What can you intentionally shift?

What can you intentionally shift?

I imagine that most of us in this community know how to braid hair. Even if you haven’t braided for a long time, your muscles have the memory of the over-under pattern, how to pass the sectioned hair between your hands, etc. You may also know more specifically how to French braid, as well as know, whether you realized it or not, how to reverse French braid (also known as Dutch braiding). Reverse French braiding always seems to be a little more ‘fancy’ than your everyday French braid. (Go ahead and Google some images, we’ll wait!)

I personally default to ‘regular’ French braiding, and like most of us who know how to do this, can do it without looking, again relying on my automatic muscle memory. It may not always look perfectly neat and tidy, but it’s functional enough.

Recently I realized that if I simply pause briefly when I am about to start a French braid, I can in fact easily switch into ‘reverse’ braiding mode. It’s the same sectioning and hand motions, just a reversed over-under pattern. Because it’s not as automatic, I do have to think a little more intentionally as I’m doing it. But otherwise it’s the same familiar process, that now leads to a completely new result.

Anyone else notice a parallel between braiding and our self-care practices?! Sometimes we engage in activities that are totally good enough, get us the results we need, and don’t have to take much conscious effort. At other times, maybe it is worth it to pause and consider how we can shift our practices even just a little bit, applying some renewed intention and attention, in order to get a result that can actually level-up our self-care.

Remember, we’re not talking about dramatic efforts. Just a small shift, building off of something you already know how to do. Maybe it’s starting some sessions at 10 or 15 minutes past the hour so that you get a break between meetings. Or doing something in the middle of a session that you usually leave to the end. Or starting with the end of a report or progress note, and then filling in the rest. Doesn’t have to be huge. Just intentional. And then noticing what new result you get.

What can you intentionally shift today?