Massage for the Soul

I have a nameplate necklace my grandparents gave me, and these days I wear it just about every day, along with my tiny skull and bones charm necklace. I’ve had the opportunity to chat about both my grandparents and the name plate necklace a few times lately, which has really got me thinking about what’s important to me about the jewelry. Sure, I like the way they look–the name necklace is sweet and pretty, while the charm is a teensy bit badass — but there’s more to it than that.

My Shoshanna necklace was the first item I owned that had my name printed on it. I remember longing as a girl, to be able to find–off the shelf–a mug or a keychain, or one of those mini license plates or pens with my name printed on it. Growing up in the suburbs of Houston, I never met another person with my name until I went away to college. There, as it turned out, I met five Shoshanna’s (all spelled slightly differently), and even lived with one (we’re still friendly).

Following some friend drama (that was a big trauma for me, and perhaps a future blog post) in the 4th and 5th grade, I became pretty shy and unsure of myself. I was lonely and longed to fit in, and I’m pretty sure my wistful “name on a keychain” hunt flowed from this space. My grandparents really truly loved me, and had my name necklace custom-made for me. I love it.

The Shoshanna necklace of course reminds me of my beloved grandparents themselves, but also of all the gifts they brought into my life. My brother and cousins and I spent a lot of time with them when we were young, and they instilled in me a love of the arts and culture, in being creative and crafty, of intellectual curiosity, of striving and competitiveness, of having fun adventures, of being connected to others, and in playing tennis, cards, and other games. The skull and bones necklace? It reminds me not to take myself so seriously, and to be a tiny bit less “good.”

Engaging in this inventory has been good for my soul. It’s reminded me of the things I really love about myself, which, in the busy-ness of life, can be so readily overlooked. Instead, it is much easier to be self-critical and to feed the ways we bash ourselves. This experience has propelled me to add time for reflection to my self-care menu: A massage for the soul, if you will.

So, I ask you to take some time to consider: What are the things about yourself you love or like? How can you connect to yourself and what’s important to you? What’s a positive thing you can tell yourself? Are there any objects or symbols that can anchor and ground you? How can you massage your own soul?

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