“Self care is about having a radical trust in your own goodness” – Steve Sims, author
There is a joke I once heard that went something like this, “every time I feel the urge to exercise, I sit down and mindfully observe the urge passing away.”
Although the practice of self care appears to be simple enough, it is fraught with subtle misunderstandings and unexamined decisions of defeat. At one level, it runs counter to the trending ‘hustle culture’. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “Need two more hours in your day? Sleep six hours a night. How? Sleep faster”. To the hard-core hustlers out there, the expression ‘self care’ reeks of soft, weak, sensitivity training, breeding people that are fodder for the dragon’s den or shark tank of the bloodied business battlefield.
When I was working as an engineer in a typical corporate environment, I often ran across people that wore stress like a badge of honor. It was seen as a sure sign that one is earning their keep and worthy of promotion. I recall playing the unspoken game of who can stay at work the longest and look the busiest. The double-edged sword of either being genuinely overwhelmed with too much work, or the equally stressful situation of faking it because there are not enough meaningful tasks to perform.
Beyond this, in this hyper-information society, rife with uncertainties and endless distractions, the words of Mark Twain have never been more inundating and truer, “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” To take a break from this, many gravitate towards even more nerve-jangling forms of entertainment. I won’t compound your concerns by citing statistics on the escalating burnout, insomnia, depression, and anxiety in society.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are some that give themselves eight to ten hours of alone time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day. Those that conveniently avoid a deep sense of misalignment or laziness by taking their fourth self-care day in a row. ‘Self-care’ for some, is a very effective way to procrastinate the possibility of failure that may come with taking on new challenging tasks or making impactful decisions.
So how can we practice genuine self-care in this societal and psychological quagmire? Here are a few principles:
1. You have been gifted a precious human birth. Not just any sentient being, a human being! You did nothing consciously to deserve it. Are you taking full advantage of this gift to truly explore and enjoy life? Don’t waste this precious gift that will be taken away from you in a few breaths. What must I do, so that you can live, love and die without regret? Ask this question every morning, gain clarity and act on it.
2. Doing good feels good. It is a simple law of nature that is as old as breath, just before every wholesome action, there is a pleasant feeling. Trust your own goodness and the aligned action that comes out of this.
3. You are a conscious being with choice. You are not an unconscious, choiceless victim. You get to choose how to look after your body, mind, energy and emotions. Claim this choice and choose wisely. Take care of the gift so that you can truly explore and enjoy life.
4. Master your mornings. Although the day ahead may be unpredictable, most of us have some say over how the day begins. As an act of love, give yourself an hour of personal power every morning with exercise, breathwork, meditation and journaling. Where is the hour going to come from? Here’s another strategy, with much respect to Arnold, go to bed an hour earlier.
5. Ask yourself who else will benefit from you taking better care of yourself. If you practice self care just for yourself, it will feel heavy, like carrying a bag of bricks up a mountain. When you do it for the benefit of others, your practice will have wings and echo for generations.
6. Me, We, Omni. Only when you are well, can you truly take care of your relationships and contribute to life in an uplifting, impactful way. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people.
7. Seek out a mentor. All athletes, from beginners to elite have trainers. Skillful living is no different.
Self care begins with first noticing all that is you. When you really start to notice, you start to appreciate. What you appreciate, you take care of. What you take care of, thrives. The practice of self care has everything to do with how much you care about you.
Upcoming professional development retreat:
The Vertical Growth Retreat, Feb 9-12 2023, Spa Eastman, Quebec
Learn more and register: https://mindsmatter.com/program/vertical-growth-retreat
We all wish to live a rich and meaningful life. A life that is aligned with what is important—to us, and our communities. Yet, our current reality often prevents us from living intentionally. As we grapple with accelerated social change, loss of confidence in many of our institutions, and prolonged uncertainty regarding world events, our focus shifts to getting through each day. As distractions multiply, our work and our personal lives begin to overlap and meaningful connections can dwindle away.
The Vertical Growth Retreat is an invitation to put away all distractions so you may fully explore and experience presence, healing, and expansion. It is an invitation to experience a unique developmental journey that fosters healthy performance through increased presence, radical acceptance, and heartfelt human connections. The Vertical Growth Retreat will give you the tools to tap into the meaning and purpose you desire.
A unique developmental journey:
From February 9th to 12th 2023, mindfulness experts Bhaskar Goswami and Carl Lemieux invite you to join an intimate community of 20 people and explore a greater level of self-understanding and discover how to deepen your professional and personal lives in these challenging times.
Combining the gentle rhythms of mindfulness practices, experiential teachings, and cognitive/behavioral science-based exercises, the Vertical Growth Retreat will be guided by cutting-edge psychological research and steeped in the ancient wisdom of Eastern philosophies.
This combination of modern and traditional teachings will make the 4-day retreat a powerful experiential journey that will enhance your innate ability (and desire) to show up—in all aspects of your life. Your time with Bhaskar, Carl, and like-minded peers will be an opportunity to:
Cultivate greater self-awareness and presence
Deepen your understanding of ancient practices and wisdom and the latest research in mindfulness, presence, and well-being
Experience clarity as a practice to move toward a more intentional and valued way of life
Develop the ability to release unwanted reactive patterns and enhance psychological flexibility
Develop authentic connections
Connect to yourself and to others in a nourishing and meaningful way
The Vertical Growth Retreat will take place at the beautiful Eastman Spa and Retreat Center. We will be inaugurating the Center’s brand new Oasis Pavilion, a natural, peaceful setting that was designed to host world-class retreats. Eastman Spa was awarded ‘Canada’s Best Wellness Retreat 2021’ by the prestigious World Spa Awards. The Spa is also the winner of ‘The Best Emphasis on Wellness & Health in Culinary Travel 2022,’ granted by the jury at the World Food Travel Association for its restaurant’s unique Tonique Cuisine™.
Register now to begin your journey towards a greater, more meaningful life:
#professionaldevelopment #personaldevelopment #retreat
Musings, insights, stories and tips on skillful living.