Beyond yoga and green juice
Does not having yoga and green juice and all of the other things you feel like you 'should' do to take care of yourself, make you feel worse? To be clear, I have nothing against yoga and green juice. Nothing. They are great and transformational. And I'm a big advocate of self-care. Yet, there are times when self-care looks very different than you think it should or than you'd like for it to. I know this first hand. And I know how beating yourself up or berating yourself for not filling your picture of this image is inflicting pain. It's when the intention for self-care turned to shame. I have yet to see or read any philosopher tell us how guilt or shame are a tool for good. They're not.
This is a piece and response I wrote for the lovely Lisa Briggs at The Intuitive Body. Lisa hosts a monthly Wise Woman's Council and invited me to join this council in September. Her council hosts some brilliant and wise women and it's worth a look. My response came out of a period when what I hoped for things to look like and what was really happening were not aligned. What changed is my finding the pleasure and moments within the craziness instead of being able to walk away from, the effort of an inside job.
What I'd like to offer you is a break. Do your self-care but know that sometimes it's going to look different than you'd like. Sometimes a few moments of intentional deep breaths will do you far more good than lamenting what you ate (if you stuffed your face with Halloween candy- ain't no shame, sweetheart), or what you didn't eat. Do what you can do from here, with what you have. As you can do more you will. (My lovely friend Marianne Elliot's 30 Days of Yoga for People Too Busy To Do Yoga is a great example of what you can do as more time, space and resources become available.) At its core we must start where we are at and we can do so right now.
Compassion will do you more good than any glass of green juice.
So if you're reeling from a hurricane, are a new mama, spending every free moment looking for a job, or just feeling like you can't live up to your own expectations, this is for you:
I have no illusions that my self-care routine needs to resemble anyone else’s. In fact it doesn’t even resemble my own anymore. This is freedom, one of my top values. If I’m living my values my soul is nourished.
I am a full-time care giver to an 18 month-old and have a full-time business. I am rebuilding and reinventing what self-care means right now and my definition can change daily or hourly. Intuition is always my guide and I adjust my sail to the wind. While it used to be 8 hours of sleep, right now it’s taking an unscripted dance break with my small dance partner and dancing a little jig wherever the mood hits. It’s making sure I have a good bar of dark chocolate ready for the morning. It’s taking a few minutes on Facebook to connect with sweet friends around the world. Accomplishment is still important to me but now I reflect on days in terms of the experience of senses (sunshine, an ocean breeze, amber perfume, the weight of the small child on my body while he sleeps). My growing edge is to allow myself, every couple of days, to nap when The Boy naps. This is new to me but I know duvets heal.
I used to have an idea what “being in the moment” meant but now it has a different meaning. Whereas I used to take time to step away for self-care, now I infuse my time with self-care. Being present can be hedonistic. If I am to weather or even thrive in all of my roles and honor what’s important to me, there is little opportunity, right now, to step away for joy and delight. Instead, I weave it into my daily fabric and very being.