The Nurturing Spiral.

(I’ve been going back and forth about this. Is it a spiral, or is it a circle, or is it a web? Perhaps it is a spiral, ever unfolding. Perhaps it is a circle, full, complete, whole, the womb. Or perhaps it is the web, delicate, intricate, natural, wild… For now, I’ll call it the Spiral and let us go with it where it unravels.)

This week I’d like to introduce you to the Nurturing Spiral.

The Nurturing Spiral is quiet simply a consideration of the unique qualities that together create the whole you. It’s a way of looking at, and in turn understanding, what makes you YOU. All the different parts, ever changing and expanding as we progress through life. It’s about finding out what works for you now. And once you get to really know your self and what works for you, then you begin to understand what you need to remain whole, healthy, in balance.  What you need to be happy!

It is one more way of getting to know yourself better – and in the process, we learn to know others better. Because once we see the uniqueness and completeness that makes up our own self, we are better able to look beyond, see and understand the uniqueness and completeness that make up others – especially those we love, care for, are close with, and work with.

The Nurturing Spiral represents the ten elements of the whole person that together create the complete self. These elements represent the ten aspects to our full life. From these ten elements, we then discover all the unique and diverse ways in which we can be nurtured – how we can honor and fulfill the needs of each element. And guess what?  Now is the time to be nurtured! To be fulfilled and balanced, each of these elements is addressed and honored in your own special way.

It helps to visualize this, so here we go – back to Arts and Crafts! You can draw a spiral and treat it like a circle (the circle representing your whole self), or to keep it simple, let’s start by just drawing a circle – a nice big one on a clean sheet of paper. Then, divide that circle in half, and divide each half into five sections. All in all, the circle gets “cut” into ten sections, like ten pieces of pie. Each section will represent one aspect of the self, one element of the Nurturing Wheel – and all ten together represent the whole woman, your complete self.

And what are the ten elements of the complete self?  They are: your self, your body, your mind, your soul, your sexual energy, your community, your feelings, your connection with nature, your spiritual practice, and your tribe. The balance and preferences, strengths and weaknesses of these ten elements differ for every person. Those differences are the formula for our uniqueness.

For now, let’s look at your distinctive balance. Let’s also take a look at what you might find nurturing within each element of the whole self. What works for you, bringing you comfort and peace, contentment and balance? This is important to understand, because throughout your pregnancy, your birth, and certainly during the postpartum period, self nurturing is essential. So is finding ways to be nurtured by others – and allowing, even encouraging that. And likewise, in considering each element, you may find patterns that have persisted, or ebbed and flowed, or maybe even shifted. In other words, what used to bring you comfort may no longer hold true for you. This is a great tool to explore and find out just that:  what works for you now?

So, onto the Nurturing Spiral. In each slice of pie, or rather each element, go ahead and write the element in large letters. For example: My Body. Then within the “slice,” please start jotting ideas down. Really brainstorm on what each element means to you. How do you define it? How does it feel? How important to you is it? How do you fulfill or honor this part of yourself? In what ways, for each of these elements, do you or would you enjoy being nurtured? Which three elements mean the most to you?  What would be a wonderful expression of each element for you to receive? There are no right answers here, and every woman will express herself – and enjoy herself – differently. Have fun with this and explore the Whole You! This is about discovery and learning about the whole self – and understanding how to self nurture.

Below, I’ve jotted down a few ideas for each element to get you started. These may work for you, and you may bring up others which work better for you

  1. Your Self – who are you? This is both on going and changing. Learning to look within for wisdom and understanding.  It’s about transformation. Who you are now may not be who you will be! It’s about acceptance – understanding yourself means knowing you are beautiful as you are though you are always changing. It’s about honoring your whole self.
  2. Your Body – the physical – senses, touch, the sensual; things like warmth, safety, comfort, pampering, dance, yoga, movement, sleep, aromatherapy, candles, clothes, fresh air, sunshine, color, bath, hugs, food, exercise, massage, cleanliness. Honoring your body, accepting, seeing the sensual in your changing body.
  3. Your Mind – the mental – your thoughts – intellectual stimulation – writing, thinking, reading, new ideas, meditation, mindfulness, books, deep discussions, knowledge, learning, birth stories and classes, communication, organization and clarity, poetry.
  4. Your Soul – the psyche – going deep, looking deep, intuition, understanding altered states, core beliefs, inner knowing, destiny, dreams, exploration, new ideas, card reading, visualization, soul work groups, meditation, stillness/silence, inner voice, inner wisdom, honoring your inner self, beliefs in God, the Divine, your place in the bigger picture.
  5. Your sexual energy – sexuality – touch, privacy, preferences, primordial, passion, senses, alive and aware and awake, openness, encouraging, appreciation, freedom, experimenting, cultivating, erotica, dealing with trauma, honoring your energy, expressions with others and with self, what feels good, what are you comfortable with.
  6. Your community – The social you – social events, meetings, staying in touch, reaching our and receiving, classes, dancing, dining, dinner, fun, friendship, belonging, belly casting, lullabies, ceremonies, parties, hanging out, chatting, get-togethers, events, rites of passage, place in community, changing roles, connecting.
  7. Your feelings – emotions – how you feel, listen, expressing, crying, laughing, joy, journal, gifts, compliments, love, allowing, hugs, chocolate, affirmations, appreciation, play, being heard, talking, feeling, mood swings, hormonal changes, honoring your heart.
  8. Your connection with nature – the natural world – your connection, belonging, sensing, understanding – walks in nature, stillness, earth energy, herbs, moon, getting in tune and in touch with natural cycles, fresh air, sunshine, the elements, chi, yin and yang, tea ceremony, silence, stillness, wind, rain, your wild side.
  9. Your spiritual practice – spirituality – expressing and connecting, how you honor the spirit, fellowship, belonging, prayer, teacher/guide/guru, silence, art, incents, nature, music, rituals, ceremonies, traditions, meditation, church, tea, aromatherapy, astrology.
  10. Your tribe – your family and/or those that matter most to you – belonging, family rituals and traditions, ceremonies, honoring meal time, reading together, conscious parenting, attachment parenting, family practice, how do you spend time together, having fun, the ones you love most and love you most.

In future posts, we’ll take a closer look at each element of the wheel – each aspect of the self in this special time of understanding and honoring the whole you.