Let It Go - A Cleansing Ritual For Critics
by Sica Schmitz | Posted on March 02 2018
“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
- Brené Brown
For sensitive, empathic people like us, it can be challenging to not absorb the negativity around us.
Really quickly, let me clarify what I mean by “negativity:” I don’t mean things that are unpleasant, or even uncomfortable. We live in a time when difficult conversations and tough work is absolutely necessary. What I mean by “negativity” are the words and actions that are based in anger or pain, and result in name calling, finger pointing, or the actual harming of others. Negativity is what happens when people use their unhealed emotions as the basis for their beliefs or platforms instead of approaching challenges from a place of connection and integrity, and it is especially potent these days. Whether it's the political discord that seems impossible to avoid, disagreements in a variety of interpersonal relationships, or those inevitable critics we creators seem to attract, there are a lot of negative emotions flying around and it takes a lot of active self care to stay grounded and focused through it all.
And it is essential that those of us who are leaders and activists and creators to stay grounded and focused. We have important work to do in this world and can’t afford to get lost in the loud negative distractions. Without proper grounding and focus, we can become reactivists instead of activists, defenders instead of creators. If we’re stuck in a cycle of reacting and defending against the things happening around us or being said about us or done to us, we’re not going to be effective change makers.
So, let’s take a deep breathe and wash it all of (literally) with a healing bath. If you don’t have a bathtub you can just modify this with a shower or another vessel of water, so feel free to adapt accordingly. Or go visit a friend with a bathtub, or use this as a perfect excuse to make a new bath-adjacent friend!
As you draw a hot, cleansing bath, start by setting the tone. I really love creating sacred spaces using handmade candles, fair trade incense, or maybe even a full body smudging to really clear things out.
This is your time to nourish and release, and our senses can help, starting with scents. Now that I live in the Lavender Capital of North America I like to add local lavender to my water, but if you don’t have a lavender field close by you could consider moving or maybe just bringing the lavender to you. For other aromatherapy options, I love everything from Twinkle Apothecary. Each ingredient is thoughtfully sourced, handmade in America, vegan, cruelty-free, and fabulous, of course. Plus everything smells so nice.
- Essential Oil Diffuers: just add a few drops to your bath
- Aromatherapy Roll Ons: these are perfect for the shower – just roll some onto the middle of your chest and as the hot water hits you, the the scent will release
- Crystal Bath Bombs: because some situations require a little extra strength protection
After living in the busyness of Los Angeles for so many years, I've grown to cherish silence, however music is also a nice addition to your bath. Pandora has a “Relaxation” station or you might want to try binaural beats to help smooth out your chakras (your Solar Plexus chakra is where you hold your personal power, if you're unsure where to start). You can find lots of free video options online with a quick search.
And if you want something refreshing and inspiring to listen to, Brené Brown’s talk on Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count is always the vulnerable, heartfelt uplift I need.
Once your sacred space is set up, slip into the water and let yourself feel warm, held, and light. Settle in, and try this release exercise:
Picture the person who has hurt you. Surround them in the softest, most beautiful healing white light. Picture them happy and peaceful, and say, "I forgive you for anything you have ever thought, said, or done that has hurt me."
Repeat it many times as necessary until you start to believe it (it's okay if it's a few... dozen... times). Then do it for anyone else you need to forgive and release. If your list is pretty lengthy or pretty dense, perhaps now is when you need to add some fresh hot water.
"Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world. We heal the world by healing each and every one of our hearts. The process is simple, but it is not easy.”
- Desmond Tutu
WASH IT AWAY
Once you've forgiven and released as much as you can, grab a bar of soap and literally wash away any feelings of negativity, resentment, or self doubt. Lather yourself up and as you move you hands over each part of your body, feel yourself letting go of everyone else’s opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. As a professional stylist, I can assure you those make terrible accessories!
I really believe in the power of what we buy and what we put on our body as paths to healing, and so I try to be very careful about what kinds of products I use. I love this lavender and eucalyptus soap because it's less waste (no bottles!), handmade in the USA, and donates 10% back to help victims of sex trafficking pursue justice. Obviously it's vegan and cruelty-free too (that's a given, on this blog!).
Something my mom taught me is that when we release something it creates an empty space, so it's important to fill it before someone else does. Maybe you want replish this space with love, joy, or peace (or all of them!).
One way to do this is through the Ayurvedic practice of self massage. You can use any lotion or oil - sesame oil is commonly recommended, though my favorite is Bead & Reel's Vegan Body Oil. It's named after one of my dear friends, the inspiring ballerina Agnes Muljadi, and helps to remind me to embody her grace and strength.
Pour some oil into your hands and massage it slowly from your feet up to your head. As you massage each body party, say (aloud or silently): “I love you ____.” I love you toes. I love you legs. I love you cellulite!
Fill yourself with this love, even if you don’t mean it (yet). You truly deserve to hear it, and feel it.
Wrap yourself up in something soft and soothing (this floral print robe is a fabulous silk alternative).
Repeat as often as needed. And then go out there and be a glowing example of a grounded, focused, and compassionate creator.
A note on ethics in writing:
Many of the items in this piece were kindly gifted to me - and you will continue to see them in future stories. I may sometimes (but not always) use affiliate links in my blog when talking about products or services that I truly suggest, which means that I may get a small commission if you end up buying or trying something through a link I share. This is one of the ways that I continue to fund the stories and programs that Bead & Reel creates and supports.
Lastly, I love getting your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, but unfortunately this system won't let me reply back. If you have a question, feel free to write me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org