Self-Care September is Coming

Image

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington*, I invite you to forgive yourself. For it is only in forgiving yourself and then in loving yourself deeply, that you can radiate love and bring peace with every step you take, every single day.

Self-care September is coming. This is a month where we will practice the art of extreme self-care.  If you are scratching your head, that makes sense because I am declaring this for the first time. September is back-to-school season in the U.S. It’s a time when we can sharpen new pencils, our erasers are clean and notebooks are shiny and new.

If you have a chance to take care of 1-3 things about yourself, what would they be? Here are some ideas:

  1. Staying balanced, or as most folks like to say, managing stress
  2. Eating healthy foods
  3. Feeling good about your body
  4. Exercising, playing, dancing
  5. Learning that skill you have always wanted to learn
  6. Making time for the friends you rarely see
  7. Getting medical attention for all parts of you—body, heart, mind…and teeth!
  8. Remembering and nurturing your passions
  9. Cultivating your spiritual side
  10.  Managing your finances

If you are upset with yourself for putting on weight, overspending, letting yourself fall into the same pit of stress again and again, this is your chance to be kind and gentle with yourself—just the way you would be with a dear friend or a child.

One book that has helped me in the past is The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. You can buy it here or view the first chapter here.  Don’t be turned off by the cover if self-help isn’t your thing.  What the book does well is create 12 opportunities for you to take care of yourself so that you can tackle one area each month—sometimes that can mean learning to say no or sometimes that can mean giving up control.

So, I’m inviting you to pick 1-3 areas to address during the month of September.  The list above is only for ideas.  Think about it and if you feel like declaring it to the world, add a comment on this post.  Or try writing it down in a journal. Or if you want to let me know privately so that you have some level of accountability, feel free to email me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com –that way someone else knows about the exciting possibility of cultivating your power through forgiveness and self-love. I hope that you feel lighter already just thinking about letting go!

*If you would like to learn more about the U.S. civil rights movement on this momentous anniversary, visit one of my favorite organizations at: http://www.teachingforchange.org — there is even a mythbusters quiz.

Do not fill above this line

Image

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence, and that is activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of this innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone and everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

–Thomas Merton, Confessions of Guilty Bystander

I read this quote at a time when I was filled above the line and my reaction was, “Oy!” Does any of this sound familiar? This was at a time, when two days in a row, I lost my glasses in my condo.  It’s a very small condo.  One time, my husband found them on top of a loft wall, about one foot from the ceiling. This was after I had put in contact lenses with a 6 year-old prescription which allowed me to see long distance, but I was unable to read without getting dizzy.  Do you know what I did?  I laughed. I laughed at, and with, myself.  If I want to get metaphysical about it, I showed myself compassion.

Do you show yourself compassion? How do you react to big or small mistakes that you make yourself?

I realized yesterday, that I qualify for the mother of the year award because in my quest to purge and give away the shoes that do not fit my son, I kept a set of shoes for him—one shoe was a size 12 and the other shoe was a size 12 ½. He has been wearing these for a week.  Luckily, I gave them to a friend and we can make an exchange this weekend, so my child only has to wear these for two weeks. (By the way, he hasn’t even noticed this.)

What else besides showing yourself compassion?

Change your routine and put down the phone.

I recently started changing my commute home to get some quiet reflective time.  Sometimes, I choose to connect with friends over the phone. (I know, that doesn’t count as quiet reflective time.) The other day, I told myself, no.  Connect with yourself, Rebecca.  And that’s when I stumbled upon this dumpster.  And I was mightily entertained because there I was identifying with an overfilled dumpster.  Then that Merton quote I had read, popped into my head.

So make some peace with yourself.  Show compassion, change your routine, put down the phone…that means texting too. Just be. See if you can find one hour this week, broken up into 10 or 15 minutes increments.  It’s a challenge I put to you.  That means over seven whole days which is 168 hours, you plan to allocate one hour to self-care.  Leaving you 167 hours for the rest of it.  Please let me know how it goes!  Post a comment or write me directly at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com.

Image