I glance over at my phone: 12:35am. This is unusual for me as I am usually a brush by 9:30pm, asleep by 10pm kinda gal. I’m blessed in the sleep department; I’ve never had trouble falling or staying asleep. But on this night, I lay awake.
I hear the clicking of the fan above, the clanking of the heat kicking on once again, and the low-pitched hum of the refrigerator just beyond my bedroom walls. With the approach of my Sacred Self Care Retreat just a few months away, the idea and concept as a whole of self care has been at the forefront of my mind.
As I begin to drift into that place between a waking and sleeping space, a thought comes to me. “Yes!” I think. “THAT is exactly what I have been waiting for!” I grab my phone and write this note, “Self care is getting quiet enough to hear the soul speak.”
You may be thinking, “yeah, so?” or “what does that even mean?” Let me explain.
The self care movement has been in full swing for a few years now, and usually sounds a lot like bubble baths, a glass of wine after a long day, a quiet moment of intentional breath, morning meditation — essentially giving yourself a lot of TLC. I am absolutely a proponent of all of these things, I even listed 101 Ways To Show Yourself Some Love, which includes most of the above acts. What I have come to see, however, is that each of these things can potentially be just another item on the to-do list.
Through my own experience, I have now come to see that the self care act of taking a bath, spending time in nature, and going on a long walk is the vehicle, not the answer. It’s the pathway IN, not the final solution.
In order to know what you most need, you need to first get quiet. And in our current world, that can feel nearly impossible. This is what yoga, meditation, and time in nature offer us: an opportunity to quiet the mind chatter and reconnect to ourselves. That is the pathway in, the way to hear what it is you truly need, because, without that, it’s all just a bunch of mind-scattering, social media-comparing, too-busy-to think noise.
So I offer you this: The greatest form of self care is getting quiet. I propose that we’re not all as confused as we claim to be. You know what will bring you the most joy. You know what will make you feel settled and grounded. You know how to best nourish your body. You know what to do with your uninspiring job. You know what to do in your relationship.
Your world is just too noisy to hear the insight needed to propel you forward.
So what if, instead of the self care action item list, we actually care for ourselves by creating the space to get quiet; to hear what it is you really need, and listening, and taking action. Because to just go through the self care motions without reaping and applying the insight received is selling yourself short. It’s thinking, “I want an ice cream cone,” and heading to the shop, picking your favorite flavor, holding the cone in your hands, and then never enjoying the sweet taste of that first lick. It’s showing up, but not seeing it through.
But man, it is so much easier to, say, clean the house, lay in the grass, watch the clouds, give a stranger a hug, turn off your cell phone, take deep breaths or whatever other form of self care you choose than to do the work. We need all of these things, absolutely, but it doesn’t end there, that’s just the beginning.
Self care is getting quiet.
Self care is creating space to hear what you truly need.
Self care is trusting yourself enough to take action.
Self care is living your truth, regardless of what your mom, brother, co-workers, and friends believe.
Self care is loving words, and baths, and walks, and women’s circles, and yoga classes, yes, but that’s just the prologue. It’s up to you to write the rest of the story.
Last night I was watching Episode 4 of Dr. Mark Hyman‘s docu-series Broken Brain, and, in a discussion with another MD, he made the statement that identifying autism is not the end, it’s just the beginning. That in functional medicine, the thinking starts when you make the diagnosis, as opposed to ending. That’s a huge shift in our approach to medicine. The point is once you diagnosis what an illness or disease is, that’s when you get to work to remedy it. Such is my point with self care: With self care, the work starts once you get quiet, it doesn’t end. That’s just the beginning of you living your truth: Getting quiet enough to hear what you need and then getting into action around it.
For a long time, every time I got quiet enough to hear my truth, it lead me towards entrepreneurship and sharing my passion for health and holistic wellness with those around me. The next smallest step, the action I needed to take, was to sign up for my health coaching certification course— and everything you see, from my blog to the online courses to the retreats to the yoga teaching, is the ripple effect from getting into action around my truth.
My wish for you is to show yourself some self care by connecting to the outlets that allow you to get quiet to hear your soul speak. And to have the courage to hear its words and blaze forward on an empowered, inspired path.
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