This is part of a series of excerpts from my forthcoming book.
Self-care reunites you with what you value. Knowing your most important values makes choosing priorities and commitments more obvious. Put the big pieces in place and let everything else fill in around the ‘must do’ items. We can all improve at prioritizing self-care. I’ve experienced that life works well to the extent that self-care is a priority.
Unproductive tasks and distractions are always there to consume time if you let them. Self-care happens when you make it enough of a priority to schedule it. A good aspiration is to live at the right pace of life. How can you offer the world anything of value if you never tap into the value inside you?
The goal of the news is to make every problem, your problem ~ Jim Kwik
One friend of mine is a great role model as he lives his days in slow-motion ease and gets more accomplished in a day than most people do in a week. People and opportunities gravitate to him since others want to be around his energy and integrity. Extreme self-care makes this man attractive. He awakens early to devote time to his spiritual connection. He may journal, walk in nature or meditate for inspiration. He maps out what he expects to unfold that day and commits to an intention of how he wants to move through each part.
In order to show up strong, sourced and contained it’s imperative to have a strong commitment to self-care. Intimacy with self means being connected to what’s alive inside and taking appropriate steps to honor one’s own needs. This may be speaking to something that has just caused a contraction, celebrating a micro-win or pausing to drop in and just feel. You may find yourself naturally offering less advice and more empathy to others.
It may be helpful to analyze your typical week. What tends to take you off your plan? How do you handle other people’s emergencies? Observe how your time is sucked away (or given away) and consider where you might practice greater self-care. Let each self-care commitment be an immovable boulder that the water of life has to flow around. Decide how you will stand up for your time. An example of how one might stand up for a self-care commitment is: “Not to be rude, but I need to take some time right now” or “I must attend to other business right now. I trust that you’ll find a resolution”.
In a well-resourced state of ease, we can handle just about anything. When we’re rundown or in a stressed state, we can’t handle much at all. To remain available for yourself, rest in deep connection at least once every day. This pause enhances your ability to dial up presence. Who is more attractive – the scattered person or the energetically contained person?
Daily self-connection practices that I enjoy are; zazen breathing, gratitude, Soul Statements, listening to bi-aural meditation soundtracks, moving my body, strength training and journaling. I take one day each week as a renewal day where I stay offline and do what feeds my spirit. Sundays are set aside for special connecting with my beloved. Devices are kept off on Sunday as a Digital Sabbath.
I take a renewal day in nature every month. This is a day for me to just be. The only agenda is to have no agenda and only do what moves me. I reconnect more firmly to my soul and my values during these days. It doesn’t usually look like me sitting on a meditation cushion. More often than not it involves a solo run or hike and finding a place to just be and observe.
I also take a long weekend at least four times a year to unplug and spiritually rejuvenate. During the longer renewals I get deeper in touch with what I love and reflect on how I can be more aligned with my joy.
You, yourself deserve your love and compassion more than anyone else ~ Buddha
Self-care doesn’t happen unless and until one makes time for it. My greater personal self-care list includes, but is not limited to; altar time, exercise, stretching, alone time on a project, love connection with my beloved, reading, good sleep hygiene and tango. Solo practice may need to be supported by better time management and boundary-setting.
Plan segments of inactivity and renewal activity for yourself. How deep you go with self-care / renewal has a direct bearing on how powerfully you can show up in a grounded state for life.
Personal Journaling Exercise
Where have I made my self-care negotiable?
What would I stop doing if I was committed to extreme self-care?
Where can I make improvements in my self-care?
I, _________________________________, commit to regular self-care in the form of…