Desi Valentine Holds Space For Himself
Desi Valentine knows a thing or two about self-care and its far reaching impact. A talented artist and shamanic healer, maintaining a balance within himself is crucial for his work in helping others. He takes us on a journey through his self-care practices, the value of listening to your body, and tapping into the silence.
What does self-love mean to you and how do you show yourself love?
Self-love for me is a deep knowing and appreciation of every aspect of yourself. One huge aspect of self love is understanding that there’s shadow and light within you, it’s who you are. There's going to be challenges, there's gonna be expansion opportunities, and self-love means being able to love every version of you, every part of you that comes up.
I do quite a bit of affirmation and mantra work. I listen to a recording, I call it a self-talk mantra. It’s basically all of the qualities that you love and celebrate yourself, that you speak them into a recording. And you listen to your own voice saying beautiful, kind things to yourself. Things you want to embody more of, things that you don't have yet and that you wish to have in your life. The things that you absolutely truly love and celebrate about yourself. That’s one one of my million practices.
Our thoughts are in our own voice. If you're trying to do some reprogramming, and have self-love advocating in mind, hearing your own voice repeated that way on a regular basis speaks to the subconscious mind, but also highlights when that voice is not being kind to you. A lot of the time when people are not in a place of self love, the words that are being said to them in their own minds are really derogatory, negative thoughts. This is one of those tools to come back from that.
Is self-care important to you and your productivity?
It's the most important thing. If you are not able to take care of yourself, if you are not able to nourish and properly nurture yourself, there's no way that you can sustainably take care of anybody else. And when you're working in the healing space, and transformational coaching space, you hold a lot of space for others. It's even more important to take excellent, exquisite care of yourself so you can continue to do the level of work that is required for powerful transformation.
What does self-care look like for you?
I do a lot of different self care methods. I do a breathwork and meditation practice every day. I also am deeply into the frequency of gratitude. I have a gratitude journal that I use each day. I also get energy work on myself. I also get massage work as well. Exercise is a huge part, I’m an avid gym goer and I have a personal trainer that I work with who is incredible. My diet is also another huge part of self-care. I do energy clearings on myself every day as well.
What are the biggest challenges you face in finding time or a practice for self-care and self love?
I've definitely experienced, especially when I first got into taking this kind of care of myself, that you sometimes forget the reason why you're feeling good. It's almost counterintuitive, but you're feeling so good that you feel like you don't need to do the practice self-care. “Oh, it’s fine if I miss a couple of days.” And then you end up not feeling great. And then you’re back in that loop of feeling, “wow, I wonder why I didn't feel great.” Well, you’re not doing the practices that made you feel great in the first place. It doesn't really happen to me anymore because this essentially is my work, I don't have the luxury, nor would I even not want to miss these practices. But I can't do the work to the same level and degree without having these self-care and self-love practices in place.
I think that when it comes to traveling, that's one thing that I know can be a challenge. It’s harder to be consistent, you're not in your space doing your routine, you don’t have your steady routine. When you have a high pressure job, or a lot of travel is required, that's another challenge. That's actually one of the reasons why I've targeted people that are really on the go. People that are absolutely traveling all over the place who don't really stay very still. Having somebody work with you, fly with you and be with you while you are traveling, to take you through these practices, and cleanse, clear and attune your energy, and to be that reminder to show up as the best version of themselves, it all makes a huge impact.
How does burnout affect your productivity?
I’ve experienced burnout and it was very debilitating. For me, it was one of those things where even trying to self-energize at all was very, very challenging. I'm very energetic and I'm very positive and joyful. That's one of the things that I really celebrate about myself. But through the burnout, it's almost as if you can't really see it. You can only see what is in front of you. But the ability to actually self-energize and be able to create energy from it, to be that inspiration to yourself, is the hardest thing. So everything is slowed down, everything feels labored. Burnout is a real thing.
It's a combination of different aspects of your life that get you to burnout. It's not instant. Every part of your body, every part of your system is telling you “we cannot continue this way.” The warning signs have been going off for a while, and you haven't listened to them, or made adjustments in your life to be healthy, and to feel vibrant.
How do you recharge your creative or productive energy?
Those particular self-care practices are absolutely pivotal. When I am feeling like I’m not able to connect, I take inspiration from the people around me. I have the most inspiring, amazing friends who can be very similar and different to me. One of my best friends is a lawyer, another is a psychotherapist. I've got all of these different people who see life and live their lives in completely different ways than I do. But their approaches are so refreshing and so cool, and actively expanding my perspective helps me recharge my energy.
How do you maintain your focus?
Being able to access stillness and silence help me gain a sense of peace within myself, my mind, and my body. The connection between those is vital. Breathwork, meditation, and other practices are amazing too, there’s no shortage of practices. But one thing that I've really seen is being able to go from action, to inaction, to action is the most important skill to have. Being peaceful during meditation is all good and well, but life is not like that. It’s stimulating and challenging, and it’s a million parts moving at once. There’s a lot you can’t predict or foresee. There’s a ton of stimulation. So being able to drop into a place of stillness is crucial.
I have a practice called the three breaths rule. If you’re in a place feeling overwhelmed, and finding it difficult to focus on the things happening around you, feeling your heartbeat can help. Take three deep breaths, and then make whatever decision you need to make. That is one game changer I have experienced. You’re affecting the neuroplasticity of your mind while creating new neural pathways to deal with stress. When you’re stimulated, your brain already knows how you’re going to react, and what is going to be the course of action. Being able to tap into your heartbeat can lead to less stress or panic in the moment.
How do you overcome physical pain? What does healing look like for you?
Getting a massage or bodywork is one thing that I never used to do enough. It would get to the point where my body was so tense and so tight, that bodywork would be a last resort.You don't wait to finally brush your teeth when you need to go to the dentist. You brush everyday to maintain your teeth so you go to the dentist to get cleaned twice a year.
With bodywork, I might use massage balls. Being able to lean up against a wall, and really get into your rhomboids, into your hips and glutes, your IT bands, it all makes a big difference. I'm seldom really in a lot of physical pain, it's not a thing that I struggled with in my body. But I am an avid trainer. I do a lot of weight training and building up, while making sure to really release all the muscles.
This is one thing that a lot of people don't realize, communicating with the body. Pain is a receptor that's been transmitted to the brain. But you can get into your breath and engage in communication with your body. You can say words out loud, and give yourself and your body permission to let go of this pain, and let the pain subside. I am hearing the signal, I am understanding there is physical pain, there’s damage that’s been done that needs to be repaired or looked at. Being able to talk to your body is profound.
When we communicate with our physical bodies, we can help release ourselves from pain, physical or emotional. A lot of the time there’s emotional components that bring up the physical pain as well, there’s such a tie between the physical and the mental. If I’m experiencing pain or discomfort, I try to work with my hands or with a massage tool, and also have a word with my body.
How has Off Grid impacted you?
I am experiencing a really positive result, I feel more energized and more focused. I’m taking Energy and Focus together. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, and just came back from Mexico after I facilitated a client ceremony. And right after all this, I have meetings, new clients, and more travel. I am dealing with a million moving parts at once. I was starting to feel a little run down, and having this support feels very good. It’s supporting what my body is naturally doing, and it feels like it is working with the intentions I have set for myself.