Friday, March 13, 2020

Self Care.

 I am someone who considers caring, in all of its forms, to be absolutely essential. As someone who has committed themselves to healing, for myself and others, I am here to tell you that self care can be much deeper than what we generally perceive it to be. 

Let's explore this further . . .

Self Care is Self Reverence.

Self care can be more than paying homage to your body, spirit and mind.  It can also be paying deep respect to a being, you, which is a miracle of existence in it's own right.

Here you are, some how and some way the breath of life fills you.  You exist and are alive which is inherently beautiful.  Some how and some way after billions of years of evolution, and countless ancestors, you are allowed to explore and be on this plane for an infinitesimally short period of time.  It is a gift and one that should be treated with reverence and gratitude.

Who you are, at this very moment in time, is deeply complex, vast and rich.

Tend to yourself in a way that honors this miracle, this mortal coil.  Be conscious, rather than unconscious, of your precious existence.

Rather than treat your existence with anxiety, shame, guilt and or self condemnation, treat it with reverence and the deep respect that it deserves.

Self Care is Love of Community.

You are needed and loved.

We forget this far too often.

No matter what community or family you are a part of...whether it be a dance troupe, yoga class, catholic family, martial arts dojo, healing circle, neighborhood, political organization, or work group, you are a part of a larger whole.

There are friends, family and loved ones who need you.  They need you to be happy and whole.  Fully functioning and quintessentially authentic in every way you can be.

They need you to be healthy, not burned out, exhausted and running on fumes.

To tend to yourself is to tend to yourself not in a vacuum but in the context of a larger whole.  You are a colorful and beautiful thread in a very very large tapestry.  This tapestry, this community needs you to be healthy and whole.

Yes, self care is care for the self, but it is also with the understanding that in tending to yourself, you are acknowledging a greater responsibility and connection to a larger community...who needs you, all of you at your very best.

Self Care is Self Attunement.

We often learn how to regulate our nervous system from our primary caregivers.  They were, for better or worst, the sun we revolved around for nourishment and warmth.  Unfortunately, this light or warmth may have been distorted or dimmed from time to time.

Attuning to your needs and wants, your own light, on a moment to moment basis sounds easy, but it can be quite challenging.  What you need and want can be usurped by unconscious forces formed early on in our development.

I have to check in with myself often, to make sure my needs and wants are being tended to in a compassionate and thorough way, rather than being ignored or pushed away.

This takes tenderness and patience.

Self care and self attunement entails listening deeply to yourself.

To start with, our most biological needs should be addressed.  If you are tired, rest.  If you are hungry, eat.

Then there are more subtle and nuanced wants and needs.  These can be easily lost if there is a disconnect in our listening.

Instead of attuning into ourselves, we might unconsciously push through and away from more vulnerable wants and needs.

For example...

There might be a tendency to push through pain and discomfort, when a deeper need is beckoning, perhaps allowing yourself to feel rest and pleasure.

We might push through fear, rather than allowing a deeper need to unfold, perhaps finding compassion and tenderness for yourself.

We might become swept away in anxiety when a deeper need to feel and express grief is ignored.

Instead of pushing for productivity and success, allow a more profound want to manifest, perhaps seeking out simplicity, silence and beauty.

Self Care is the Creation of Healthy Boundaries.

You can choose who and what you want in your life, and who and what you don't want in your life.

This is not only essential for our survival, but for our quality of life as well.

This form of self care is very similar to the care of self attunement.  This requires listening deeply to yourself.  Being mindful.

When our boundaries are ignored or crossed, self care is paramount.  It is important to re-establish and be clear with what our boundaries are.

These boundaries are, of course physical, but also psychological.  They do not need to be militant or hard, but sturdy and pliable none the less.

They don't need to be explained away or justified.   They are simply an expression of who you are and what makes you feel safe.  This is quintessential self care.

Never be afraid to express what your boundaries are, especially while doing the work we do together.  It is an inherent part of our healing process.

For example:  You might be thinking, "The pressure feels a bit much, (insert subverting thought here) but I can take it!  Besides, I don't want to interrupt his process." Nope!

Instead, listen deeply to yourself and assert what your boundaries are.
"The pressure feels a bit much, (being clear with your boundaries) I should tell Jim.  He's cool.  He will get it!"

In Conclusion.

I wanted to present to you more the intentions of self care rather than the what of Self Care.

What kinds of self care are abundant.  Rolfing (hint hint), yoga, tai chi, a good diet, meditation, spending time with good friends, being with nature, pedi and mani (I still haven't tried it!), gardening, and or going for a walk.  All of these are viable and good.

Yet, when we tend to ourselves in a deeper way, it is more of a moment by moment, day by day practice.

I hope this blog post has helped you re-discover the beauty and necessity of deep self care.