“We are the greatest thing that will ever happen to ourselves. Believe it, it will make life easier.” – Melody Beattie
Self-acceptance feels pretty simple and straightforward in theory. It is often defined as accepting all aspects of yourself, the “positive” and the “negative,” fully and unconditionally. We hear slogans or ideas like “just love yourself!” or “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you supposed to love somebody else?” which are valid and true. But how often have we really been given the time, space or encouragement to love ourselves not in spite of our flaws and imperfections but because of them? As someone who grew up in the 90’s in an Irish Catholic family, it’s safe to say the idea of self-acceptance isn’t something I was even aware of until it was my only option. During a time of deep grief (and my good old Saturn Return!) I began to dive deep into practices to help cultivate radical self acceptance and love for myself. Through my personal exploration, three of the many practices that have helped me deepen my connection to myself and my practice of self acceptance are sound healing, essential oils and connecting consciously to my breath.
Where it all began…
My first experience with sound healing was during a workshop at the start of my healing and wellness journey. The workshop consisted of various healing modalities that night but the sound healing portion was the part of the evening that was the most impactful for me. The sound bath created a healing space for me to connect with myself through meditation and deep listening. In order to fully tune in and listen to my body for one of the first times ever, it required me to quiet my mind and surrender to the healing vibrations of the session. Sound baths have been a vital part of my personal practice of self-acceptance ever since. Incorporating sound healing into my life consistently over the past few years has been one of the most effective ways to release stress, to release overthinking from my daily life and to learn how to connect to my body through sound and intuition.
Like many of the practices I now incorporate in my daily life, my exploration with essential oils came to me through the encouragement of an incredible teacher and friend. I was inspired by the way they used essential oils to help transform their health and well being in their daily lives. I also couldn’t help but notice how much happier they were! My friend introduced me to the benefits that essential oils can bring topically, internally and aromatically. Incorporating essential oils into my practice at home as well as with my clients has helped deepen the work that we do together through exploring smell and the way it triggers memories, thoughts and feelings in our bodies. Working with essential oils has also reminded me how to connect to myself and my body with more playfulness and joy.
For me, connecting to my breath has been the most powerful and transformative practice in my life. Breathing is our life force. We cannot live without breath and yet we are rarely encouraged to take the time to consciously connect to it. The world of breath exploration and connecting to that life force transformed my life and my work at a cellular level. Improved sleep, balancing blood pressure, release of stress hormones and strengthening the immune system are just a few of the benefits of conscious breathing. Health benefits aside, the emotional benefits of connecting to my breath have been the most influential for me. Connecting to my breath and learning more about the mechanics of breathing has given me a new found freedom to explore my emotions fully. Similar to the benefits of connecting to sound or our sense of smell, breathing required me to strip away my need to do anything but be present. It has allowed me to connect to parts of my body, my consciousness and my true self that I spent so many years “too busy” to pay attention to. Consciously connecting to my breath has required total surrender to the present moment. It has helped me to let go of my need for control, step out of my ego self and into my body to connect more fully and completely to myself. Conscious breathing practices allow me to hold space for all of me and to love myself not in spite of my flaws and imperfections but because of them.
The gifts these modalities have given me have made a lasting impression
After years of working with sound healing, essential oils, breathing techniques, reiki and so many other healing modalities I can see the transformation that has taken place within my body, mind and soul. They have not only expanded my health within my body, mind and spirit but have also significantly increased my capacity for love and compassion for myself. And the one constant that I keep returning to is that self acceptance truly is a practice. It is a practice that requires consistency, loving kindness and empathy. And a really healthy sense of humor in the moments when you need to remind yourself that we are not here to be perfect, we are here to be human.
This post was written by Katie Healy – Breathwork facilitator + Certified reiki practitioner