Tune into your higher power with this positive self-care tool. We met up with Moon Deck creator Aarona Lea Pichinson, a yoga teacher turned nutritionist turned mindfulness deck author. Together, we discuss fortifying the mind through mantra and positive self-care rituals.
The Proven Benefits of Positive ThinkingWhen we first saw these positive self-mantra cards on Instagram, we loved the idea of incorporating them into our day. But what would science say about this alternative self-care ritual? It turns out, there’s some pretty favorable research for incorporating practices like this into your morning routine. Last year, researchers from Kings College in London found that people who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder reported significantly less anxiety after replacing worry with images or verbal thoughts regarding positive outcomes. Another researcher, Barbara Frederickson, compared positive emotions to nutrients. “In the same way that we need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily experience to help us become more resourceful versions of ourselves,” she says in an interview with ABC Radio National. “Having more moments of open mindset help us connect with others, build our relationships, build our resilience – and it even helps us build our physical health.”
Q&A With Aarona Lea Pichinson, Creator of Moon Deck
To those who are unfamiliar, what is the moon deck?The moon deck is a set of 44 cards and a guidebook. Every card has a mantra or intention, and the guidebook carries accompanying write-ups and self-care rituals that bring the cards to life. I always loved decks because I’m a visual and experiential learner. This deck specifically is meant to heighten our intuition, ritualize the path of self-love, and turn it into a daily practice.
How do you use it, exactly?The simplest way is to pick a single card every day. When you pick a card, say the mantra three times in a row to benefit from its greatest power. This helps us to become aware of our own mental looping and insert a productive, loving, affirming mantra that will shift our perspective — especially if we’re going through a tough time. The mind loops, it’s just what it does, so we want to form a habit of looping something positive and productive. You can also give yourself or others a more thorough reading using multiple Moon Deck cards, which is explained in the guidebook.
What role do the self-care rituals that accompany each card play?These rituals are meant to help actualize the deck and bring the affirmations into practice. Everything is ritual whether it serves you or not. I’m a recovered bulimic myself. It was something I struggled with from eighth grade through my early twenties and I had a set of rituals at that time, but they weren’t healthy. In fact, they were insane! When we build new consistent habits it creates new neurological mental pathways. It’s no different than the practice we do on our yoga mat, or learning a new language. Small daily self-care rituals are like threads woven together to create a net of support for our wellbeing. It’s about the cumulative impact that those small things add up to by the end of a month, or even three months. That’s what makes a huge difference.
What are the benefits of using The Moon Deck?When we’re not taking care of ourselves, our intuition gets clouded. By contrast, when we start to show up for ourselves, that voice gets a lot more sharp and we have more courage to listen to it. The Moon Deck can help give ourselves permission to feel the full range of who we are and honor the different cycles we go through, which in turn helps us feel more connected and guided. It can be as simple as a card a day.
Could you tell us more about the moon as a source of inspiration?The moon is a beautiful metaphor for cycles and phases. It’s interesting that in nature, we can easily admire the moon as it waxes and wanes but when we experience cyclical changes in our personal lives we can be incredibly critical of ourselves. One of the cards in the deck says, “There is medicine in my shadow.” I think it’s very emblematic of The Moon Deck as a whole. How can we pause and reflect even during challenging moments and make time to love ourselves? The growth and discovery that can happen when we show up, on both the light and heavy days, has incredible potential.
What was it that got you so interested in self-care?We make what we need and that was certainly the case here. The Moon Deck is something that speaks to me. I’ve had to work on my mental health (and still do) when it comes to how I handle stress and what self-talk loops I have going in my head. Ultimately, we all struggle with some level of mental health. Whether there’s a learned imbalance from our environment and upbringing, or a real chemical imbalance. I want to open up the conversation around mental health and encourage the practice of cleaning up our thoughts, instead of cloaking it all in shame. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health go hand in hand. There’s no reason any of them should be taboo. These days, there’s more of us out there who are highly-sensitive and have really sharp antennas. We pick up on a lot and don’t know what to do with it. For anyone who can relate, these healing tools help streamline the information and absorb some of the static. It gives us a roadmap to help get us back in touch with our center.
This week we witnessed a solar eclipse. How did you observe the occasion?For this particular new moon eclipse, I felt drawn to stay in and be quiet. I used this time to organize and catch up with my heart and head. I did a journaling exercise where I wrote down certain ‘shadow cycles’ I’m letting go of. Then I wrote down its very opposite in first person present tense, to focus on the refreshing lighter era I’m stepping into. This eclipse was a beautiful metaphor. When the moon passed between the sun and earth, it cast a shadow, revealing a moment of darkness. Then the light of the sun was revealed again, luminous, powerful and strong. I want to embody that. For any moon cycle that inspires you, I suggest pray in your own way and acknowledge what next steps will help your soul feel more expressed.
Last question, what does inner beauty look like for you?For me, inner beauty shines brightest when I’m living with acceptance. It’s also something I struggle with! So, it’s the practice of softening and accepting myself and others. It’s embracing the whole range of who I am. The basics are also huge for me. Things like drinking plenty of water, consistently sleeping well, meditation, moving my body, and eating foods that won’t throw my sensitive nature off the deep end. I’m learning how to accept and how to feel confident at my core. To me this is all a practice that will continue to lead us to more raw beauty from the inside out.
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