What calls you to self-care? Is it a daily practice or something you save for a special occassion or a heart attack?
Do you wait for a breakdown?
Recently I went to a client’s house and held him for 4 hours. We spent time cuddling, dancing, and talking with no particular agenda. He used the time to hold and reflect and be close to another person as an intense and proactive form of self-care. It was worth it for him to take time to integrate the daily stresses of life, his recent breakup, and even soothe some of his childhood neglect. Slowing down while being in connection with another human body, their listening, and their calm nervous system is self-care. It can be a radical act of healing. It can be an interruption to an otherwise busy, hectic life. It can be an important step on the road to recovery.
What would being held and being listened to mean to you?
Are you like my client who waited a decade between romantic relationships? Are you like my client who would flinch away from a hug or handshake? Are you like my client whose body was shutting down with an autoimmune disease because of not being able to say no? Are you like my client stuck in a relationship with an abusive narcissist? Are you like my client barely able to move his neck but trying to go on with business as usual? Are you like my client who gives then gives more to his massage patients barely taking any time to recharge his own batteries? Are you like my client who’s a mom and the cornerstone of her entire family but will put everyone else’s needs ahead of hers?
Who cares for you?
How long do you wait? What can you do on your own? When do you reach out for help?
Today I’ve got a stuffy nose and aching bones and I ask myself the same questions. How long do I go before I take my self care seriously? How much do I think I’m invincible and can give to everyone else before pausing to get the sleep I need or the holding and listening I need? Even though this is my work, I’m not immune to the “do more faster, sleep when you are dead” rhetoric of our culture. I can forget how important it is to be held and have that space of safety to speak whatever is on my mind and my heart, to see where I’m stuck and take new actions, all while being held with radical acceptance and compassion. I’m so glad to share this with you. Now I’m going to lie down and be held for an hour before I pick up my daughter from school and go to the bank. There really is time. Even in a busy day there is time for me to be held and relax.