Updated: May 22, 2020
Why bother with healing? Because it makes us stronger. We have the capacity to heal, it’s wired into our bodies. But first we must have the courage to get present with the pain. Of course, if you are in a relationship with a therapist, you should check in with them first. There is so much of it, pain. The pain of being treated as less because of our skin color, gender, abilities, or sexual orientation. The pain of the toll that systemic racism takes on our bodies, our families, and our communities. The pain of knowing that justice is a luxury not afforded to too many of us. The pain of not being seen, accepted, or valued for who we are. It can be overwhelming. And perhaps more overwhelming is dealing the consequences of not looking at it. When we choose to look at the pain and be with it, our bodies, minds, and hearts will guide us towards what we need. In the middle of a pandemic, we don’t need to dig very deep to find the pain. It is out there, all around us. And it is compounded by the realities of systems of oppression that aggravate all pain. The pain is real. The struggle is real. For those of us freely choosing to make a difference in the world, choosing to heal societal wounds, choosing to design a new future; it is a MUST to do the work to heal our own wounds. Pain that is not healed, is transferred. It is not only our right, but also our responsibility to do the work to heal our wounds. While sometimes helpful and often advisable, I don’t always need someone external to me (shrink or a priest, friend or a foe) to make progress in my healing journey. I can choose to get on the driver seat of my healing journey. It is a divine gift how our bodies are wired for healing. Anyone who’s had a child or survived an illness can speak to the miraculous power of healing already built within our bodies. It is a journey, healing. It is not a one-time event. It never ends, because even when we manage to liberate ourselves from oppressive systems, life and love will bring pain of its very own. That we will suffer is a fact of life, and though unpleasant, it is part of the blessing of being alive. It serves as a reminder to cherish the innate joy that our bodies of culture contain and are able to access. Our pain and suffering grows our compassion and ability to be with another in their pain. By silencing or numbing our pain, we allow it to fester. By looking at it and dealing with it, we heal and transform it. In this series of articles and videos, I will share a number of different modalities for advancing self and collective healing. I have been a student of feelings and emotions since an early age. My sensitivity to the pain in the world, long considered a curse, now a blessed gift that tells me about what is really important in the world around me. I invite everyone on this collective healing journey. And I also invite other healers to join and share their wisdom. We hold the collective wisdom to heal ourselves, our relationships, and our world. Let's access it! Where to start? Right here, we got you!
For this first practice, I would like to offer the power and importance of a morning and evening routine that supports your healing. The way we start our day has direct impact on the quality of our day. The way we end our day has direct impact on the quality of our sleep, our much needed and hard-earned rest. A big proportion of healing happens while we sleep, as sleep is our built-in mechanism for repair. If we can prioritize setting time aside to get our day started right, and end it right, we will be advancing our wellbeing. For those of us whose work is related to caring for others, teaching others, connecting others, serving others, it is imperative that we have a deep well to draw from. And we deepen that well within ourselves by implementing daily self-care practices that set us up for success. Here I offer what has worked for me. This may or may not work for you. I am not dictating the right way to implement these practices, I am inviting you on an exploration of what may support your own healing journey. My work has been supported by many healers, and today I’d like to name my spiritual life coach Erika Totten, who provided incredible support when I most needed it, and drove home for me the importance of a morning routine. And because I am someone who has always understood the benefits of a good night’s sleep, I am adding a night-time routine. This is an offering. You are free to take what helps you and leave what does not. If a routine is something that is difficult for you to establish, I recommend an accountability partner for the first seven days, as a minimum, but longer if needed. Erika served as my accountability partner for the first seven days of my journey. I chose what time I wanted to complete my morning routine by, and then texted her daily with my completed checklist. If I did not text her by the agreed time, she would check in with me and just say “How was your morning routine?” That reminder made the difference for me of whether to keep my word to myself or not. Any amount of time you can set aside will be a good place to start. The important thing is to create time to center ourselves in our bodies before getting started with our day. I chose to not have children, and I am observing what a privilege this has afforded me in the quality and quantity of me-time. If you have children or others you must care for, think creatively of other ways to carve out time for yourself at the beginning and end of your day, or check-in with friends in similar situations to find out how do they find balance. Ask your live-in partners for support to make the time for yourself, if needed, asking for what we need is a great self-care practice. Don't forget, our community is our greatest asset. Here is where to start:
Choose at what time do you want to start your morning routine every day, and for how long. It’s ok if some days it’s longer than others. Sometimes my morning routine is 5 minutes, sometimes it’s an hour, mostly it’s somewhere in between. I have a different start time for weekdays and weekends.
Choose what do you want your morning routine to be composed of. Tending to body, mind, and spirit would provide an integrated balance to support all of who you are. A combination of mindfulness (quieting the mind by being present in your body), spiritual practices (reading scripture or poetry, prayer, or anything something that soothes your spirit), and movement (yoga, stretching, walking) provides a great balanced grounding for your day.
Create a weekly checklist with your morning routine, and place it next to your bed or nightstand. Check off each item after it's been completed. It will give you a big sense of accomplishment, and you can snap a picture of it and share it with your accountability partner.
Consider removing your phone from your nightstand, so that you do not automatically engage with the outside world as the first thing you do in the morning. Try checking your phone only AFTER you have completed your morning routine. This way you prioritize your internal world, over the external world.
Ask for help from a friend if accountability would be helpful. You can let them know every day that you have completed your routine. And they can lovingly remind you of what you have committed to for yourself, if they don’t hear from you by a certain time. Right now I’m supporting a friend who has committed to completing her morning routine by 9am, and text me to let me know. If I don’t hear from her by 9:30am, I check in just to ask: how was your morning routine? That’s all. You can start with just 7 days to set a habit, or go as far as 90 days to really cement it. It’s up to you.
Just as a sample this is my morning routine, yours can be whatever you need it to be.
Gratitude (express thanks for the blessings in my life, I do this before I get out of bed)
Brush teeth/Wash & Moisturize my face/Drink a large glass of water
Journal (about anything insights I had during my time of mindfulness/meditation)
Look at my to-do list and decide what’s important for me to focus on today, choose HOW do I want to spend my day
For my evening routine I have set a timer to remind me when it’s time to start preparing for bed.
Put away all screens – phone, TV, tablets, etc.
Journal (about anything that still needs processing from my day, may include some of what I would like to do tomorrow)
Read something on paper that nourishes my spirit or brings joy into my life
Express gratitude that I made it through the day
If you don’t already have a journaling practice, the 5-minute journal questions were very helpful to me. It has a total of five questions, three for the morning and two for the evening. Feel free to add anything else that you would like to capture. Morning prompts: 1. I am grateful for… 2. What would make today great? 3. Daily affirmation: I am _______ (Go ahead and have the courage to define or affirm yourself. You have the power to choose and craft who you are and who want to be!) Evening prompts: 4. Three Amazing things that happened today 5. How could I have made today even better?
If you have never tried Yoga, I highly recommend starting with body-positive and holistic practices like that of Jessamyn Stanley who wrote Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body. She offers free yoga classes from her studio The UnderBelly Yoga on Instagram. I hope that this is helpful. Let us know if it was! I would be most thankful if you would share this article with a friend and tag us on IG at if this was helpful to you in any way. Drop any questions, comments, or other helpful tips you may have on the comments below. And never forget: we are all healers because our bodies are wired for healing. #WeAreAllHealers #HealingCollectively