your desires, who else is responsible for giving them to you but you?
It’s time to love the one you are entrusted with.
Self-love is your job.
beautiful, nisha. xo
This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.
You hit it on the head, Nisha. I’ve waited too long and am now diving head first into extreme self care. Everything else must integrate into that. I. Come. First. I then can care for everyone else with bliss and with all my soul. xoxo
So true, Stanzi. Whether we choose it or are forced, eventually we will be “all in”. xox
Amazing Post. Thanks, Nisha.
amazing post Nisha! <3
I loved that but I have one question and it would mean the world to me if you could answer it for me Nisha…
So you said that where we are struggling is where we need to give our loving attention right?Well if I were serioulsy struggling financially, how would I give loving attention in that area?? I’m blank….
Thanks and by the way, you are ana amazing person!!
I believe that when we’re struggling financially, we have to look at how we can create sustainability in that area right away. A part-time job? A loan? It requires taking a close look at our numbers, too, so we know the full and accurate picture of what’s required to get there.
Does that help?
I love reading what you have to say, Nisha. Seeing your newsletter in my inbox makes me happy. 🙂
I spent yesterday doing exactly this – getting clear on my desires of 2013 and reviewing the ones I set for 2012. I use a model from the book, The Way of the Happy Woman (love Sara Avant Stover). For anyone that’s looking for a little guidance/inspiration, check it out.
It’s amazing how much you can manifest when you set clear intentions. I’d say I hit 80% of what was on my list for last year!
Sheila, thank you for sharing the book recommendation! Thank you for the reminder to set clear intentions. Beautiful.
Thank you Nisha. Reading this helped me break through a major barrier this morning.
I’ve been trying to relaunch my own website for over a year (not a small feat for a web designer – we’re our own worst clients)…
I realized that it was OK that I hadn’t yet ‘found my voice’. When I finally gave myself a break about it, it came flowing out.
Phew. Loving this, sister.
Creativity needs space, yes?
Thanks for sharing your
journey with us!
I needed this!
One of my favorites! Thank you for this Nisha.
This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing.
PHENOMENAL post, thank you!
Nisha, this was beautiful, as always. The build up of tears while I’m working was appreciated! Sometimes you just read something so true, that happens. The other day I thanked my boyfriend for his honesty about my side hustle at the moment, because he could see what I couldn’t, even if it hurt.
Thank you for being so open and powerful! <3
Rachael, my pleasure! I feel teary when I read it, too 🙂 xox
Timing is impeccable, I needed to hear this today. Thank you! Much love.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Awesome post Nisha. Beautiful.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Wonderful thoughts and intentions for me to remember today.
Funny, it put a new spin on things I already had lined up for today:
– private pilates class
– house cleaners
These are ways I’ve committed to taking care of myself, yet I wasn’t allowing myself to ENJOY them!
I feel filled up again.
And I thank you.
Mmm, Alex. Love this! Doing is one thing, and experiencing is quite another! Thank you for the reminder that just “doing” self-love doesn’t mean it’s necessarily embodied. Love!
What a beautiful heartfelt post. It’s only when we take care of ourselves that all aspects of life smile back to us. Thanks Nisha, inspiring as always.
This resonated with me today, Nisha. I am in the middle of a divorce and so many of the things you say are the reason I have had the courage to move forward alone. Yet I am NOT alone! I still have all of the people who love me, and those I have not yet met! Thanks for the reminder that I am worth it.
You are SO worth it!
And, divorce is tough.
Sending love, sister… xox
Absolutely gorgeous. Just the words I needed to hear today. Where my struggles lie : working too much & killing myself with stress…Thank you for asking us to check in + notice where we find ourselves struggling most. I must breathe and go with more ease & fun if I want to keep my business going. Otherwise I’ll head into resentment guilt stress and burn out…not fun or cute.
You hit the nail on the head, Ashley!
right effin’ on! especially prescient for hollydazedness … thank you for givin’ big!
I know these moments Nisha! They are beautiful and reveal our sheer truth. And the more we open and create them on purpose, the closer we get to the real wisdom of life, which is located right inside of ourselves. Selflove is the key for us. The key to love & something that I call enlightenment.
If you want to skype about my “enlightenment” just contact me. I love to share and exchange with women who have experiences the same mysteries, as it’s something rare yet. We have met short&tired on BYM, I loved your talk!
P.S.: I also had this amazing belly-awareness you write about!
Hello, love! Thank you for sharing. So glad we met, even though it was super short 🙂 xo
You are always a burst of fresh air Nisha. Thanks for your wisdom! xo
This is such a gorgeous post! I love it! In this last year, self care has become priority #1 and I tell it to as many ladies as I can 🙂 Thanks Nisha!
gorgeous. love love this.
Beautiful post. How true; if we all took care of ourselves first, we would know how to care for others better and the world would be the better for it. In loving ourselves we love the divine within us. Thanks for the reminder. Best wishes to you
Powerful writing! This is is beautiful
YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES!
This is precisely what’s been going on in my head this week. I focus so much on the outer stuff: friends, relationships, a clean home, doing my job well, creating my business, growing as a human being. Then I hit a wall where I’m like, “Where’s the ME in this?!” And not at all in a selfish way. Just in a “Well, hot damn. There has to be some self-care time in all of this.” That’s why tonight is dedicated to reading awesome blogs (like THIS ONE!!!) and watching a good movie. :]
This is beautiful. I will never forget when my coach split me open. It was a moment of monumental pain, and yet it also left such powerful clarity and recognition in its wake, I could never imagine my current life without it. I wept for what felt like hours, trying to find something to cling to as my heart was given the space to speak – for the first time in nearly a decade.
We all play such beautifully crafted mind games, don’t we? Putting importance on materials and plans, opinions and self-imposed deadlines – we’re our own perfect little micro-manager.
I love this post, Nisha, because it’s a familiar space. It’s the shift space. It’s the magic between scenes that makes the entire performance come together and set fire to the stage. You’re in that space now, and it’s scary, and it’s exhausting, and it’s beautiful, and it’s yours to own and keep forever.
Breathe deep and shine on, Nisha.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write!
I love what you said here:
“It’s the magic between scenes that makes the entire performance come together and set fire to the stage.” Beautiful.
Welcome and thanks for reading!
Love these words~ the truth is life! REVELATION~ Peace, Shalom~ Well-being, prosperity, abundance: Shalom!!!! Grateful for these words ~ I NEED them!! We all need them. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me! Thank you Nisha.
I can relate to this. For a long time I’ve put off doing the things I love – I was suffering from the “after” syndrome, too. And finally, when I had the courage to start doing what I love, like long-term travel, my only regret was – “Why didn’t I do this before?” Thanks for writing this! Here’s to loving ourselves more! 🙂
Love this! Where have you traveled?
I love what you’re saying here. I am it. Yes. No cinderella complex waiting for someone else to figure out what we need. Take care of ourselves. Be with our bodies, feel what we’re feeling and give ourselves what we need. Thank you for this beautiful post.
Thank you, Vanessa, for reading and leaving the comment! “Cinderella complex” is a great thing to call it.
Beautifully, beautifully said. I read somewhere else of using gratitude in self-love too. Gratitude for how u took care of yourself today, for the music you played for yourself, for the poem you read for our spirit. I loved the idea very much. Loved your post. Creates this luxurious feeling of being ourself. I didn’t understand this line. Do explain ‘This means creating sustainability and satisfaction in your life now, so you can keep moving’
Uzma, thank you so much for reading and thanks for the question!
Re: “This means creating sustainability and satisfaction in your life now, so you can keep moving”…
What I mean is that when we are creating sustainability and satisfaction in our life now, we will have the energy and encouragement to keep moving towards our desires. Without sustainability and satisfaction, we burn out and feel discouraged.
This is the kind if eloquent, honest tough love that we all need to hear. Thank you Nisha! Love that this was your inaugural post to my inbox – it’s all that you espouse – fierce, fabulous + free. Xoxoxoxo
Welcome, Sara! Thank you so much for being here, sister. Much love xo
Yes! Words to remind ourselves of again and again until we’re living and breathing them. Stunning, thank you Nisha.
Amazing as usual and exactly what I needed to read tonight- was a BIG reminder for me that when we start to take accountability and stop waiting for the world to take care of us HUGE shifts happen.
Genius! Love this post. I am speechless….taking it all in!
I bow in honor to your honesty, vulnerability and deep love of truth and growth. You give others courage to do the same. There is such beauty and strength and power in it. Thank you.
Thanks for this post, it’s beautiful. I don’t want to look back in ten years & see another decade spent watching, worrying, planning & hoping. It’s such an ongoing practice to build a default position of identifying w my heart rather than my thinking; to build a new neutral where awareness automatically rests in the meeting of presence in my heart & taking care of this me is the very same as taking care of life, the world & the people in it. Maybe it’s not about taking care or giving care, maybe it’s about BEING care. Thanks so much nisha x
Your email has been sitting in my Inbox for 4-days. And I decide tonight, 12-18-12 @ 11:37pm EST to read it. Everyday I’ve looked at the title “Crying in the shower…” but couldn’t move myself to read it. I’ve been going through so much the last few weeks, that I just couldn’t read it. But tonight I did and WOW! You have a truly amazing gift of touching people in a very special and profound way. I feel as though you are my fabulous fierce best friend who is writing to me because she senses what I’m going through. Thank Nisha…thank you!
Amazing. Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Which means it struck a chord. Which means I have work to do in this area. Yeah, I knew that. And maybe was avoiding it. Sigh.
fun! i read “writing the business plan with lipstick on…ON the wine glass.”
going to grab my new lipstick and wine glass now. cheers, nisha.
My husband has terminal cancer. I’m his only caregiver and his only link to the world-he doesn’t want to go anywhere anymore. Most people are dead within 9 months of this diagnosis. Our diagnosis was 25 months ago. We don’t know why he’s still alive, but we know he’s dying. For the past 25 months his needs have come first, mine are last. But here’s the thing: that’s okay. Going through this with him every painful, heartbreaking, infuriating step of the way feeds my soul. Maybe, sometimes, putting yourself last is what self-love looks like.
Thank you so, so much for taking the time to post this. I so honor you for the labor of love you embark upon each day, and I’m sending so much love to you and your husband.
Perhaps self-love is knowing what nutrient is most needed and providing it. As a loving partner, it seems that right now that nutrient is care for your husband. Thank you for your loving service, dear sister, and for knowing what your self-love path is right now.
Again, thank you for sharing.
Wow this one hit me hard, especially when you talked about making plans. I’m on a train now about to fly out to a women’s workshop. I made the deposit months ago. At the time I felt like I was defying my partner who was not in support of my trip. In the intervening I’ve moved into a space of looking at this trip as a way to nurture my true self an I let te defiance and anger slip away. I think I was more angry at the old self that wouldn’t let me make plans if it interfered with my partner’s wants and needs. I still felt that defiance creeping up as I was dropped at the train station, but I suppose that it’s a long journey into that loving space where we act out of love and not react out of pain. So thank you for this post. It’s made me more cogniscant of my own emotions as I travel and hopefully I will be able to reorient myself in love over this terrain.
Oh, Jen, thank you so much for sharing this, sister.
I’ve noticed that we often rev up our anger so that
we can justify to ourselves why we should have
what we want, instead of just having it because we
Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to
share your experience and lessons with us, so we can
learn with you, too.
I find myself gravitating back to struggle even as I move closer to that which I really desire. I love this guidance that you share, “When struggle shows up, as it will for us all, use it as a red flag that you need more spaciousness. More pleasure and ease.” That is a great reminder, I think I might post it on my corkboard, for frequent reflection. Thank you!
Thank you for reflecting that back, Shelly.
What you are sharing is so common — most
of us have been trained to believe that
struggle is necessary for success…
“no pain, no gain”
Enjoy asking yourself how you can infuse
more ease and pleasure into your moments.
I’m slowly reading through your “favs” of your posts and I am so incredibly glad that I am – these are gems! This is such a wonderful post and SO very true – I get so caught up in the work I have to do and hope someday someone will recognize how hard I work and tell me what I need to hear…but you’re right – that’s our job – not theirs. So glad I found this – this is exactly what I needed right now!
Thank you Andrea, it is my joy to know this resonated as deeply for you as it does for me. What a gift it is to also know that you were able to find what you needing in that very moment. Grateful for you being here sister xo
Beautiful, gorgeous article. I adored absolutely everything in here…. except maybe the word skinny to describe the ideal body we all want. I feel language can be more subtlely powerful than we think and perhaps a better frame would be “healthy” “vibrant” “sexy” or “strong”? Just a musing. You are incredible though Nisha, have a blissful day xx
Yes! That’s what I’m saying, Loise 🙂 That so many of us say we want to be “skinny” or “successful”, etc. And what I want to know is, how do we think we’d FEEL if we achieved those things, and let’s focus on those *feelings* instead. Much more empowering. Thanks for reading, Louise! Glad you’re here, sister. xo
Thank you, Nisha! This resonated so deeply with me also.. I ‘needed’ to read this! I’m in need of self care more than anything in my life right now. xo
So glad this resonated, Pamela. Much love to you, sister. xo
Perfect timing…thank you for sharing yourself in this way Nisha. This is beautiful 🙂
Love this. I feel so many women are being called into this space, myself included. Thanks for this!
So beautiful Nisha – and exactly what I needed to hear today!