Skip to main content

Do You Have the Courage to Liberate Yourself?

Do You Have the Courage to Liberate Yourself by Kelley Grimes at Cultivating Peace and Joy

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

~Anais Nin


A few years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to teach a self-nurturing workshop to women inmates at the Miramar Brig, one of only two military prisons for women in the United States. As I prepared for the workshop, I wondered if it would be more difficult to come up with self-nurturing activities for women living in a more restricted environment.


This led me to reflect on how many of us live in our own self-imposed prisons, as a result of overcommitting, feeling like we have no time for ourselves, prioritizing everyone else’s needs over our own, living out our days based on everyone else’s schedules, and experiencing life in a chronic state of stress, exhaustion, and overwhelm.


Some of us also keep ourselves imprisoned by our negative self-talk, lack of belief in ourselves, unresolved anger, guilt and shame, and our inability to set boundaries, speak our truth or commit to caring for ourselves in a consistent way.


From this perspective, self-nurturing becomes a vehicle for liberation for us all!


The women at the Brig knew that to truly liberate themselves they had to deepen their awareness, understanding and connection with themselves. When offered a list of workshop topics to choose from, self-nurturing was at the top of the list.


When I shared this experience with one of my friends, she said if the women inmates at the Brig are committed to learning how to self-nurture then I have no excuse not to find ways to nurture myself too.  I loved my friend’s honesty and insight and the beautiful perspective she had as a result.


Reflect for a moment…what are your excuses for not prioritizing time to nurture yourself?


The answers you find will shine a light of awareness on how you imprison yourself. And the gift of  self-awareness is choice.


So then the question becomes, do you have the courage to liberate yourself?


In the wise words of Bob Marley, “None but ourselves can free our minds.”


What act of self-nurturing will you commit to that can free you from stress, overwhelm, and exhaustion?


I asked the women at the Brig to share the self-nurturing activity they were committed to adding into their day and some of the responses included rest, reading, exercise, positive affirmations, setting boundaries, taking “me” time, yoga, believing in a positive future, taking a class, laughing, and writing poetry.


All of their ideas were wonderful and affirmed that no matter where we find ourselves in our lives we can choose to self-nurture.


May you find the courage to liberate yourself through the practice of self-nurturing and nurture peace in the world from the inside out!

Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

Sign up to receive daily reminders with our mobile app!

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    I love reading about your experience, it’s so amazing that you can bring self nurturing to women in prison. It is a great lesson that no matter our circumstances, we can always bring self nurturing into our lives.

  • Lore Raymond says:

    Such a profound truth, “When I shared this experience with one of my friends, she said if the women inmates at the Brig are committed to learning how to self-nurture then I have no excuse to find ways to nurture myself too.”

    My reply to “What act of self-nurturing will you commit to that can free you from stress, overwhelm, and exhaustion?” is to be more mindful when I go into someone else’s physical space…to check it out first by asking questions and even getting photos. I didn’t do this with my recent host site in NOLA and I paid dearly with “stress, overwhelm, etc.”
    I’m slowly recovering from the shock and upset of the fraud presented which put me into a “spiritual swamp.” Gratefully, I’m spinning gold from lessons learned to share in my book which was THE reason I went to NOLA.
    Grateful to be HOME!

    • That is such wonderful insight Lore! May you recover quickly and deepen your self-nurturing practice to include where you stay. Sending you peace and love! Thank you for your comment!

  • Reba Linker says:

    Yes, self-care is a path to liberation for us all. Beautiful post, Kelley. The metaphor is as true as it gets. Inside or outside of actual prison walls, we are defined and too often confined by our relationship with the Self. I love that you taught this class to the women in prison. It is time for us all to be free.

  • Suzie Cheel says:

    great question: Do you have the courage to liberate yourself? What a great question, yes when we step up into our courage it is so freeing. xo

  • Andrea says:

    One of my favorite things about my alternative sentencing clients is watching them make the decision to be free. This happened in many ways but the most dramatic was when their motivation shifted from pleasing a parole officer to recovery. Thanks for a sweet memory. I miss them.

  • Kathleen says:

    Thank you, Kelley! I tend to get caught up in the busy-ness or life and forget that even a small bit, one self-nurturing action, daily can make a big impact. I needed this today.

    • I am so glad this blog was supportive to you Kathleen! May you find ways to easily add one self-nurturing action into your life and see the ripple effects that will flow through your life. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Amazing questions to help us take a deeper look at what might be stopping us from self-nurturing. It took me a long time to truly understand that if I wanted to be healthy, I had to adopt a rhythm in my life and to put myself first. Meaning I had to see self-nurturing as an imperative piece of my overall health. Thanks for sharing with us, Kelley. The Anais Nin quote is a favourite of mine. I actually have it up on my fridge to be a constant reminder to me to dare to bloom!

    • I love that quote too Beverly and have it hanging in my bathroom! I love that you understand how imperative self-nurturing is to your overall health and am so grateful for your comment!

  • Thank you for sharing this powerful experience, and your connections with our own choosing of freedom, or not choosing.

Leave a Reply