While I was a student at the University of Santa Monica majoring in Spiritual Psychology, we were required to spend an entire term practicing self nurturing. It was difficult for me because I became aware that I was an expert in caring for others. I often was the last person I considered when it came to love and caring. I would overwork, become totally exhausted and feel overwhelmed. All of this in the name of giving “support” to others.
It never dawned on me that self nurturing was an essential part of spiritual practice. In fact, without this self care, I could not function at the highest level of my potential.
As a culture, we are not trained to self nurture. So in my book What Will Set You Free, I dedicate an entire chapter to Radical Self Care.
I’d like you to consider how much time you take to radically care for yourself. How much time are you spending in self discovery of what gives you support and nurturing? Please consider that without this knowledge, you will never reach the full capacity of expression that fuels your destiny. You cannot stand in the fullness of your life if you are depleted.
Try this exercise to help you get better at caring for yourself:
1. Sit down and center yourself. Have a journal or a piece of paper next to you. In the quietude of the moment ask, “How often do I place caring for myself after care for others?” Take some time to write in the form of stream of consciousness. That means just write without any thought to what is coming out.
2. Now make a list of things that nurture and support you.
3. From this list, create three self-nurturing goals you will focus on for the next 30 days. (Anything you do for 30 days becomes a habit). The goals do not have to be large. Make sure they are goals you will keep (i.e., take a bath with candles, read a novel, walk, hike, listen to great music). It is important that you keep this agreement with yourself. Others may try to distract you. Make a commitment to honor this time (even if it is five minutes a day). Remember, you are learning a new tool.
4. Create a calendar documenting how you have nurtured yourself every day.
5. At the end of the 30 days, celebrate your willingness to care for yourself.
Take a moment to remember this:
Today, I am totally clear that I come first. I will be a greater support to others and the world when I learn that I am valuable and deserve great and loving care.