A Shift in Perspective Kate
A Shift in Perspective
Mine has been a very gratifying journey of personal inner work to find a healthy relationship with the idea of “self-care.” When I was younger, I viewed taking time for myself as an indulgence. A hot bath or an hour of reading a novel was something along the lines of “you deserve this,” or “you earned it,” so enjoy. I could never fully sink into the depths of its restorative medicine, because I had myself on a timer, and guilt held a significant space in my subconscious. I was not alone in this deep-rooted belief; the term “guilty pleasure” is a well-used cliché of our culture.
Then I became a mother, and the richness of this life with its’ endless gifts and lessons began to unfold. Loving check-ins from friends and family, “are you getting any time for you?” at first seemed like polite and meaningless niceties which sometimes would trigger annoyance. I would think, how can you even ask that? There is no time for that, my baby needs me, I can’t take time off from being a Mom. And yet, as with any comment that triggers an emotional response, I knew had to look at myself to find out why this was the case.
This wasn’t an easy task to take on, because I wasn’t at my best. My irritability, impatience, and emotional roller-coaster rides were daily phenomena in our home. These expressions of my ego were way more prevalent than ever before (another “hmmmm, interesting, let’s look at that” flag). My first occasions of self care as a new Mama were, in a way, forced, by moments of being driven to my edge. I would explode (usually at my husband!) and then NEED to get out of the house, go for a walk in the woods, sing in a field, drive to a coffee shop.
After which I would feel so much better, of course.
I would arrive home not only feeling calmer, but ready to embrace my beautiful life once more. What I eventually realized was that I needed to shift my relationship with the concept of self-care.
Self-care is not an indulgence. It’s a responsibility.
Especially as the hearth-tender of our home, I owe it to myself and my family to make sure I’m at my best. If I’m going to be practicing love, compassion, and patience with my loved ones, if I’m going to be properly nourishing them, I need to make sure I am doing the same for myself. I need to be centered and grounded. My heart needs to be clear. Self care is absolutely essential for this.
While my self-care practice is largely about creating routine and carving out time for relaxing and rejuvenating activities, it is also a mentality, a way of being. In essence, it is living prayer. Like most of us, I don’t live in a village full of natural built-in support systems for parents, and so it’s not always possible to take time out of the busy day-to-day
Shifting my perspective with regards to some of my daily tasks has really helped me to nourish myself along the way. When I embody the gifts of hearth-tending with love, everyday tasks become sacred and beautiful. It is my choice: will I do chores or will I tend divinity? I choose to bring back the sacred, and set the space for the rituals of daily life. When every breath is an unconscious meditation of gratitude, everything is an artistic act. Yes, even washing the dishes.
I choose to bring back the sacred, and set the space for the rituals of daily life.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes summiting Mount Laundry is not an adventure I’m inspired to embark on. I do still need actual time for myself. But the more I practice tending divinity in the everyday, I can definitely go for longer stretches as full-on Mama and hearth-keeper of the family.