Karen Horneffer-Ginter
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What We Need

Just after the holidays, I found myself feeling a bit depleted. I knew I wasn't alone in this experience from the similar refrains I was hearing from others. It's always odd how such a sacred and joyful time of year can leave our inner-fuel tanks run down from having shown up for all the good things we want to be a part of. All the same, I realized I was in need of some type of a recharge, and as I reflected on what this might involve, the word, "inspiration," popped into my head.

"That's it," I thought, being struck by how helpful it was to put a word to my longing. Somehow, naming what I needed allowed a cascade of helpful ideas to arrive: I need to see beautiful photographs, and read some uplifting news about good things happening, and take in the magic of poetry, and listen to some good music with honest lyrics, and laugh at a well-written comedy, and . . . The brainstorm went on and on, and I was surprised to find that I began to feel more rejuvenated just in thinking about the types of things that felt inspiring.

In yoga classes, I sometimes lay out an assortment of index cards with various words written on them to represent the sorts of qualities we're often looking for in life: energy, calm, clarity, acceptance, release. I'll invite people to pick up a word they feel drawn to and use this as a catalyst for thinking about how they might bring greater balance to their lives. I've become so fond of these words that they inspired me to create a deck of "wise words", so that people could have such one-word prompts to take home with them. It can be useful to randomly draw a card for the day, or to flip through them and see if there's a word that captures something that's just on the edge of our thoughts, and that, once articulated, offers clarity about how best to support ourselves.

Even without written cards, we can do such an exercise in our mind. Try this for yourself. If you were to name one word to describe the quality you could most use right now, what would it be?

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Nov. 1, 2012:  10 Breaks to Offset Fall's Busyness
Sep. 1, 2012:  Bringing the Best of Our Intelligence to Self-Care
Aug. 1, 2012:  How Low Can You Go?
Jul. 2, 2012:  Accepting When There's Just No Time
Jun. 4, 2012:  Optimizing Our Self-Care
May. 1, 2012:  What We Need
Apr. 1, 2012:  The problem with self-care

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