is it self-care or gratitude? redefining what it means to take time for ourselves
July 1, 2014
This is about self-care. We hear so much about it, how a former all-business media mogul is now teaching it, what magazines say about it, how we should do more of it, feel less guilty about it. But what is self-care? Is it really taking care of ourselves? Or is it giving thanks?
I was wondering why I feel confused when people talk about the amount of time I spend on “self-care.” My morning walk in the park, meditation and movement practice, solo time having adventures, moments where I turn off my phone and disconnect from social media and email.
“You spend so much time on self-care.”
But it’s never been a conscious act of self-care. It’s an act of gratitude.
I just feel like, my god, look at this world! Look at this life! Look at this body that carries me, fuels me and enables me! I am so thankful, and so grateful for the life that’s been given to me. To not give thanks…it feels…empty.
I see it like this: It’s as though the entire universe is holding in its hands the greatest gift we have never imagined. It’s more than anything we’ve ever received, and contains everything.
Unlimited possibilities. Untold miracles. Adventure and rewards. Gardens. Mystical pathways.
Rising suns. Waning moons.
And we walk past it–this dear, sweet friend holding their heart in their hands–and we push it aside and say: “I’m too busy.”
“I’m too busy.”
We choose this life that’s dry, void of the joy of serendipity. We choose a concrete road lined with cement buildings.
There’s a pathway lined with wild flowers waiting, that leads to a lake in the midst of a circle of trees.
And all we have to do to receive it is say “Thank you.”
the recurring dream
When I was going through my blessed quarter-life crisis, a.k.a. the dissolution of who I was never meant to be, I had a recurring dream. In it, I was sitting at the edge of the lake we went to every summer when I was growing up. Over the treetops of the forest surrounding it I could see a city skyline; coming faster, steadily encroaching, eating up the trees and everything around it. It was coming to the lake.
Beside me sat…me. Me as a little girl, about six years old, hugging my knees to my chin, crying and pointing at the city. “You let them in.”
That summer I went back to the lake I’d spent so much time at as a child, driving ten hours straight from the ocean, through the Rocky Mountains, to a valley in their midst.
I walked the pathways I’d walked as a child, floated down a river, climbed a tree barefoot. And I went to the lake. Immersed myself in it.
I got myself back.
Stopped having the dream.
And then I changed everything.
So I could live a life filled with “Thank-yous.” Rich with unexpected surprises. Guided by the absolute knowing that miracles aren’t kooky; they’re dependable.
Thank you. My god, thank you.
Give thanks. For just one minute be saturated by the beauty of your life. Notice it all. Say “yes.”