I am really good at self-care. It has been and is the work of my lifetime.
Here’s what I have learned:
Self-care has many levels. There is surface self-care and there is deep self-care. We have our own versions of all the levels. For me, a hot bath is surface. A movement session where I burst into tears and crack somewhere is deep. I need both.
Self-care is always changing. Ha! What used to soothe, re-fill and re-fuel might not work anymore. We are always changing. We are never ever static in how we feel and what we want and need. Yoga might have done it for you before but it might not anymore.
Self-care is a call-and-response. The body (or heart or soul) calls for something. The mind decides whether or not to fulfill the request. For example, body tells mind I am tired and want to sleep. Mind tells body, push through, I can’t stop to give you what you need. Conversation over. Self-care dead.
Self-care bangs up against everything. Self-care hits walls everywhere it goes. It bangs up against what your partner wants you to do. What your kids want you to do. What your work wants you to do. Anyone who expects self-care not to bang up against anything will never do it well.
Doing self-care in spite of what it bangs up against builds our warrior. When we are not building our warrior, we are building our victim.
Self-care is the hardest when it is needed the most. This still boggles my mind. When we need it the most, we do it the least. Most times, when we are in crisis, instead of increasing our self-care (more massage, more physical activity, more meditation, more good food, more sleep, more orgasms), we decide to just make it through as best as we can. And we survive it all. We survive the crisis because we are so good at surviving. But we might arrive at the end of it in a total physical or mental breakdown, depleted and depressed or just numb.
Self-care is work. It requires an iron will and tons of discipline. It is where a woman must stand in her own power and for her own worth. This is where the battle is fought, day in and day out.
Part of what is essential to me is my feminine soulful movement practice. For those who live in Toronto, you can join me every Monday night.
In the comments below, I would love love to hear what you have learned (or are learning) about self-care.