Recently, and I'm 40 years old so it took me half of a life time to feel this way, I learned the real value of "self care." I use to think self care meant looking pretty with manicured nails and ironed clothes. I also thought it had more to do with dieting and exercise than compassionately nourishing my body.
Intellectually, I knew how to manage my day to day activities. When I was a child, I learned how to care for my body. I learned which behaviors resulted in negativity and which resulted in something positive. Once I became a mother, it seemed like what I knew wasn't enough, because I couldn't ever catch up with my daily responsibilities and have enough time to feel good. My intuition was whispering to me to connect with Life in a more intimate way.
As I was talking with my dear friend, Suzi, I shared my feelings of exhaustion, how I wanted to be perfect, and how I had a tight grip on the idea of control. "Adrianne, I am going to give you an intention for this week - RELAX!" She told me with a kind voice. I thought to myself "Well it's easy for her to say, she isn't working at my office, feeding my family, bathing my child, and cleaning my house."
"For this week, forget about demanding your daughter to brush her teeth and forget about the chores in your house. Instead, sing loudly in your car on the way home, meditate before you go to bed and write down at least ten reasons you appreciate yourself." She explained. We spent a several more hours talking about the different ways I would nourish myself: connecting with friends, playing with my kids, yoga, cooking and so many more. It felt both indulgent and nurturing to talk about me and my needs. During this exploration of ways I can make my Spirit smile, I intuitively knew she was towing me down a metaphorical runway, preparing me for my self care flight.
And recently, I took her advice. I started to sing while I wash dishes, and I started journaling. Honestly, relying on only me to take care of myself feels exhilarating and terrifying. The part that is awesome about me singing and journaling, is not only that I feel great, but that I am more relaxed and compassionate when I interact with my family. I have more joy to share with them.
I imagine the exercise of nourishing my Spirit, to be like flying an air plane. As I reach different altitudes, my comfort level changes and I rely on these gauges to remind me of the importance of nurturing myself.
- My physical awareness. What does my body need today to be nourished and supported?
- My consciousness. What emotions are causing congestion in my mind?
- My relationships (individually). What are each of them telling me about myself? What are they showing me that needs attention?
- My joy-ometer. Am I feeling that Life is abundant and comprehensively supportive? Or am I feeling like I am a victim in this situation?
- My gratitude meter. Do I wish to change things, or am I grateful for the moment exactly like it is?
I look out the window of my "Self Care Flight," to the ground crew and see my parents in applause, I see my sisters in applause, I see my daughter in applause, and my husband in applause. I see my many teachers in applause (Suzi Lula, Dr. Shefali, Brene Brown, May Rauch, Debbie Pedersen, Geri Clouse, Flora Bowley, Ayla Nereo, Jason Mraz and so so many more).
Now, I not only value manicures and ironed clothes, but I also value the compassionate nurturing of my body, my emotions and my Spirit. I have a newly discovered love of taking care of myself - and it feels GOOD!
Sometimes I feel scared during the turbulence, and when I feel this way I call to the Flight tower, look out the window at the love, and I keep flying.