Breath of Life – How Do We Engage In Self Care?

Originally written for the New Moon Women’s Circle website

How can I help? Can I help you?  I love helping people and giving of my time and energy to lift people up.  In fact, I could easily give all of myself at anytime to be there for the people I care about.  And I have.

And I became exhausted.  And sick. I had nothing left to give.

After years of therapy, I have begun to learn what was missing:  I wasn’t giving anything to myself. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but I need to give to myself so that I am able to serve others.  Whether it is taking myself to see the latest “chick flick,” getting an ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, or sitting enjoying nature, these little gifts that I give to myself energize me; then I help others and as long as I continually treat myself, I do not get completely worn out.

Sometimes the gift is rest.  What yoga has taught me is that we need to be mindful of where we are and act from that place.  Sometimes I might want to go out, but I only have enough energy to watch tv. Sometimes the gift is saying “no.”  My friend recently asked me to go to an open mic. But I was running low on energy and had a busy weekend, so I said “no.”  It was incredibly difficult, yet at the end of that evening I felt my energy return, and I was able to give my best to my clients, and then I was able to be social with my friends.

This is a practice that I still struggle with.  When I ignore myself my body, my mind, and my spirit will shut down when they have no energy left.   We wouldn’t go on a trip without filling our car with gas, so why do we expect to go on life’s journey without filling ourselves up.  And we wouldn’t ask our friends and family to join us to get stuck in the desert.  If we want to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves, first.

Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection

Originally written for the New Moon Women’s Circle website

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, Phd, LMSW

by Becca C. Kidwell

As I get ready to write this book review, I begin to look at my background as a high school teacher and having a master’s in English education and begin to worry about what will be the response to this review and will it be good enough, and then I remember what I just read in Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and I am able to write this.

Brené Brown is a shame researcher, and in this book she explores how her work led her to embrace compassion (particularly for herself) and wholehearted living.  Brené discusses the struggles she’s had with perfectionism and offers suggestions on how to let go of the expectations that we hold for ourselves and for others.  She speaks about this compassion for ourselves, which leads us to be more compassionate, and loving to others. She differentiates between guilt and shame and how guilt is feeling bad about your actions while shame is feeling bad about who you are. Continue reading “Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection”