In your power process, the inner summer is about the expression of your power in the world, daring to really be true to your own nature more than anything else. It’s about showing up as who you are. The sacred task to unlock this power in your inner summer is self celebration. Deep appreciation of yourself builds integrity and supports you to be at ease with who you are. Celebrating yourself, self appreciation unblocks the pipes of feeling unworthy, not ok, it’s the antidote to the doubt, shame and self criticism. And supports you to show up. In this blog Abi describes her process of reclaiming her full inner summer powers and delights, through the sacred task of celebrating herself.
by Abi Denyer Bewick
Self celebration – the critical medicine
What better day than my birthday to begin pondering self celebration, the sacred task of summer. For me self celebration is work, not something that comes naturally, rather something I need frequent reminders of from those closest to me. I am so happy to be celebrating others, this comes easily and feels great. But when it comes to me, it’s different, it feels awkward and indulgent, dangerous even.
Something feels risky in it, like if I take my eye off the ball and get all celebratory there must be something, or someone waiting to catch me out whilst I’m lost in the highs of happiness (the critic!!!). That alone tells you something of the state of my nervous system! I’ve also been thinking about what kinds of messages I received about celebrating myself, nothing very positive I don’t think, no strong role models and definitely the sense that it’s more appropriate to be self deprecating rather than celebrating after all “nobody likes a show off.” How difficult and uncomfortable it is to just say thank you when given a compliment. I’ve been reluctant to even receive celebration from others never mind sticking the word self in front of it! Yup no wonder it has been work to turn all that around.
I have however persevered, through the icky discomfort. Knowing deep down that this is really the antidote to the critic.
A turning point…
So self celebration is considered to be the sacred task of summer. To me it feels essential to get to grips with self celebration should I want to really connect with the full possibility of the gifts of my inner summer. Summer was a very challenging season to me for a long time, frequently experienced as too bright, too big, too demanding and overwhelming. The potential gifts of summer, action, being out in the world, lightness and exuberance, remained theoretical rather than lived. I knew the concepts but the experience felt far away.
So the journey to befriending my summer began with the energy and focus I put into my experience of the other seasons. One of my favourite concepts with the menstrual work is the idea that we can affect the place of challenge in the cycle by giving attention to the place opposite. This feels like a fundamental law of nature, one I am familiar with through my yoga practice too, maintaining integrity through my wholeness. So the obvious place was to commit to fully dropping into my bleed and the depth of winter. How would it be to really clear the diary, to fully engage with each of the chambers, dive head first into the darkness? Eek! Framed as an experiment, I committed to the “big bleed” and it was pretty dark but held in a wider container of awareness that everything was exactly as it should be. The gold for me in the winter was really letting go into surrender. Backed into a corner, surrender was my only option. This experience in winter helped me to trust that actually I could take my eye off the ball and survive. So I was left with the enquiry that if I could survive taking my eye off the ball in the depths of winter, perhaps I could do the same at the height of summer – and also still survive.
Summers since the enquiry…
I continued with the framework of experimenting, (another great antidote to an overactive critic) staying gentle and kind through spring, close enough to myself to really notice the subtlest of changes, it felt as though I was creating a protective layer around myself, a buffer zone, and I found that, without the feeling of over exposure in spring, the critic stayed quiet and a resilience was found. And I experienced the transition into summer as something ripe, expansive and powerful. Suddenly there was ease and juice and a bolder expression of me! Aha! It wasn’t theory anymore – and I liked it, I liked me, I celebrated me!
Deepening into self celebration…
So I had tasted it, and yes I wanted more! there was probably still an element of fake it till you make it during some cycles, I might only remember its importance once the critic was fully on the rampage, but to just keep practicing was my commitment.
The next shift came around for me during the training for the Menstrual Medicine Circle, I was pleased to be in the summer of my cycle during these days of training with Red School. I do experience more physical energy at this time so tackling new things feels possible and exciting, however learning to facilitate a new process seemed the kind of territory the critic would love to get its teeth into! But no. Not this time.
As a group we were instructed to park our critics outside of the building, this intention held by everyone created a really strong and safe container. I had learnt that for me to celebrate myself safety is the key, trusting that I am safe enough. Throughout the training, I experienced the power of immediate self celebration, with all the vulnerability of being a beginner, birthing something new and fragile. Immediately sharing with others the things I celebrated about how it had gone, fed and nourished me. With a feeling of fullness I was more able to meet and embrace the right and proper use of the critic, able to really acknowledge what I would like to be different, the areas that still needed attention and how I wanted to grow and develop as a practitioner of this new process. For me this took deliberate self celebration to a new level.
What my understanding and practice of self celebration looks like now..
In order to really work the muscle I decided to bring it in as more of a daily practice, checking in through the summer of my daily rhythm. It has always been easy for me to focus on what I haven’t done so instead I have been asking myself at lunchtime, what is going well, what can I celebrate about myself today. These small moments of self appreciation, even if it’s just for doing some laundry, they add up. They help to feed this buffer zone, this spacious expanded easeful feeling which makes anything feel possible.
It has been vital to me to have allies on this journey, friends to offer reminders and act as mirrors. It has also been vital to commit to a regular shared practice of intention setting, and perhaps more importantly to revisiting and reflecting on these intentions.
What is the gold I have discovered through taking on this task
That energy can flow in summer
That pleasure is possible and allowed
That I am allowed
That I am ok!
Abi is a passionate advocate for cyclical living and all things menstrual. She brings her embodied intuitive wisdom to her work with women, inspiring them to reclaim their power around their own health and the choices available to them. She works using the Menstrual Medicine Circle, Yoga, Grief Rituals, Eating Psychology, Nutritional Therapy and Functional Medicine to design personalised programmes to facilitate deep healing. Abi has a special interest in working with women living with fertility challenges and pregnancy loss. She is one of the co founders of Your Cycle, Your Month an online course supporting women to design their lives around the seasonal changes of their cycle. Follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram
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