Self-care is all about alignment. It’s not about the yoga class or the meditation series or the green juice. It’s about being in alignment with yourself, every day. As women, we are natural care-takers. Whether we have our own children, are step-mothers, or in relationship with others- we often step in when something is needed. We do this so much for others that sometimes, we forget how to do it for ourselves. And so we think we need a rigorous self-care routine so we won’t go crazy. But what if the “routine” was really just our daily life?
I spent 10 years of my life searching for the perfect ritual, the best training course, the juiciest yoga flow and the healthiest diet when really, what I needed was to feel good about myself and my choices. I won’t lie- the yoga, the healthy food, the meditation- it all greatly improved my well-being and reduced my anxiety. But it only got me so far. There comes a point in every woman’s life when she just wants to go HOME. That home is inside of us, in our daily choices and our words and thoughts. Home means being in the natural state of flow with how you feel, rather than trying to feel another way. Home is alignment.
When we are in alignment with ourselves, we are doing what FEELS good. Feeling is different than “should-ing.” When we “should” ourselves, we go through our days doing things we think we “should” do, even if we don’t necessarily want to do them. Why do we think we must have a daily or weekly yoga practice? Have you ever asked yourself if you even like doing yoga? Maybe movement for you looks like squatting in your yard to pick weeds, or going for a hike, or parking at the back of the lot and walking briskly to the building. When was the last time you ignored the “I should…” and instead did the “I feel…”?
For those of us who focus on health and wellness, our sense of self can often come from our self-care practices. These are the only moments we get to ourselves, connecting to something deeper, and feeling in tune with universe/goddess/spirit. But have you ever tried to tune in when you weren’t doing self-care? What if your child asks you to watch a movie with them but you tune in for a moment and realize that you’d rather play music with them? Or paint a picture? What if the next time your partner asked you to go out to eat, you took a moment to think about what you wanted to do? We often say YES to others before we say YES to ourselves. You can say YES to yourself by pausing when you need to pause; by becoming aware of how your body feels in each moment of tension and where that tension comes from. Say yes to yourself by connecting to yourself when you aren’t in the middle of ritual or a yoga class.
I invite you, for the next moon cycle (4 weeks) to tune into how you feel and what you want. It’s not selfish, it’s self-loving. The more present you are with yourself, the more your family feels that presence. Just as children thrive off of rules and loving discipline, we thrive off of self-compassion in the form of boundaries. These boundaries make those around us feel safe. They no longer have to wonder how we feel or if we’re enjoying ourselves. There’s no more walking on egg-shells or second guessing. There’s just being.
So, what if your self-care practice was your everyday choices, the boundaries you set, and the moment-to-moment pause of tuning in and seeing what you need? Less doing, and more being ourselves. What a wonderful world that would be.