Hello all! While hunkering down in this beautiful New England snow blitz, self care has become a topic near and dear to me. I actually, not so secretly love when Mother Nature herself says “mental health day!”
These past 4weeks have given me more than ample time to fall in love, yet again, with my sanctuary I call home! Don’t get me wrong... we have our share of crazy days, and loud voices... multiple instruments being played simultaneously... animal mishaps... miscommunications and such; yet, my home is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is filled with complex, imperfect humans who are all striving for something, as all are. That is bound to create conflict at some point; so, how do we navigate in peace and growth?
Here’s where self care and love come in! It all sounds so selfish (all this self care, and personal reflection, and creation of personal vision), especially in the face of people who have needs to be met... and we adults are typically the “need meeters”; yet, the polar opposite is true.
I have erroneously spent much time rearing my older children to “just do what I say”... Sadly, while in my twenties( I was and continue to be a good mom) I was not always as encouraging as I would have loved for me to have been. I have many twenty-somethings who will gladly back this up... To them I say, “I love you; life teaches its own lessons; I pray your twenties and early thirties are intensely less stressful, and infinitely more enlightened than mine were. I also hope you have a myriad of life experiences to help you arrive at a place of your own peace; and you receive the grace and understanding I never did!” Namaste.
Which directly leads me to self care... a new ideology I completely ascribe to. This has so improved my parenting, partnering, wifery?, teaching, and living in general.
Stress happens... Neurologically, we are not built to bear intense emotional burdens. We are iridescent, spiritual beings housed in clay frames. Our skin gets so heavy... our grey matter so laden down with emotional, social, political and environmental toxins. Our spirits just want to love, and fly! My son recently read, our brains change somewhere around every six weeks thanks to a state of neuroplasticity! So let’s give ourselves a break... and a chance to grow, and change... One of my daughters’ soccer coaches always reminds the kids in game to just “settle it, settle it... let it settle”. Great life coaching! If you stop to ponder, this is so very true!
My two youngest children, who are 12 and 13, receive me at this point in my life. ( I’m actually at the grandparent stage...) The point where I realize the beauty of letting go and moving on; the point where I see the end goal, and all the hindrances between here and there are just rubble to be kicked aside... not game Enders.
I realize hairstyles, and sibling strife, and falsehoods about the completion of their homework are their paths to navigate with my help... not indicators of my own success.
That’s what self care and love gives us... right perspective! I used to fret and fear that I was not running my home the perfect way that it should be... that my children’s “failures” were my “failures”.
I now realize, thankfully, my children’s “failures” are anything but... they are incredible learning platforms upon which to build life learning and success!! In fact, we don’t even use the word failure in our home, at all (Unless it’s to poke fun at the concept itself); we truly have eradicated that from our midst. We acknowledge mistake, take ownership, and work to correct.
I could never do this In my younger self... because, for me, it didn’t exist. I was always wound so tight to achieve, I failed to live... If I failed... I would not live.
I’m so grateful for GRACE! In fact, I adopted the pseudonym of Laurel Joy Graceson for my writing. Laurel=wisdom; Joy=state of spiritual, God given fruit regardless of circumstance; Graceson= we are all sons and daughters of grace in God.
Grace is being given the strength to do all I need in spite of my lack (of ability, finance, physical strength, know how... etc). It’s receiving something I did not earn...
I believe that is a statement that will offend some; for the offense, I apologize... for the truth, I do not.
We are all given this measure of grace, if we choose to receive it! This, for me, is the very essence of self care!
I must first become centered, healed, and whole if I am to minister/deliver care and love to others. Even the Bible tells us to love our neighbor, AS OURSELVES!
If I don’t practice self love, and care... I have absolutely nothing to give to anyone else!
I was once part of an extremely demanding group of folk... I believe their hearts were well meaning; however, the self demands to get to their desired point were non-nourishing to say the least. I cannot get to God, or anywhere else by working myself, denying myself, and essentially replacing myself...To die to myself.
We were part of a church that focused on striving for spiritual success. My husband and I wanted to start a church, and minister to others, so we hopped on, with our entire selves!
Over time, we learned so much; made so many beautiful friends and connections; grew...
And then finally, we realized, we were growing in the wrong things! You don’t spiritually GROW through overwork and obligation... you actually lose many precious pieces of yourself there.
You GROW through connection and relationship! You GROW through LOVE! That harsh environment is never God’s plan!
We subsequently left this group, and moved forward... bringing with us the beauty, and leaving behind us the useless. We left in peace, and shook the dust from our feet.
We, happily, now spiritually romp barefoot around fields of fresh, green grass! And could not be happier! We now strive for spiritual love and union, vs success... this may sound a bit too earthy... but, this is our self care plan!
I’m created to love art... God made beauty everywhere I look!
I’m created to be part of a beautiful tribe of likeminded, spirit beings, who love to... just love!
I’m created to have inspired thought.
I’m created to laugh! And cry! And work! And rest!
I’m created to love nature and philosophy!
I’m created to heal within beautiful sounds, tones, and hues!
I’m created to speak to fellow female warriors in all of our various stages of growth... and I do.
I’m created to teach, and love my children.
I’m created to be my husband’s best friend, and partner.
I’m created to have voice.
I am a beautiful 3 part creature, created to love my Creator... to bring joy, and lightness, and peace where I tread my feet!
I love to speak to others; especially to others who are in spiritual need, in the moment. I have always loved this. I believe in pointing others toward truth, toward hope. How could I have ever done that from a place of soulless work?
So my plan for self care:
Pray and meditate first thing in the morning.
Stretch my body as much as I can... feel that I am alive. (It’s perfectly ok that my body does not have the same functions it used to!)
Write, every day!
Laugh... a lot! At all that I can.
Take time to be quiet...( I love to sit on my beloved porch, look to the mountains, and hear the crows banter.)
Forgive all as they come to mind... and then pray for their well-being.
Connect with other like minded, inspired folk.
Yes... salt lamps!
Play with my kids, or listen to my kids, or watch my kids create
Tuning forks! (It’s so worth investing in a few of the basic scales!)
Art therapy (thank you Marney!)
Poetry (Write it, then perform it! It is life changing!)
Positive affirmations (both self and to others!)
EFT Tapping! (It’s great!)
Herbal loose leaf teas
Clean, spring water... stay hydrated!!
Reframe what beautiful is to me!
Acceptance!! (Of self and others)
Freeing others to be who they are created to be!
Celebrating others in who they are created to be!
These are but a few of many wonderful items I hold in my self care cabinet.
The list changes, grows, and is edited as I change, grow, and am edited!
However, I believe the most beautiful self care tool I own is recognizing, respecting, loving, and cherishing the very essence of my shimmering spirit, that is whole and perfect- completely because of my Creator...( for that I am eternally grateful!); and staying directly connected to Him in a beautiful relationship of love and communication!
Thank you for sharing his journey with me!
I am so grateful to still be here!
I will be grateful for what lies ahead!
Much, Much Love!
Laurel Joy Graceson