#39daysofselfcare Days 13 & 14: Practice Makes Good.

 

Days 13 & 14 of My 39-Day self-care challenge

TODAY my self care was writing. Writing soothes my soul. I woke up and wrote. And now I'm writing before bed. I write on paper. I write on the computer. I write on my phone. I could write until the cows come home.

But Yesterday. Oh yesterday... I'll begin at the end, of course.

Yesterday I got to the end of the day and wondered... Did I do any self-care today? My first response was to start shaming myself for not planning ahead, or thinking about it in advance. Caring for someone is supposed to be an intentional act, right?

But then I reviewed my day and realized I did a lot of self care:

  • I danced in the morning and sat at my altar.

  • I went to pilates.

  • I went to the office and worked on my new website.

  • I had a Tapping sesh with my mom via WhatsApp.

  • Then I went to dinner at a friend's house – a long

  • standing plan, and very much needed.

  • THEN I dropped off files to a fellow-photographer who lives near above friend.

  • And then, would you believe, I went BACK to the studio and worked late to deliver an important job that was almost done.

  • CHECK connecting with Goddess/source/spirit/God.

  • CHECK physical exercise, endorphins, deep concentration & mono-tasking.

  • CHECK feeling productive and working towards my goals.

  • CHECK family time, healing the nervous system, changing my subconscious mindset.

  • CHECK being a reliable friend (self-respect/living my values), enjoying fun & laughter, relaxing in nature (we sat in her garden), nourishing with delicious food.

  • CHECK strategically coordinating so I have one less task on my list.

  • CHECK getting something major off my plate while it's in my pleasure to do so (aka Flow).

You may be thinking this last one is not self-care: to stay late at work and push through. Especially for a recovering workaholic, this is a slippery slope. The difference (in almost everything) is the energy we put behind it. Is it compulsion? Is it a way to isolate? Is it avoiding feelings/numbing? Or is it loving? Loving can be to do something when you feel the urge, and know that tomorrow you'll be so glad you did. And that's where I was at, and so that's what I did.

IMG_0959.jpg

Looking back at my day also taught me something pretty awesome:

That after so many years of practicing, failing, practicing, winning, falling off the beam, climbing back on, trying, quitting, starting over, and practicing some more.... I've become pretty good at this self-care thing.

If you've read any of my posts about depression, and how fucked up shit can get, you'll have an idea about how proud I feel of this realization.

There was a time when I hated myself and hated my life.

There were years when the hate was gone, but there was just a sort of no-man's-land of "what now?"

During that time, I really searched for the answer to LOVE. I wanted to know how I could learn this "skill" that seemed to come SO naturally to others. (By "others" I mean the non-depressed.) I wandered through life asking "how do normal people just go about their shit?" and feeling truly confused. Such are the thoughts of the super-sensitive folks.

I DIGRESS!! During no-man's-land time, I came up with a mantra that has served me more than anything else to date:

Every new skill takes practice.

I could write VOLUMES about this mantra. I probably will at some point.
But for now, I'll just explain, this was my shortcut to self-compassion. Every time I "fucked up" (in quotes, because the only person I was letting down was my overly critical self), I would take a deep breath, say my mantra and start again.

Every new skill takes practice.
It just does.

Including self-care.
And this is why this realization was so epic for me.
Because I am good at self-care.
I love myself, in my soul. Know how I know? Because I treat myself like someone I love.
I love WHO I am. Not for my looks or my talents. Not for my accomplishments. Not "despite" my bad habits of which there are SO many.
Just because I do. I practiced and practiced, and learned and learned, and I got good at it. I got good at the skill of love.

Looking back at my day, I also realize this journey will never end. We live in a society that functions in a very particular way. It was easy for me to instantly criticize myself for not planning my self-care in advance. For not being systematic enough for my #39daysofselfcare project. The undertones are there: "disorganized, half-assed, unprofessional, unreliable, fake! Fraud!! Failure!!!"

But look at me now. All it took was a pause, and a quick review of my day to see that those thoughts are nothing but habit. And while I've gotten really good at self care, I still need practice. I'll be practicing for the rest of my life.

Every new skill takes practice.