“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” -Maya Angelou
I remember when I first started teaching and was always on the go, my mother would always remind me of the importance of resting, slowing down, taking naps or, at best, just closing my eyes for a few minutes. It was her belief that one got old before their time if they didn’t take/make time to rest and relax. However, I had a difficult time processing this because of the conflicting message that her actions sent my way.
You see, what my mom practiced versus what she preached were two different things. At the time, I couldn’t wrap my head around the irony. I didn’t think my mother knew what she was taking about since she was always doing, on the go and tired. How could she possibly know what she was talking about back then? With the passing of time, I did in fact learn the importance of self-care (not the easy way), and that is why I am such an advocate for radical self-love, self-care and R&R. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite quotes is, “How beautiful it is to do nothing and rest afterwards.”
Are you sending out mixed messages? Are you saying one thing and yet modeling a different behavior for your children and/or loved ones? Today, more than ever, with all the sensory overload and stimulation, round the clock connectivity, and idol hours being spent in front of electronic devices, we cannot overlook the importance of “making the time to take the time” to unplug and take care of ourselves. No excuses! On top of this throw in the state of our world, planet, the on-the-job demands, raising children, caregiving for our partners, and aging parents. And if that’s not enough, add to that mix the problems and solutions that are required to keep our heads above water. Whew! I don’t know about you, but I am tired just writing about it! We can either let all these things wear us down, beat us up and disempower us, OR we can make the choice to go down a healthier path. The choice is truly ours to make. No one can do it for us. As Maya Angelou used to say, “When we know better, we do better.”
The activity in my last blog, Who’s in Charge Here, gave you “permission” to do identify the things that your mind, body and soul need in order to function optimally. If your mind, body and soul are out of alignment, you can bet your pretty backside that you are feeling its ill-effects. Remember, dis-ease in the mind, body and soul will manifest into disease. And that is the absolute truth! For starters, look around at the havoc that hovering over our electronic devices is doing to our physical bodies. Take a look at how hunched over and collapsed people are looking these days. Young children and young adults already have signs of severe muscular-skeletal issues caused by their poor posture. Witness the anxiety, anger, frustration, grievances and ill behaviors in and around us. All these things can, and should be nipped in the bud because we do, in fact, know better. As I mentioned in Who’s in Charge Here, we need to take charge and act on it! After all, if you’re not in charge, then who is? No excuses darlings!
While the notion of R&R may conjure up visions of retreat centers, sandy beaches, turquoise waters, spa vacations and all the sensory delights that come along with them, we don’t have to go away to experience the healing effects of good old-fashion rest and relaxation. All we need to do is be still, connect to our body, and listen to what it is trying to tell us. We can have a conversation with our Self, and listen to what our heart is longing for… we must do in the name of self-preservation. What is your mind, body and soul calling out for? Is it calling for more quiet time, less time on social media, a digital detox, early bedtime, a bedtime ritual, a soak in the tub, candles, soft music, time to read, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, healing and nutritious foods, an hour of silence (perhaps more), a massage, energy work, reflexology, a facial, mani/pedi, long walks in nature, time with your tribe….you get the picture, don’t you?
Well, then it is my heartfelt wish that you have started to carve out the time to take care of your beautiful, precious, magical, and divine Self and that you have identified your talents, gifts and uniqueness (if not, check out the blog Exercise the I AM in You). We only get one mind, body and soul in this lifetime. Our physical shell holds the miraculous systems and organs that make us who we are. Shouldn’t we want to honor that precious temple the best way possible? After all, we are good at helping and serving others; yet, oftentimes we do for others and not for ourselves. Let’s change the narrative and the stories we are telling ourselves and modeling for others. Rest and relaxation MUST be on everyone’s list of “non-negotiables.” And, speaking of non-negotiables, have you identified yours?
I will leave you with a beautiful prayer/meditation from the May You Know Joy deck of meditation cards I purchased while I was at Kripalu.
May You Know Nourishment
May you nourish your mind, your body and your soul daily. They are your divine trinity. Nourish your fibers, your ideas, and your values. Strengthening these will carry you further than you might dream possible. May you treat yourself with kindness and compassion and share your nourishment with whose in need of it. They will come to you and you will both be nourished in the process.
Inhale Love…Exhale Gratitude, JTC