My neighbour just asked me this question. My amazing, strong, powerful, take-charge, no bullshit, make-shit-happen 88 year old neighbour with a better social life and more energy than people half her age, who I admire greatly. “Why do you do this to yourself?” Was the other question.
It’s a good question. I don’t feel like I am trying to do that much, but she sees it differently. We’ve had this conversation before, several times over the almost six years we have been neighbours. We were meant to be neighbours, but that’s a story for another day.
Today she came outside and saw me lying on the grass outside of my place. Her intuition is great and she came right up to me and asked how I was. Not the ‘how are you?’ that people politely ask as a greeting, but a genuine ‘how are YOU?’. Truth be told, I am not great. I am mentally in a great place, but my body not so much. I have lost my voice and have a the beginnings of a chest infection. It’s not the first time, and I am not the first person to get sick but she knows me too well. I push myself too hard and in the end I am the one who suffers. This morning I had a similar conversation with my husband about how my self-care has slipped and left me vulnerable to the winter nasties that fly around. I am usually quite good at staying well no matter my self-care but this week, no. After a bit of a chat with her about lots of things and some probing and thought provoking questions, she gave me a huge hug and said she was giving me her energy to take away with me.
The irony is I teach self-care as most of you know. The saying ‘we teach what we most need to learn’ was seemingly written for me.
So this morning after talking with my husband, I made a tough decision. I cancelled my planned courses this week. I’ve only ever done this once, when I had Influenza A, I do anything I can to avoid this situation. I’d rather give my clients plenty of warning rather than cancel the day before or the morning of. It was hard, really hard to do. I pride myself on my reputation and started having the usual thoughts of self-doubt and self-deprecation for having done it. You know what she said “they will fucking manage without you” with the fierce gentleness of a wise woman who knows her stuff.
After a day of faffing around being annoyed at my to do list not shrinking, and having no energy to do much about it, feeling bad about cancelling, despite knowing I could not deliver, I decided to listen to my body, mind, heart and spirit. The earth called, quiet time beckoned and I listened. For once I listened.
I went outside and lay on mother earth, under the beautiful bright blue sky, slipped my socks off, put on a self-compassion meditation, and absorbed it all. I needed a self-compassion break and I took it. It reminded me of the times as a little girl I would lie on the grass and look at the clouds, the sky and do nothing at all.
It was beautiful.
With a gentle hand on my heart, I gave myself great compassion and felt the healing, nurturing and all of the things I teach people it is.
It’s always there, we just need to remind ourselves of where to find it and remember to access it.
So try taking a self-compassion break today.
You deserve it.