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Best Therapist in Portland

my musings

take time in your life to nurture your own heart

People often come to therapy because they want to feel better. They want to feel more light and love and goodness. They want to feel less anxiety and more calm. They want to feel more contentment and less grasping for change. And we usually want this change to come from the outside. We want to get a partner or leave a partner. We want our children to grow up, or stay little. We want our bosses to get out of our way, or give us more guidance. We want the world to be better, or slower, or faster, or less or more or…or...or. And oh, we want this with all our hearts. And so we suffer. The world is too much, it's taking all our resources, and we are looking for a thing to make ourselves have more (energy, love, time, resources) to give. We talk about exercise and vacation and eating healthy. About setting boundaries and drinking less or sleeping more. And yes to all of this, right? Of course. But all of this takes resources and even if we manage to get that vacation and feel better for a bit, our (boss, child, husband, dog) asks for one more thing and we are back at square one. 

So let's define it. Self care should be

  1. reliable

  2. free (ish)

  3. easily accessible

  4. quick

A self hug. When I think of my self care ingredient list I think of sweet, simple, easily accessible things that give me a tiny dose of oxytocin or dopamine in my brain. A tiny self kiss if you will. Something that comes from a place of self compassion and love and immediately changes the way I feel in my body. Soothing lotion onto my hands. Smelling a flower. Lighting a candle. Feeling the sun on my cheeks. Listening to a favorite song. Putting a hand on my own chest and feeling–and I do mean feeling–it there. Washing my face and taking an extra 30 seconds to lovingly soothe the lotion in with care, rather than just going through the motions to check it off the to-do list. These things cradle our hearts and sooth our systems. They are microdoses of self love. These things do not, by themselves, change our lives. But when they become a regular and constant part of our lives and routines, then we are changing the foundations that our hearts rest on. It becomes a foundation of self compassion rather than judgment. A base of soft downy love instead of shame or guilt. 

Our kids are still annoying, our partners disappoint and our bosses have unrealistic expectations. But our hearts are full and we feel love in our own bodies. The key is that we have an ingredient list that we access many, many times a day. We sprinkle it in like grandma used to add ingredients to her soup. A little, a little bit more. Taste, let it simmer, sprinkle in some more. A little of this, a little of that. Taste, smell, touch. Feel your own self love grow. 

So what’s in my ingredient list? 


  • Doodling. This is a visual spatial activity that is very soothing to our nervous system. Many people love repetitive doodles that feel satisfying. Using colors can add to the visual experience. 

  • Watching birds, trees, clouds. Nature is visually soothing. Even little doses of it in our own backyards.


  • Sit outside and close your eyes. Identify as many natural sounds as you can. How many birds do you hear, can you hear the rustle of the leaves?Make a playlist of your favorite music to soothe your soul. Here is a link to my self-care playlist. Use it as a base to create your own.


  • Lotions take time to rub lotion onto your hands, arms, chest. Humans were designed for touch. Our brains revel in it. Touch yourself and FEEL it. As many times a day as possible. Find lotions that feel delicious to your skin and smell lovely. 

  • Next time you wash your face, make it a meditation. Notice the water, take your time. Be gentle and intentionally loving. Feels different, doesn’t it?

  • Find natural materials you love. I love stones and wood. Bring them into your space and hold them. Let them ground you and notice how the sensations travel through your fingertips. Collect favorites and keep them close. 

  • Have a favorite scent? Put some drops of it into water and freeze it into ice cubes. Take a cube outside and sit in the sun, rub the ice cube behind your ears, over your neck, or on your arms. A lovely way to mix touch and scent.


  • Grab a piece of chocolate and settle into a favorite spot. Maybe sit in the sun under a tree or snuggle under your favorite blanket. Put the chocolate in your mouth BUT DON’T CHEW. Hold it in your mouth and let it melt, fully and completely. Notice the texture, the taste, the world of sensation. Use the time to breath and pause and just indulge in the sweet sensation. 

  • Warm teas or flavored water


  • Take a handful of rosemary and rub it between your palms. Breathe it in. 

  • Smell a flower

  • Light a candle and breathe it in.

  • Keep a favorite essential oil next to your work space and take a moment to dab it on your wrist. Close your eyes and let the smell envelop you.

Make your own ingredient list. Put it on your fridge and spend a week investigating your senses. What feels good, sweet, nurturing to yourself. It's fun to make a list for everyone in the family, kids too! Notice what works for your nervous system and start truly  building self care into your life.

What feels good, sweet, nurturing to you. It's fun to make a list for everyone in the family, kids too! Notice what works for your nervous system and start truly building self care into your life.


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