Lessons from our past and present:
What matters to you? What tugs at your heart strings? What fills your soul? I’ve spent the last year really trying to understand these questions for myself. I’ve found some of the answers in ghosts of the past and my elders.
Self care looks so different for so many people. And it has so many facets to it. When I first started this project I wasn’t sure if I could come up with enough “content” to keep it going. Where would I find the time to add one more thing to my schedule?? Then a ghost of time past floats past my ear and reminds me of my love of writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is meant to be enjoyed.
How are we supposed to create self care for ourselves if we don’t even know what we actually like? The three questions above are a consistent nag in the back of my mind. A beacon if you will guiding me to where I am willing to give my time. The light shining through my soul to where I am supposed to be.
These questions will never be answered concretely. More of an ebb and flow that follows our life. But the answers can help guide us through the ebbs and to enjoy the flows. At first, I was completely frustrated with these questions as I thought everyone else already “had them.” Like people walk around with a bunch of sure answers. And the more that I really started to look, instead of assume, the more wrong I was.
I assumed busy was fulfillment. I assumed that having “Superman Syndrome” was the best thing I could do for others. That the amount of likes on social media, meant the amount of change I could create. But the answers were never there. Yet, in the chaos I found the calm. I found the craving for something softer. Quieter. Still…
Where do you go to find those things? How do you navigate with so many directions to go? Let go. (Insert Frozen song here.) Let go of the things that don’t fill your soul or give you energy. Even when you don’t know what you do you want, you know what you don’t want. Let go of the things you don’t want. Start with the stigmas you assume others have. They are so busy with themselves, they don’t have the time for the judgements you think they do. And if they do have time for judgements, I’d wager they aren’t the happy souls you’d like to replicate.
Turn towards those with experience for the answers you crave. Both yourself and your elders. The answer is always within you and around you. I am currently sitting at the hospital with Grandpa Jim. One of the smartest, kindest, least judging man of my lifetime. It’s given me time to contemplate what matters for me. While he fights to breathe, trusts those of us around him, and continues to get better- I am learning from him. My health isn’t just a thing. It is a gift. His fighting to be with us, the medical team here, and what science has afforded us in this life- is also a gift.
Grandpa Jim has given me a life lesson without ever knowing it. Often that is how life lessons go. We don’t impart magical knowledge knowingly. But rather through the actions we live through. His soft demeanor of listening to others. He never needs to be right over being peaceful. Grandpa Jim had no problem admitting to me that he was scared the first time he recieved a massage. Even telling me why he was scared. That moment changed my life. All he did was share something, and yet that was crucial to becoming who I am. In that moment, Grandpa Jim had no problem revealing he was scared of something. I don’t know that I have done that in my short lifetime. By being vulnerable, he gave a gift to me. I have to wonder how often, my being “strong” robs someone else the chance to heal.
Brene Brown has taught me that the words we say don’t heal people. What we do does. Our basic actions create the space for us to heal and happen to allow others to do the same. We cannot heal for others. Welp, there goes my Superman Syndrome. Yet, a whole lot of freedom comes from not needing to “fix” others. The real freedom comes from working on allowing others their space while with me. Having family members with dementia is really honing this in for me.
Then there is creating the space for you. Creating boundaries to allow yourself the Self-Care Sunday Space you deserve. Or even UnManic Monday. Lean into your gut feelings. I started by waiting for the quiet whispers to guide me. The first voice when looking for reason, not the second voice or the loud one. Those voices belong to what society has taught me. My inner desires will never yell. They will always wait for me to find the quiet.
When leaning into new things, we will always second guess ourselves. While relearning to trust ourselves, we can look to our own history. When we were younger society hadn’t gotten to us yet. The outer world hadn’t imposed it’s opinions to cripple us yet. Take the chance to look at what your 4 year old self would say, your 6 year old self? Sometimes my inner child is smarter than this 34 year old existence.
Our elders have so much to teach us in the life lived before us. Our inner child knows us better than the loud world thinks it does. Reach to them to find who you want to be and who you are. Finding balance in self-care is also finding yourself. What better gift can you give the world?