Tender, Self Nurturing Daily Rituals

To be softer.
To be more patient.
To love without expectation.
To be attentive to the little voice within.

A re-introduction to Self

These were some of my ‘resolutions’ for 2020. Nothing particularly fancy as you can see. The intention was to relax into Being, and perhaps learn to love myself anew.

I am of the firm belief that the ones closest to us often suffer the spewing blood of our open wounds. In healing, we awaken a communal tenderness that flows and manifests into our surroundings.

As the odds would have it, the year has been a testing one for most if not all of us. I imagine like me, you’ve had your world turned inside out. Now more than ever it seems integral to take a stand and be firm in who you are, without the frills, without the many voices of who you should be. The dark corners within our hearts have been illuminated by a light that refuses to dim until we face ourselves in all vulnerability.

There has been a continued collective discomfort as we are forced to talk about issues that were ‘fine’ buried in a barren land. To put a cherry on top, time spent alone has left us no choice but to dance with our angels and demons (read Solace in Solitude for more context).

Clearly, clearly skillfully hiding our pain, emptiness, and purposelessness as we are so used to, can no longer suffice in providing temporary relief. It is time to be Whole.

In my attempt to tenderly nurture myself, I’ve adopted five daily rituals. I hope they find place and serve you on your journey in the unknown.

1. Wake up to gratitude

The roof over my head, the food on the table, an energetic toddler.
The morning light bouncing off the kitchen counter, a cup of tea from my life partner, another complaint from my mother.
The sweet scent of fresh jasmine flowers, a complete set of the sun salutation, these words as I write.

I might wobble through the day, but by just opening my eyes, the world I have created has already given me so much. You see, authentic gratitude begins as we take note of the mundane. This feeling engages the parasympathetic nervous system and allows us to truly relax into life.

(Keeping a gratitude journal would be a treat for the times you need a reminder of all the goodness you’ve cultivated).

2. Ease your way into the day

As a new mother, I have come to learn that I am my best when I feel like I am winning at this motherhood thing. A friend of mine recently said to me: ‘at the end of the day if things were a little harder than usual, remind yourself that tomorrow is another day to try again.’ I pounced on that golden piece of advice, and it has carried me through pretty much everything and anything I do not have control over.

It is no longer in my interest to do things half-heartedly, so, by giving things my undivided attention I become well aware of the energy I give and receive – a natural cycle that unfolds beautifully and to your best interest if you let it.

3. Reacquaint yourself with your body

“I came home. I enjoyed my bath. I enjoyed perfuming myself. I knew I was born for this, to do it over and over again. The ritual of dressing, the perfuming for love, for sensuality.”

A new crease here, an old birthmark there. Time spent beautifying this vessel, nurturing and tending to it, is the foundation of the journey within. I came to the realisation that despite what I’d put my body through – these dainty arms, this African bosom – oh, the beauty! and she still continues to serve my every command.

4. Learn something new

Living in a fast paced world and suddenly having to slow down can turn a woman’s world into a beautiful chaos. Now is a good time to learn pottery, start writing, learn how to sew, cook and bake if you will.

Learning a new skill boosts confidence while supporting your mental state with a temporary relief from aimless wandering. Moreover, these skills will prove handy as we get older and shed our constant need for materialism.

5. Revisit an old hobby

Just the other day, I remembered that growing up I’d always wanted a white garden table I could drape with a lace cloth, and it had to have six chairs nicely cushioned in pastel shades of linen. As I began to read and write more, this vivid memory came to light. 

Ah, the little things. I can count on both hands the “bookworm” certificates from my primary school days still hanging on mother’s walls. I may have blossomed into the woman I am now, and it took three maybe four books to awaken the little girl within. 

Go ahead and collect flowers for a self made potpourri jar if that’s what used to bring you joy – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by a hello from a younger, unadulterated You. The key to a world of imagination and creativity that’s been patiently waiting for you to come home to yourself.

Words by Khumoetsile Seamogano

A wooden story: unknown ordinary self-care objects for everyday use.

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