one-third of my mission and my engagement strategy with clients for the past five (almost six!) years is the practice of self-care. though I understand and heartily preach the benefits of strategic rest, paring down unnecessary activities in one’s personal life, time alone, meditation, eating well and often, and getting enough rest, sometimes I don’t practice what I know to be true.
my recent bout of work and personal travel, though inspiring, drained me. you know why it drained me? I neglected my self-care.
for the last ten days I did not take the time to cook beautiful meals for myself. I meditated but only short, requisite sits, not the long somatic work I am in need of at this time of my life. I didn’t do my mat work. I ran in shoes that fit me poorly and ignored the pain of the blisters they gave me. I spent joyful time caring for my beloved tribe of people but, aside from some euphoric desert runs, didn’t spend time on myself.
most importantly: I didn’t spend a single day alone. for me alone time is crucial for my recovery process and to recharge my creativity. my spirit requires a heavy dose of lonely in order to do its gnostic work; to give without resentment to my baby; to show up with total presence for my friends, family, and clients.
self-care, in pop culture parlance, is often mistakenly equated with this 'treat yo self' phenomenon. especially women are told to get their nails done, to buy a new outfit, to get dressed up, and these superficial, consumerist gestures are considered to be caring to oneself. perhaps these actions, done with presence and appreciation, can be caring gestures but self-care doesn't have to cost a thing. self-care also often does not have an external representation of having been completed - mostly because completion is not the goal with a practice.
the practice of self-care is a constant awareness; we must regularly return to core rituals that nourish us. this balance is not static, it is not 50/50, it is not attainable so that we can forget about it having accomplished it once and for all. like any practice, self-care requires us to learn, to un-learn, to regress, then return to what we know of ourselves and do the simple hard work again and again.
so today, tomorrow, and part of the next day I am taking to be almost totally alone, holed up in my little cabin, caring for myself.