radical self-care

Take Care Of Yourself First

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This is Delphine clearly an Oracle looking badass while mothering hard. When the tough get going the tough drink tea.

Every so often my mind develops little mantras. This one “Take Care of Yourself First” came to me a few weeks ago while I was literally about to wet myself while trying to turn on the laptop to save time. Fucking ridiculous right? Right? Do you do this? I do this kind of stuff all the time and it drives me more then a little crazy too. Like many people I think that I am a multitasking god. Which I absolutely can be at times. Then you have moments like the one above where you mindfully facepalm yourself and decide going to the toilet is more important than productivity or in fact essential to productivity. I mean seriously. It’s the small things right?

Sometime in a my mid-twenties I remembered becoming so acutely aware of running on autopilot about many small tasks, only because I started to have “accidents” or lets say oversights. Not necessarily wetting myself more the inside out pants situation; cause you didn’t actually check. For want of falling into a stereo type things like leaving the hand break on and that kind of stuff. Then you remember I’m not God. I just need to be firmly assured in the fact if I’m not paying attention I’m likely to make mistakes. As are you. We are all human after all. That’s a humbling realisation for many of us. The great news is we can save ourselves deep levels of embarrassment and humiliation. If we pay attention to the small stuff, notate the it’s daily mastery is a minor lesser noted miracle and achieving beyond this is well worthy of note, recognition and possible some kind of award scheme.

A mate of mine Sonia Mather (a womanly demigod and my one of my personal gurus) often refers to this strategy as Oxygen Living. The principle behind this is that you have to put your oxygen mask first before helping anybody else. Being a mother she learned early on that as one of the main co-collaborators in her family life. She was personally responsible for holding that the family together (groundbreaking I know). Caught in the exhaustive and endless quandary of taking care of two young children;  she realised if she wasn’t taking care of herself who else would? Her two young children couldn’t do it and nor could her husband as if like here he wasn’t battling his own challenges, he two was wrestling with two small children. Other than taking turns at alone time there really weren’t any other option than to put personal care at the top of the list. Which is incredibly challenging with two small kids. Cause guess what you can’t leave them alone and personal control is a human skill that many adults have yet too mastered (me included). Mothering is a masterclass in personal survival (that’s why Mothers are amazing).  This also reminds me of my own mother defiantly drinking a cup of tea at the end of a long day at work before delving into our stuff. Or the many mother that have barricaded themselves into a bathroom for a long awaited bath with the music turned up. So there you have it. Taking care of yourself first is essential for the survival of future generations and the human race and thus very very important.

Consistently Inconsistent

IMG-9492(1)“Consistently Inconsistent” My father said this to me once as an insult. it’s a terrible shame that it wasn’t actually true. Yet beyond this it has become a kind of mantra for me. Everybody has the right to change there mind, find another way, all in the hope of becoming who we actually are. In recent months I’ve picked up the pace a bit on my wee coaching business and as always adjusting course as I move forward and figuring out what it all really means anyway while attempting to be the truest and best version of myself all at the same time. Which means from time to time my standards slip life gets in the way and I have to consider How best am I serving my clients. If you are looking for a guru I’m not it. I’m as human and broken as the best of us and sometimes I’m envious of Mandela and hid imposed daily routine. Can you imagine enforced spiritual awakening by way of prison regime. That no matter how hard it is. How you might be feeling or even how important you are you have to get out there and get down to the lowly work of breaking rocks. If that isn’t dharma in action I don’t know what is.

In the meantime I’m caught between, I’m busy feeling. How much can I journal about this? Do I journal before I do the dishes? Do I do the dishes before I journal or the other way round. Which one is going to make me feel better faster? Then all the justifications that go with it. Never mind that I actually can’t do the dishes because I can’t find the ecologically friendly dish washing liquid I usually use in my local supermarket, that means I have to drive into town, which kind of defeats the purpose of eco dish washing liquid. Yes it’s the small things. How do you write inspirational posts when you can’t manage the basic and well you’re very busy feeling? The thing is we all have the right to be consistently inconsistent. We are humans. As much as we are drastically trying to reclaim our lives from the endless monotony of daily work for a corporate company we also need to reclaim our lives from the constructed demands of time. No one here is pulling in a harvest no one is going to dye if you Instagram feed is not up to date and should I really be Instagramming while spending quality time with friends. Personal work is for me the new work work. Prioritising me as a radical step in self-care. That doesn’t mean never commit it just means do you best and been happy with the results. Also please bare in mind here absolutely no-one has criticised me for inconsistency or praised me for my eco washing up liquid. This is all self-imposed limitations and critiques. The mind can be crazy even when it is well trained.

Tissues and Issues

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So my blog post for this week is late, as I came down with a cold. I’ve self-diagnosed it could have been an extreme reaction to end of the year cleaning. Note to self: hoover under the bed more often.

So like most people I try to be as organised as possible in order to get everything done in a timely order. The news is that I am not super human. Further to this that although it may be great to use social media to predetermine pre-scheduled output it might not be very connected to the reality of our lives. That you may think that the author of a blog has got everything under control and is cruising through a life of eternal bliss. When they are in fact having the most humbling of human experiences: sickness.

Like any disturbance in the force it’s a great opportunity for learning.  For years I used to go to work sick like a badge of honour. I even used to brag that I had never phoned in sick for work; after all wasn’t it something to be proud. Somewhere along those lines and much much later all that gusto was shattered in to a million pieces, and well even now I was never quite the same again. When daily illness became the norm for me. Sickness like cold and flu where like a long awaited reprieve and I used to relish the opportunity to take to my bed totally guilt free. Yes I had to be physically sick to lie in bed guilt free.

Now I know taking care of myself, when I’m sick is the first step in the rung for self-respect. That my self-worth is not predicted by my working productivity. When I’m sick I see it as a call to radical self-care. If we care about ourselves at all, we know that there are certain things that we need to do to get better. We take ourselves to bed. We rest our bodies. We make sure we drink lots of water.  We stock up on the healthy food we need to boost our immune system. We comfort ourselves. We make brave attempts to find treatments, that will alleviate our symptoms and bring some relief. Most of all we’ll do anything to find a cure. If we want to get better at all we are forced to take the necessary steps to nurse ourselves back to health.

Much like life itself often the immediate solutions are not readily available and we simply have to give into the discomfort of being alive and hope that “this too shall pass”. In the meantime the best that we can do is love ourselves in the process.