Welcome to the first edition of In Reverence
On this series we ask 10 questions about self-care to folx we hold dear, honoring all kinds of voices and their Self Ceremonies.
We’re interested in digging into the ways self-care has helped people evolve past their own blocks, trauma and social conditioning. We believe in the deep healing path of vulnerability and compassion and how this can help us enrich our beautiful community.
For this first edition we're honored to welcome Jeevan Singh
1. What's your name and where do you live? Share a small bio to help us get to know you.
My name is Jeevan. Jeevan comes from the Sanskrit जीवन jīvana, meaning life, or more specifically that spark which animates every living being. I am a somatic womb and pelvic healer and embodiment coach based in Portland, Oregon. My purpose and passion is guiding women and people with vaginas back into the sanctuaries of their bodies, to reclaim their birthright ofaliveness and embodiment. The work I offer is experiential and holistic, founded on the belief that one of the most radical things we can do for ourselves and the collective is to cultivate self-friendship on both a physical and spiritual level. I hold a doctorate in East Asian Medicine, as well as a masters in integrative mental health. You can read about my work here: flowerhandwellness.com
2. When did you start taking conscious care of yourself?
Growing up, I learned a lot of ways to disregard my body, to feel ashamed of my body and to hide. My 20’s was a process of deciding if I was “worth” taking care of. As a mixed race South Asian person, I had little interest in yoga until an Indian uncle suggested it could help my asthma. I started doing yoga classes at 27 years old and got hooked. As my body became stronger and my spirit settled, I started weaving in more self-care into my daily life. That was almost a decade ago, and I now see it as a crucial turning point in my life. It began this chapter of life that is about cultivating and modeling self-love.
3. What is your definition of self-care?
To me, self-care is an extension of self-friendship. It is a life-long practice that shows up in daily, weekly or monthly rituals that fill a person’s cup and that reflect their own self-worth to them. It is compassion in action. When we are able to care for ourselves, to hold space for ourselves and to stay with ourselves and our experiences, we are able to do this for others. I sincerely believe that our own healing becomes healing for the collective.
4. How does self-care affect your life? How do you heal?
Self-care is essential to my life and the work I do. Self-care forms the foundation of my daily energy. As a small business owner, I set my own schedule. I’ve found that without self-care routines, the day feels a bit chaotic and unstructured. Self-care allows me to structure my day and prioritize my needs. Showing up for myself means that I can show up for my clients and students, as well as for my family and friends.
5. What is your current favorite Self Ceremony? How does it feel, smell, look, taste like? Please share as much as you like and feels comfortable.
I love, love, love doing Abhyanga in the mornings. This is a form of Ayurvedic warm oil massage that is done daily, except while menstruating. I pour organic, virgin, cold-pressed olive oil into a tincture bottle, then place that bottle in a cup of very hot water to warm it. Sometimes I add a drop or two of essential oils, like high quality lavender or sandalwood. During this self-massage, which begins at the head, I touch every single part of my body. A friend of mine, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner, said it’s as important how we touch ourselves as is the massage itself.
She said that in this massage it’s encouraged to touch one’s self with total tenderness, love and softness. This daily self-ceremony is a meditative practice of renewal that allows me to connect with my body, as well as to my ancestors. I am so grateful for it.
6. How do you know when you’ve been slacking? How do your red flags look like?
Ooof, I definitely know when I am slacking in self-care. I feel fatigued, irritable and overwhelmed, like my edges are frayed. I fall behind in my work and in communicating with others. As a healer and entrepreneur, it can sometimes feel counterintuitive to stop what I’m doing to take care of myself. However, I’m 100% certain that if I don’t stop to self-care, then I won’t have much to give to my business or life in general.
7. What is your inspiration to continue doing what you are doing? What is the fuel that keeps you going?
I am unsure if this is referring to my work or my self-care, so I answered both.
In regards to self-care, it allows me to return to my body. As someone who experienced many years floating outside of my body or rejecting my body, I have found self-care to be a very important part of my embodiment practice. As a woman of color, I also consider self-care to be a radical act of reclaiming my body and my agency, since I come from people whose bodies have traditionally and continue to be exploited and marginalized.
As a practitioner, teacher and visionary, the fuel that keeps me going is witnessing how intelligent our bodies are and how when we take the smallest steps towards healing, our bodies shift in big ways. Most of us want to feel good, most of us want to feel alive, most of us want to feel whole. This desire is so pure and so part of our fundamental make-up. It is our birthright to be in our bodies. Witnessing my students, clients and audience make brave steps towards themselves - this is fuel that keeps me going. I am continually humbled and moved by their courage.
8. What have you learned this past week / month? What are you getting better at?
This month I have been practicing respecting my boundaries at a whole new level, learning even more deeply how to gauge my energy, and how to identify and voice my yes’s and no’s.
I’ve been watching my inner fire when making decisions in my practice, business and life.
I watch and ask myself, “Does it light up?” “Does it dampen?” “Are there sparks?” “A sinking feeling?” My body is my compass and I am deepening listening to it to guide my decisions.
Self-care polishes my internal compass.
9. Tell us a fun fact about what you do, or something people may not know.
My wife and I live on a small piece of land in outer Portland that we call “Narnia” because it’s truly enchanted. We live near acres of a native botanical garden. Our neighbors include owls, coyotes, wild bunnies, eagles and frogs. Our family consists of two goats, six chickens, a dog and a cat. Touk, my wife, and I built an herbal labyrinth with the help of our garden witch friend Nora a few years ago. This will be the first year I get to harvest from our labyrinth. Each plant in it can be used in pelvic steaming, and I hope to create magical steam blends from the plants this year.
10. What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Or what is your message to the world?
Years ago a friend of mine had the chance to see an elder speak. She was over 100 years old and still in great shape. When asked what wisdom she had to share, she said, “Looking back at my life, I wish I would have laughed more. Tragedy and comedy are two sides of the same coin. Don’t take life too seriously.” As a creative, focused, and sometimes serious person, this advice has been invaluable. It’s a beautiful reminder to step back and light-heartedly witness this wild, beautiful, messy process that is living a human life.
Jeevan has just launched the Embodied Babe Membership - Being released before Leo season ends, this annual membership is a portal into the world of embodiment, ritual, cycle magic and seasonal wellness. Month by month, we follow and attune to the seasons in nature, as well as the seasons within our own cycles. We will explore the energetics of each season, and how to optimize our health and cycles by synchronizing to it. Members will receive a monthly live call with Jeevan, a monthly self-care practice, pre-recorded classes by expert healers and doctors in the field, access to this course library and more. In addition, we will be cultivating together a loving, inclusive community in a members-only Facebook group. This is a community for anyone who identifies as a woman, womxn, femme, non-binary, trans, genderqueer, gender-fluid and gender non-conforming and celebrates the beauty inherent in all shapes and sizes.