According to Google, self-care is yoga, meditation and lemon water. Thanks Google but we know that self-care is so much more than that.
Self-care isn't about being self-absorbed—it's about caring for our families, communities, environments, and workplaces. For those of us who don't create routines for self-balancing behaviours (*Ryan puts his hand up), this is an important reality to remember and live.
But what is this 'self' thing we speak of when we say 'self-care'?
For me, self-care is dignity. Self-care is saying what needs to be said – honestly and with respect. Without speaking our truth, we lose our dignity – we lose ourselves. If we don't know our truth, let's not speak. If we do know our truth, let's speak it regardless of outcome. I have colleagues that embody this quality and I aspire to it!
Last November I was fortunate to take part in an overnight ceremony on Vancouver Island. Through song, prayer, medicines, and seated meditation, I had the extreme displeasure of feeling the outcomes of moments in my life when I spoke without dignity—selfishly, aggressively or manipulatively… moments when I spoke without truth.
I re-experienced these moments from a 'third person' viewpoint. I actually felt the pain of losing my dignity—of distorting myself—and the pain it caused others.
The pain was overwhelming … (even compared to sitting in a mangled-lotus position on a dirt floor for 12 hours as a guy whose only form of yoga is vacuuming under his couches).
As the eastern sky began to light up in the morning, it dawned on me: I need to stretch more. I also realized that, the quality of All our Relations is determined by the quality of our self-care.
I couldn't 'un-do' the moments in my life where my relations became distorted and graceless by undignified speech, but I can recognize these moments as they arise in the future and remind myself that speaking truth is dignity.
Now, for self-care, I'm trying to remember that if I don't know my truth: may silence make me strong.