Self Care with Cara Maiolo : Learn to Pause
AYS ambassador and co-founder + lead facilitator of Luminary Retreats, Cara Maiolo, offers personal development retreats, courses, and coaching to help women experience connected and fulfilled lives. Cara has joined us for a monthly series on Self Care, sharing prescriptive tidbits on how to foster self love and flourish in all that is you.
There is a difference between knowing how important it is to slow down, create space, and cultivate inner connection, and actually taking the daily steps to DO IT.
Believe me, as someone who helps other people develop healthy relationships with themselves, I absolutely know the value of putting in the actual time to be unscheduled, alone, present, and open to the quiet moments of my life. I teach people how to do this stuff.
But actually doing it…that’s a different story.
So what gets in the way? Of course I’m busy–we all are. I think it’s something deeper. Getting to know ourselves without all the embellishments of what we do–just being with who we are-–is extremely vulnerable. It’s a whole lot easier to check on that email, look again for new Instagram pictures, like a few posts, get going on the laundry, start that new project, call someone up, get a head start for the next deadline, go on a hike or click play on another Netflix episode instead.
Getting used to pausing, being with ourselves simply and wholly can be like a first date.
I mean, what should I actually say or do? What if I’m not likable or enough?
I’m going to throw out that important word again: vulnerability.
When was the last time you sat down and drank an entire cup of coffee or tea, from start to finish, with no multi- tasking? That means no computer, tv, phone, NPR, music, chores, conversations. Just you. (And no, espresso shots don’t count!)
Most of us need to learn how to lean into vulnerability so we can embrace its byproducts: creativity, connection, fulfillment, contentment, intimacy and joy.
If we want to actually experience the best parts of our lives, then we have to put into practice this important aspect of self care. Put down the 100lb. armor of busyness and open yourself up to the sweet simplicity of YOU.
And as dedicated yogis: notice, breath through and move toward what surfaces when you do.
Step 1. Choose your favorite mug.
Step 2. Start to boil the water.
Step 3. Choose a beverage that you know will make you feel really good. Like freshly ground coffee beans from your favorite coffee roaster, special tea leaves, or fresh organic herbs such as mint from your garden.
Step 4. Set up a comfortable space with your favorite blanket and a few cozy pillows. Maybe light a candle or two.
Step 5. Leave your phone in a different room, either off or silenced.
Step 6. Prepare your drink and bring it to your quiet spot.
Step 7. Hold your mug in both hands. Feel the warmth. Inhale the aroma. Engage your senses. Simply breathe and sip your beverage.
Step 8. Learn to pause. Practice being with yourself in a generous and nourishing way.
-Cara Maiolo, LPC, E-RYT with Luminary Retreats
So Cara.... Do tell.
How does yoga play a role in your life?
Yoga is the cornerstone of my relationship with my body. Through yoga I am invited to experience my body with gratitude, with curiosity and with openness. I can challenge myself. I can seek renewal and restoration. I can actually get a few minutes peace from the busyness of my own mind. Yoga helps me relieve stress, remember what matters most to me and return home to myself again and again.
What do you love to do? What ignites you?
I love to explore. In wild places. In countries I’ve never been. Within the pages of books. In yoga poses on my mat. In creating transformational experiences for women. In crucial conversations with others. And in the quiet depths of myself. Learning, growing, and seeking have always provided a constant fire of discovery and a deep well of inspiration for me.
What is Luminary Retreats?
Luminary Retreats is where bighearted, big-dreaming women come together to discover and nourish their best selves. We artfully curate experiences and education (via retreats and web-based courses) to help you live into your healthiest body, thriving relationships, deep contentment and your most inspiring work in the world.
Why did you start it?
Firstly, when one of the most talented women you know asks if you want to start a mind-body medicine and personal development business to educate and uplift women, you say YES! It truly is so much fun partnering with Amber Valenti Armstrong to create Luminary’s offerings.
Secondly, the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” We couldn’t agree more. Western women have unlimited potential due to our abundant access to education and resources, and a desire for more connection, empathy and understanding to influence our world. The only thing stopping us is often deep within ourselves. Challenges to our health, wellbeing, relationships and confidence impede our ability to make real and lasting change in ourselves, our families and in our communities.
We created Luminary’s retreats and courses to help the incredible women we work with grow into their most amazing lives, fulfill their potential and experience profound contentment. We empower women to better offer their unique contribution to the world by understanding how to take better care of themselves with the highest quality health care information available, and with a handful of powerful personal development tools.
Personal "Why" - Why do you do what you do?
Because this is my way of contributing to my community. And beyond. After over a decade as a Psychotherapist and Yoga Instructor, I want to provide educational services and resources to help women come together and grow into their healthiest, most thriving selves. Plus, I’m a health and wellness geek. I seriously love researching and growing and I love to share what I’m learning with others. I want to live in a world where compassion, connection and courage help to bring out the best in humanity.
Words of wisdom - If you had one message to share, what would that message be?
Oh no, this is too hard for me to answer! But I will say that I think the most important things in life are our relationships. Your relationship with yourself. With your body. With the people you share life with. With your work in the world. I believe that when we strive for health in all of these relationships, the world becomes a better place to live. And our experience of this life becomes richer, sweeter and more profoundly connected.
Anything else you would like for us to know?
I couldn’t do the work in the world that I do without the support of my amazing husband, Brent Maiolo. Thank you Brent for your unyielding belief in me. And for helping me stretch, grow, engage and live into the best parts of life.
Check out www.luminaryretreats.com and follow on Instagram @be_luminary