It’s all about me.

Really, no, it isn’t. Not ALL, and not always. But, sometimes, it has to be. It needs to be. It is necessary. Some days, especially when you feel you have absolutely zero time for yourself, you have to make time for your “SELF.” The constant, low vibration of stress that permeates society at large, coupled with one’s individual challenges can leave us feeling anything other than our highest selves. As someone who lives by the creed, “It is our birthright to create the best possible life we can,” I have battled hypocrisy by neglecting self care at times when it was most needed. By the time we feel drained, mentally, physically, emotionally, we tend to lack the motivation and inspiration to do more, even if it’s for ourselves. Especially, if it’s for ourselves. Because, after the deadlines are met, the meetings concluded, the emails returned, the calls answered, the tasks performed, the news digested, the errands ran, the bills paid…we’re tired. All of these “musts” influenced my choice to walk away from societal norms 2 1/2 years ago. I saw in myself, a fading identity that comes with answering to every demand and expectation, and none of them, not one, supported my quest in walking my path. I talk often of “walking the path.” Perhaps I’ll save that for an entirely separate topic. But, for now, suffice to say when I took a long and careful gaze into my life, my daily actions and activities, I didn’t like what I saw. More importantly, I didn’t like what I felt. We were not born simply to survive. I wanted to thrive. I fully understand that my lifestyle is not exactly rational, but, it’s not so radical, either. There was a deep lack of satisfaction in the mouse wheel of setting my alarm, waking up at 5am, grooming and dressing for the day, donning business attire, driving the same route, to the same building, performing the same tasks, leaving 9 hours later, driving the same route home, making a lackluster dinner, resetting my alarm and waiting for the weekend. I feel like we are cheated in life, by putting in five days of “must” for 2 days of “can”. Everybody’s working for the weekend…why? Why can’t we create a life where Wednesday brings as much satisfaction as Saturday? I decided it had to be not only possible, but achieved. I am in no way suggesting everyone  put in their two week notice tomorrow, pack your bags, and move to your dream location. Balancing the exit of society with the requirements of society was a long process. For my readers who don’t know the changes of which I’m speaking, I was a manager in a level III prison when I took the final steps to live out that birthright I mentioned. I am highly affected by climate. I don’t enjoy cold weather or snow. For 23 years, I lived in Colorado. The natural beauty of that place, the activities I pursued with fervor (mainly dirt biking and climbing) were perfectly accommodated there. And, the people. Oh, the people. Leaving my friends, my chosen family brought physical pain in my chest. I miss them, everyday. I always will. Airplanes. Thank God for airplanes.  However, living there, every year when the calendar rolled over to any month ending in “ber”, I immediately and eagerly awaited May. I tried to enjoy rather than tolerate the climate. But, my true self simply wouldn’t have it. So, I moved to the place I have always known I belonged- next to the ocean. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up each morning and each morning, I remain grateful for that indescribable view that speaks to my soul. That is my true self.  To read my journey in such a condensed paragraph does make my life sound somewhat radical. To add some realism, I still have to work. I am a drop zone manager. I love skydiving, and knew there had to be a way to break into the culture of the sport and make a living. To throw on my rig when work has slowed down, hop on a plane and get in a couple jumps in the middle of a WORK day nurtures my highest self. But, what if that isn’t where you are on your path? What if walking away from all forms of dissatisfaction is not a logical move, for now? To answer that, you first need to be fully in touch with what keeps you sane, what drives you, what you think about when imagine your ideal life. And, these answers come almost effortlessly when we take time for ourselves. I highly recommend… no, I beg you, to write it all down. If funds allow, book a massage and meditate while healing hands sooth your physical and mental kinks. Join a gym, if possible, one that is on point with your interests: a rock climbing gym, a yoga studio, a crossfit box. If disposable income makes these things temporarily unrealistic, you may find yourself in an even better place to maintain self care. Being resourceful can build character at warp speeds. Walk barefoot, nothing between you and the earth, for a half hour a day. Stop, sit down and meditate. The power of connecting ourselves to nature and our own inner peace is so undervalued in a world where being frazzled has somehow become noble. How often have you heard conversations centering around how busy each person is? I’ve definitely been guilty, because, that was my truth at the time. Also, I was doing nothing about it. I wasn’t filling my emotional and spiritual tank and emptying my mental one. If you wish to incorporate this self care thing as a part of your path, find out what’s in your own back yard. It may not be the ocean, or the mountains, if that’s where you dream of living. But, there may be a perfect tree in a quiet park two blocks from your house. Go there enough, and it feels like a second home. The simple act of sitting down under it will begin to bring instantaneous peace. Take yourself on a picnic and splurge on the things you usually bypass. Buy the expensive olives, the aged cheese, the organic grapes, the $4 chocolate bar. Spread out a blanket, nibble, read, cloud gaze, nap. Consider investing in a good hammock. I bought one from Pawley’s Island Hammocks 18 years ago and it easily has another 18 years on it. USE IT. Read a book for no other reason but pleasure. More than anything, as you self care, slow down your senses. Notice the color, texture, smell of your high brow picnic. Taste each bite. Consider the olive grove from which that olive grew, was picked and was always making its way to you. Silly? Yes. Till you try it. The brain is such an asshole sometimes. It starts a thought, doesn’t allow you to finish it, throws you a completely unrelated problem, gives you no time for a solution, whispers you’re a failure, interrupts moments of joy with thoughts of overdue bills. Tell it to stfu. You’re eating an olive. We are well on our way to answering the age old question, “What do I want to do with my life?” when we start doing what we want with our life. It may feel foreign and forced, if you’ve never practiced the discipline of self care. Eventually, you will refuse to live without it. It will no longer be a luxury, you will no longer feel guilty for taking time out when your to do list is still beckoning. In fact, you can add “Self care” to that list. It’s that important. I enjoy seeing people happy. Genuinely satisfied with where they are in life. Too often, as I listen to a person’s story, I fight the urge to interrupt and say, ‘Take off your shoes. Let’s go for a walk.” Because, it’s clear this struggling human hasn’t experienced an hour of self care in so long, they have forgotten how to do it. An unexpected side affect of incorporating self indulgence? You find you have MORE time. You operate more efficiently. You are no longer dragging yourself to Saturday, because you have something  to look forward today. The weekend becomes an extended bonus when you deliberately make room for joy and peace in your daily routine. For all those inspired to give this thing a shot, or for those who already have a solid practice, I would be deeply grateful if you would take a minute and share in the comments, what YOU do, that others may benefit. Today, I humbly ask you to do one (or one more) thing that serves no other purpose than taking care of yourself. After all, it is our birthright to have time to make it “All about me.” Peace, Warriors

4 Comments

  1. I loved it! So true and necessary. I’m planning a trip as I write to check out and find solice on a beach to kick my shoes off and dig my feet deep into the sand and just meditate to the sounds of water. I like to play golf when possible because it requires total concentration on the right movements to accomplish a perfect shot. It’s a fun release. Another release is playing drums hard core loud and on point and sweating for hours to songs of all types… my gym is my drum sets. I enjoy driving my hot rod and being part of its crazy fast and fun motor and must hold on old ness to not crash it. No music on just motor rumbling and bangin gears. I also enjoy my motorcycle for 100% concentration on nothing but me and the bike staying alive on these dangerous roads lol… I live to hike, bicycle, free climb roofs and houses with ladders lol. Skinny skiing, skinny dipping, skinny golfing, skinny cooking, skinny sleeping, skinny just about anything…
    hugs you.

    Liked by 1 person

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