By Amie Mignatti
This new year began a bit differently for me than most do. I was in Austin, Texas (my hometown), for the past six weeks. Then, five days after my return, I cooked for my dear friend Selina’s yoga retreat on the Fraueninsel in the Chiemsee. My time in Texas was full of sunshine, of friends, of family, of being outside, of taking care of my child. There was very little time left to check in with myself, as I had hoped there would be.
Once I was in the kitchen at the retreat, alone, watching the snow falling silently and intently from pre-dawn until sunset, I caught up with myself. I reflected over the past year, over the successes and struggles, the happy moments and the sad, and started to get more and more clear about what it is that I want to accomplish in 2019. I was fortunate enough at this retreat to have help sometimes, so that I could steal away into a few meditation and yoga classes. These times, spent solely with myself and my heart, were invaluable. I realized that I had strayed away from the connection to myself.
I felt that I was coming home as I focused more and more on how I felt physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I looked within and found that some areas needed more attention and devotion. The week after the retreat, I started a three week cleanse (that I am still on), where I cut out dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, soy, gluten and wheat. After about five days I started feeling fantastic. I also began journaling and allowing all sorts of ideas to step into the light of day. I spent a lot of time outside; I practiced yoga and began meditating more regularly. I started to feel the connection again, the light coming back, the strength coming back, the power and the will to accomplish so much: not only this year, but in my life.
I’ve been on this journey into my own heart for many years. Some call it self-love, but I like to refer to it as self-understanding and self-respect. For many years, I would say to myself that I loved myself, but I realized that I didn’t always respect myself, and in turn, didn’t truly love myself. I often undervalued my work by putting a lower price on courses I offered, I took on much more than I should have in order to gain respect and attention from others in my field, I gave into fear when failures happened and stopped trying new things, I blamed circumstances for not moving forward and I allowed myself to be distracted so that I didn’t have to face failure and rejection.
Coming to terms with all of this through some deep soul searching times alone in nature, I realized that this isn’t what self-love looks like. Self-doubt will probably always be there, fear will definitely always be there, but I needed to find a way to move forward with these emotions, because they weren’t leaving me. One of the best things that I made a habit of doing is going to one spot in nature regularly and consistently (about once a week), and doing absolutely nothing but sitting under a tree and observing the world around me and the world within me for thirty minutes to one hour.
I took time out of my busy day, time away from the to-do list, from the noise, and from the movement of life to connect with myself on a much deeper and more real level. My perspective about myself started to shift. I realized what habits I had that weren’t the best, and I wrote down ways that I could change them. I slowly started to make these changes and soon I was able to transform some things that were pulling me down and holding me back into more positive and fruitful ways of living. I began to love and value who I am more and more, and know that the more I value myself, my time and my skills – the more others will value me as well.
This time is what I had lost while I was on my six week holiday in the States. I had lost the connection to nature and myself, but I hadn’t lost the love and respect. I have worked hard on myself over the past years, and continue to, to make sure that I stay true to my core values, beliefs and ideas and that I make progress – sometimes big and sometimes small, but always forward.
I would encourage anyone who is feeling distraught, unsure, unfocused and not worthy to spend more time, alone, in nature. This is a balm to any soul and can cause a profound shift in your all around health.
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.