I’m super excited to introduce you to Christina Rosalie, an author and artist, who’s sharing her thoughts on self-love for this month’s series. This series was started by yours truly and Mara Glatzel, an incredibly gifted coach, blogger and writer.

We know that self-love can seem abstract and inaccessible. Our goal is to demystify self-love and bring you interviews with individuals who embody it.

I fell in love with Christina’s book, A Field Guide to Now: Notes on Mindfulness and Life in Present TenseI’ve already featured it several times here on Weightless and Psych Central. Christina’s writing is stunning, lyrical and bare-bones honest. She pours her heart out on every page.

What I love is that Christina encourages readers to practice self-care and follow our passions. She encourages us to savor the bites of every day and to listen to ourselves and our deepest yearnings.

1. How do you practice self-love?

Remembering to breathe, and bringing awareness to the moment at hand and really deeply observing: my strong legs, my steady heart beating, my clear eyes that are able to take in the pale sky and the snow melt falling from the gutters, the latte in my hands, or my pen.

When I do this, it gives me context and space to shift focus again back out into the world, and towards whatever I am doing in a way that offers more perspective.

Learning to take care of myself—to really listen to what my intuition is telling me I need, and then to take positive action—is an ongoing process for me though and my biggest challenge right now is learning how to allow myself to rest, to be unproductive and just still.

2. What book is a must-read for self-love, body image or a related topic?

I love Pam Houston’s book of essays, A Little More About Me. It’s bold and honest and truthful, and it delves into many questions of self-love and success and strength—and how these things are measured.

Also, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg is a book I return to again and again. It’s really about writing practice—but it’s one of the most forgiving, wonderful books about just bringing awareness to daily life.

3. What are your favorite ways to move your body?

I love to move in general—it’s one of the things that makes me feel most whole. In my book, A Field Guide To Now, I have a chapter on movement that is probably one of my favorite chapters in the whole book.

Running in particular heals me and refills the well. I love running without headphones, without distractions, preferably outside. I also love swimming, particularly in natural water—and if I lived near the ocean, I’d spend some part of every day in it swimming!

But really anything that gets me outdoors—walking, running, biking, climbing, snow boarding are all ways that I love to move. I love feeling strong—and seeing the tangible distance and improvement in skill that results from effort. I love the sweat, the focus, the feeling of being right immediately in the present that these sports demand.

4. What’s one or two things you wish women knew about appreciating and loving themselves?

I wish all women could feel their bodies as useful—and that beauty derives from that use, instead of just from their appearance. Climbing a rock face, running a 8.5 minute mile, riding down a black diamond for the first time in spite of your fear—these things make you feel the way your body, your strength, your softness, all of it is useful.

In our culture of screens and sedentary lives, we don’t spend nearly enough time moving—and at the end of the day rarely fall asleep with tired limbs. But bodies in motion are as they are meant to be: muscles flexing, sweat glistening, breath coming fast and evenly, the horizon drawing ever near. That is real beauty.

5. Who are your heroes?

My heroes are all storytellers of some kind:

  • Mary Oliver
  • Jane Hershfield
  • Alice Munro
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Terri Gross
  • Meryl Streep
  • Twyla Tharp
  • EB White
  • Richard Ford
  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Joan Didion
  • Wes Anderson

6. What do you think is your greatest obstacle in loving yourself?

The phrase “loving myself” has always made me cringe a little—it implies a self-indulgence that I’ve never quite reconciled.

I like to think of it rather as “feeling at home in yourself and your life” or “feeling at home in your own skin.” Which I mostly do. In general I’m deeply grateful to be who I am, and I think gratitude is essential to sustaining this feeling.

As for obstacles, the thing that deters me from things more than anything else is a fear of disappointing people.

7. How do you work to overcome it?

Still working on it…. and I’ve found it’s helpful to imagine the worst case scenario all the way out to the end—rather than letting the fear loom large and unnamed. What will really happen if I let so and so down? What will the real consequences be if I disappoint? The worst case scenario is usually not so bad.

Also, it helps to frame things in terms of time: Will this be important tomorrow? Next week? In a month? In a year? Thinking of things this way provides context and helps me to not take myself so seriously.

8. Anything else you’d like readers to know?

I would love to share my book with them of course—it is in so many ways a deeper exploration of these questions. It’s meant to be a guidebook of sorts. Both encouragement and proof that doing the work of showing up with the awareness in the moment can become the springboard for fruitful, joyful action.

More About Christina Rosalie

Christina Rosalie is a writer, mixed-media artist, and creative consultant whose award winning work and been featured in print and online. Most recently she has written for Kinfolk, Milk and Ink and the Los Angeles Review, and her mixed media artwork has been included in shows at Burlington City Arts gallery and SEBA gallery.

Christina has an MFA in Emergent Media from Champlain College, and lives with her husband and sons at the end of a long dirt road in northern Vermont. You can find her online at christinarosalie.com where she writes about the art of living intentionally, and the realness, hilarity, and wonder that results from the convergence of curiosity, creativity, and life with little boys.

Check out our other interviews with amazing ladies Tara Sophia MohrKate SwobodaMarianne Elliott and Anna Guest-Jelley.