WELCOME to THE WHOLENESS PROJECT | an invitation to walk a path that honors your whole song by taking the time to live a well-lived life, nurturing and nourishing your whole self, in body, mind, heart, and soul.
Stella came running down our creaky old stairs a few mornings back, panting and eager to tell me that she had figured it out! I assumed she had nailed out a new knitting stitch or a math problem we’ve been working on, so when I asked her what she discovered, I was rather unprepared for the weight and complexity of her answer, to which she replied, “We have four lives.”
“Four lives, eh? Tell me more.”
We sat together on the army green cot in the living room where she began to unravel her newfound truth. She began to tell me, “Our first life is when we little, like me right now, our second life is when we were moms and dads, like you and daddy, our third life is when we are older, like great nana and papa, and our fourth life is after, up in heaven.” Motherhood is full of these moments. First your chopping carrots, and next you are talking about what the trees in heaven look like. Nothing can prepare you for the existential truths or the layer-cakes of questions your children will stir up in the muddy waters of life, but thankfully so. I like journeying with her on the spot because it keeps me on my toes. Also, I don’t have the answers, so there’s that. What I do know, is that she understands at a very young age that our lives, though linear, are made up of seasons. We are surrounded by the rhythms of the natural world, and also ones that are alive within us. She knows, though abstractly, that movement is a part of living, and seasons are how we grow.
Stella went on to say that she preferred to stay in the first two of her four lives, the young and mommy bit, because getting old was sad, and going to heaven was sadder. While I told her no one wants to die, and that getting older is indeed a challenge, there is goodness and hardship in each season. Not heaven particularly, but you know what I mean, for this really wasn’t a conversation about heaven per se, but more so about thresholds and introspection and growth. Stella was able to see herself in the bigger picture of life, and with that perspective, able to look ahead, outward, and inward. What a beautiful age six is.
I carried her thoughts with me all day and into the next. I pondered them while hanging linens on the line and loading the dishwasher. I revisited them when I stirred the oatmeal and watered the garden. They stuck to me like a thistle, and I’ve brought them here to share with you. Because when we realize that growth is both pain and beauty and joy and loss, we open ourselves up to wholeness. When we carve out time and hold space to water the seeds of our inner garden, we nurturing the flower within and helping her bloom. The Wholeness Project is about you and your journey. It’s an invitation to walk a path that honors your whole song by taking the time to live a well-lived life, nurturing and nourishing your whole self, in body, mind, heart, and soul. Which brings to me our first weekly practice…
I have recently been a part of a woman’s circle with friends, something I hope to share much more about in future posts, and there’s a ritual we do at the end of our time together that I think will add a lot positive energy to your week! To keep things consistent I am going to dedicate Fridays to self-care and lead this community in various ways towards reclaiming wholeness in their lives. It’s going to look different from week to week, however this will be our anchor. My friend calls it “The Queen’s Jewel” but you can call it whatever you’d like. It’s a three-pronged intention that with guide you towards you summoning gratitude, acknowledging hardships, and manifesting a vision. Each week I’d like you to journal your own Queen’s Jewel for each pillar of the whole self: body, mind, heart, and soul. In all, you’ll have 12 pieces each week to think on and refer to as you begin crafting your own roadmap towards healing through self-love and care. I am going first tell you about each component, and then walk you though my jewel for the week ahead.
3 Parts to The Queen’s Jewel
- One thing you are grateful for | This can be either big or small, but it must be something that brings you thankfulness. Your gratitude can be within the last 24 hours, like a seeing rainbow or going on date night, or something on wider plane, shaping your perspective in the grander scheme of life.
- One thing that’s undermining you | This can be either big or small, but it must be something that is pinning you down, heavy, or holding you back. Whatever is undermining you can be sadness from past, a present struggle or hardship, or a worry for the future. Regardless, it should be your hindrance, not that of anyone else.
- One thing you envision | This can be either big or small, but it must be something you want to work towards and make a reality in your life. Your vision can be tied to the things that’s undermining you, or not. It can be something you envision for the week, month, or year. Regardless, it should be looking ahead and full of passion and purpose.
I want you to keep a journal for your jewels, and write them for the state of your BODY, MIND, HEART, and SOUL. Here is mine for the week ahead to give you an idea of what this can look like. I am not planning on sharing my Queen’s Jewel each week, but will do so from time to time:
B O D Y | P H Y S I C A L N A T U R E
- I am grateful for the confidence I am cultivating with regard to my body image in going without makeup and letting my hair air-dry most days of the week. It has taken me many years to feel like I can go out of the house sans anything on my face except for moisture and a bit of SPF, and it feels good to look in the mirror and see me, pure and true.
- I am being undermined by my lack of consistency regarding physical activity and working out. I want to make it a priority, but most days I feel too tired and busy to commit. I know that my energy level will benefit from consistent exercise, and toning up would also help me feel healthier, but I always make excuses for doing it, and that feels heavy. Oh, and I would love to fit in my favorite jean shorts.
- I envision crafting a feasible and uplifting physical exercise routine that I can weave into the rhythm of my week. I envision both yoga and cardio, and want to do them outside of the home if possible. I challenge myself to four days a week for a month, and I will hold myself accountable by keeping track in my journal.
M I N D | T H O U G H T S
- I am grateful that I continue to carve out time to read. It is a true passion in my life, and I don’t let being a busy mom/writer interfere with that priority.
- I am being undermined by the mental stress that is writing a book. Although it’s been a dream project, it also has been mentally draining at times, leaving me feeling as though I cannot give any more creative energy to other areas of my life. There is so much I want to do with this space, and I fear all the time I am putting into my book is hindering that.
- I envision that I will listen to two podcasts and one video this week I have bookmarked. I really want to listen alone, and hope to find some time to that in the next few days. Perhaps on Mother’s Day?
H E A R T | E M O T I O N S
- I am grateful for having such a tender heart, and one that feels deeply, even though that means I feel sadness deeply, too. I am learning that is a gift and not a burden.
- I am being undermined by my adoption and knowing that it’s Mother’s Day weekend. I miss my birth mom, and I can feel those emotions stirring, especially now.
- I envision working on nurturing the relationship in my life I continue to keep thinking about, especially with regard to my adoption. I am going to make a call this weekend, to say hello and maybe more.
S O U L | I N T U I T I V E F E E L I N G S
- I am grateful there is a beautiful dove family nesting in the window of our home with two new babies. This whole experience has sang to my soul, filling these walls with so much positive energy.
- I am being undermined by the negative energy I feel sometimes on social media regarding some accounts. I am working through it, but can’t help but feel it’s weight from time to time. I think I need more days offline.
- I envision Mother’s Day to be a day that teaches me something about my journey. I am leaving the door open that day…for wholeness.
Welp, I hope that wasn’t too heavy! That’s my life right now, the good, the hard, and the hope. I offer you strength this week as you write and live out the jewels in your own life, dear one. And happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! What a gift you are to the world.
Did you miss a post? Here are the past reads for The Wholeness Project…
Meg - I hope you have a peaceful, joyful Mother’s Day, with space for all the different feelings it brings up. I like your journal idea – I’ve run into the “queen’s jewels” before as “the rose, bud, and thorn.” I’d never thought to apply them to different aspects of life or self! I’m curious about how to separate out heart and soul a little bit. Maybe it is an easy distinction for some to see or feel but I’m struggling. Hopefully I’ll catch on better as I follow along on Fridays.
Rochelle - Amanda, I loved this! Thank you for sharing so openly and for prompting with just good structure!
rachael - This is lovely! Thank you again for facilitating this “journey.” It is such a good, necessary reminder that each season has hardship and blessings, and that is just a part of life. I guess it goes along with the old adage – “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” As a person who also feels things deeply and has often felt weak because of it, or shielded myself from helping others because I become too emotionally burdened, your perspective and the call for wholeness is such a gift! I want to use my heart to do more good in the world, and I think adding self care will hopefully enable me to be better equipped to care for others. Xx
Taylor - Amanda, this is an excellent practice! Thank you so much for sharing. I was an AVID journaler in high school but stopped altogether once I started studying writing in college. I’ve been thinking of ways to get back into writing things down and taking time for reflection and I think I’ll try using this. Another blogger I like (Jones Design Company) reflects on the little things she has learned each month and I could see doing both of these together. I genuinely hope you have a peaceful Mothers Day, knowing it’s vulnerable and heavy for you.
Catherine - I have only just started following your blog but already you have given me so much to think about. I am dealing with the process of aging myself as I am now 65 and also my aging parents who are both 87. I have children and 7 grandchildren whom I love dearly. Time restraints mean I probably won’t have time to document everything as suggested but I am going to make a point of saving your post and revisiting it over the weekend.
PS. I love just caring for my skin and not wearing makeup on a day to day basis and just a bare minimum when going out for a special occasion. I think it better to enhance rather than cover up.
Courtney - I love this idea. I’m going to try and give this practice a go! Thank you Amanda. And your daughter is too precious. I bet she’s also an INFJ. <3
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