The Practice of Self-Care

I wrote recently about being in a time of fallow, and being conflicted about it. I’ve felt a sense of urgency since the retreat ended to capitalize on the momentum of the guide coming out, and the retreat being such a success. My ego has been demanding that I spend more time on Twitter/post more frequently/madly cross things off my to-do list. My heart has been whispering for me to sleep, do yoga, allow the time and space for the massive growth that is happening in my life.

There is a shift coming for me. I am on the edge of something that’s going to turn the internal fires up a thousand degrees. I don’t know how long it will take to arrive, or what it will look like when it appears. I’ve been trying to force it. I’ve been taking time to go inward while still expecting myself to show up in unsustainable ways. Every time I read the words of Danielle LaPorte, Alex Franzen, Jen Louden, Goddess Leonie, and Dyana Valentine, (to name just a few), my eyes widen, my thoughts race and I want to leap into action. There’s so much I want to DO. I’ve been resisting the voice inside that is telling me to slow down. To let go. To trust.

The revelation that has come this past week is that inspired action and slowing down aren’t mutually exclusive if I let go of the thought that I need to be there now. I can get more sleep and spread the word about the pregnancy loss support group I’m starting. I can meditate and journal and answer my emails. But I can only do this if I truly let go and trust that there is time.

I am giving myself permission to be where I am, permission to relax and follow where my heart leads. I don’t know if it’s the most effective way to be an entrepreneur but I do know it’s the only sustainable, joyful way to be me. I trust that the time of fallow will be followed by a time of planting, then harvesting. I am not looking for balance, something I believe is unattainable the way we talk about it in our society, with our life pie charts and working parent guilt. I am seeking the joy that comes from honoring self and serving others, from deep connection with my inner and outer worlds, from valuing my heart, my instincts, my intuition as much as I value my mind and the teachings of those I admire.

I am refining my practice of self-care. And it is a practice. There is no there, no ideal way to be, no way to know when I’ve achieved the long-desired perfection of knowing how to take care of myself. Right now it is clear that my body needs more sleep and consistent exercise. My spirit needs daily yoga and meditation. I need to write in order to feel fulfilled. I’m listening to those deep calls of the soul and taking the time to act on them, even when it feels impossible. And I am forgiving myself when I fall down, when I stay up too late, when I miss a day of yoga because I’ve got a cold and my body wants simply to rest.

The practice of self-care is a practice of love.

For a moment today, take the time to get quiet, and listen to your deepest, most knowing self. What practice does it want you to start?

Then choose whether or not to listen. No blame. No guilt. Only love.

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2 Responses to The Practice of Self-Care

  1. Christa says:

    I love this, Alana, and it is so true.

    I felt much the same way, not long ago, and struggled to just let go and rest. It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, and it seems to be a really important one.

    And now? Things are expanding really rapidly. In huge ways. And I’m still taking good care.

    I’m so glad you are being kind to my friend.

    Love to you.

  2. jojo says:

    this speaks so much truth for me Alana… because my life never feels like balance. i am starting to see balance as the forgiveness i give myself to recognize these cycles. to be more fully in the moment. that “feels” more balanced. thank you for sharing this truth! xo

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