Ritual & Rhythm: Hosting Guests

Many thanks to Caren McLellan Gazley for this summer Ritual & Rhythm series. You can order Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care and other books, courses and accessories from our shop until Wednesday, 7/3, when we'll be closing for our Indie Kindred Summer Tour. The Indie Kindred Shop will be open all summer.  Tomorrow I'll begin a short flurry of film stories before I go. 

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

Another interruption to our rhythm of daily rituals can come in the form of hosting guests. And since it is the season for travel, many of us will be at home hosting, rather than traveling. I love having people stay; including them in our everyday lives, taking them to see the sites that we tend to take for granted, preparing their favorite dish of mine. All of it is a joy.

However, there is a cost when I don't implement my rituals in the fashion I am accustomed to whenever I have visitors.

Again, I remind myself that my daily routine of self care is there to serve me, not to rule over me and become a set of 'laws' that I must adhere to or I will suffer. This is time for some creative thinking. Perhaps move my yoga and deep breathing into my bedroom instead of the living room, or include my guests into my rituals where I am able and when I think it will be comfortable for them. 

One of the most important aspects of integrating self care into the fabric of your everyday life is becoming aware of 'who' you really are as a person and then moving into comfort and acceptance of it.

This means being hospitable to yourself as you would a guest.

Sometimes I start to feel guilty about keeping my practices when I have visitors around, and then I remind myself that if I am being hospitable to myself and taking care of myself then chances are I am taking better care of them. If I can learn to listen to what my body and soul are saying to me, then perhaps it will help me to hear the unspoken needs of the dear soul that has come to stay as a guest in my home.

During these times, communication goes a long way. It only takes a few minutes to explain what you are going to be doing, if you desperately need a nap (alone time), or a quick 20 minute walk. Most guests will understand and it may help give them permission to do the same. For the occasional guest that doesn't understand? Well, try and just let it go, because not everybody is going to 'get it'. I remind myself that I didn't always understand being deliberate about resting, recharging and making space for myself, either.

Blessings, Caren

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Caren McLellan Gazley is a soul care specialist and human rights activist whose work has led her to places like Mauritania and Albania. Still and L.A. girl at heart, Caren has deep wisdom drawing from her rich personal experiences about caring for yourself in the midst of parenting, partnerships, community and passionate work. She is the author of Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care.

Ritual & Rhythm: On the Road

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

This is the season when many of us are embarking on holidays or short trips to see family and friends. Some of this travel will involve young children. I wrote about how difficult it was for me to get ready for this present trip (I am currently writing from Amsterdam).

Many of the challenges of maintaining a rhythm of daily self-care come while we are on trips. 

For instance, I thought ahead about the things I would need on this work related trip that involves three countries and many unknown factors about housing, food, and privacy levels. I planned for the things that would help give me mental health and well being: yoga travel mat, candles, music, herbal tea, journal/sketchbook, essential oils and carrier oil. 

When I arrived at my first stop, I realized straight away that some of these things were going to be hard to do. For instance, two of the rooms I stayed in have a No Candle Burning rule. One place had a bath, the other two did not. Two places were too small for me to do my regular stretches (remember, I'm in Europe). One stop had a gentleman that can't abide scents of any sort. 

You get it, right? After my initial frustration, I began problem solving and tried to rework my moves. Sometimes this involved seeing things differently. I was walking more, so I worked on deep breathing. When it rained and I couldn't walk, I would stand in front of the open window. I placed Lavender oil on cotton and shoved it in my pillowcase, and since I couldn't bathe, I dropped some Lavender into my shower where the scent could get mixed in with the steam. The candle was the hardest, as anyone who knows me will tell you, but I carried it with me and lit it at dinner instead of having it in my room.

What are some ways that you can overcome your challenges? 

Be creative. Be determined. Take care. 

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Caren McLellan Gazley is a soul care specialist and human rights activist whose work has led her to places like Mauritania and Albania. Still and L.A. girl at heart, Caren has deep wisdom drawing from her rich personal experiences about caring for yourself in the midst of parenting, partnerships, community and passionate work. She is the author of Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care.

Ritual & Rhythm: Pacing

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

Photo by Caren McLellan Gazley

Some of the most challenging times for me to be diligent about self-care are around travel. Usually right before I leave on a trip, when I am on a trip, and just after. A couple of weeks ago, before I left for this present trip, I had an upset stomach, anxiety about leaving my injured daughter, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. I had just returned from Canada, and had about two weeks to get ready for this trip. My rituals were all over the place and my rhythm was less than peaceful. I had to get it together, but in an opposite way of years past. 

I made deliberate choices to take my time, sit and sip tea with my girl, visit friends and start packing. I tried, almost everyday, to get my stomach in good health, so walking and yoga were a "must". I attempted to listen to my heart and did the things that registered with my gut. When I looked at my To Do List and felt overwhelmed: I chose one or two things per day, instead of trying to run around like a maniac and get it all done. 

And this amazing thing happened...

In under two weeks my stomach felt better, I had greater peace about leaving my daughter (so did she), my anxiety disappeared, and I got EVERYTHING done I needed to get done (except maybe a little bit of food shopping). It was a huge relief and I enjoyed myself in the process.

So, my Note To Self for next time: Don't Stress if my Rituals are a bit out of whack. Be Deliberate about what is not negotiable and what I can let go of as far as my daily self care regime. It is there to serve me, not the other way around. 

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Caren McLellan Gazley is a soul care specialist and human rights activist whose work has led her to places like Mauritania and Albania. Still and L.A. girl at heart, Caren has deep wisdom drawing from her rich personal experiences about caring for yourself in the midst of parenting, partnerships, community and passionate work. She is the author of Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care.

Ritual & Rhythm: Interruptions

Hello friends! I'm weaving three different threads over here--the last round of edits for the final cut of Indie Kindred, details for our summer screening tour, and some apparel and accessory options to offer in conjunction with the film.

At times like these I need my self care rituals and rhythms more than ever, so I asked Caren McLellan Gazley (Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care) to send us some letters from the road as she takes good care during her own international adventures. Take them in like advice from a dear sister or a most kindred friend, and stay tuned for more Indie Kindred news and announcements to come.

Photo by Caren Gazley

Photo by Caren Gazley

{From Amsterdam}

I find it not too difficult to weave some practices of ritual into my daily life. At first, perhaps, there is the initial awkwardness of making something routine. Especially if it is not health related. But overall, once I realize the powerful impact it will have or the emotional stability it will reward, then I start working on implementing it straight away. 

Where it becomes a challenge for me is when my routine is interrupted. And this may sound crazy, but when my children were quite young, it was easier for me to have less interruption in my daily life because they had to have routine. Now, I am often all over the place with a routine. And so the challenges for keeping my rituals are sometimes tricky. 

I've had to come up with some strategy for problem solving those times when I get off balance and need to recover a sense of well-being, wholeness and health. I confess, I am still learning some of these moves.

The most important thing I've learned about challenging times when my rhythm gets knocked out of place is: DON'T STRESS IT!! This only makes things worse for body and soul. It might seem an obvious choice, and the more relaxed types amongst us figure these things out quickly. For those like me, who aren't naturally attuned to their hearts...it takes recognizing and choosing the opposite.

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Caren McLellan Gazley is a soul care specialist and human rights activist whose work has led her to places like Mauritania and Albania. Still and L.A. girl at heart, Caren has deep wisdom drawing from her rich personal experiences about caring for yourself in the midst of parenting, partnerships, community and passionate work.