I have a confession to make.
When I published the Tender Loving Care post my original plan was to move the post in a different direction. As you may remember, Susan told the story of her tender attention to her baby daughter. She wrote of her mother watching in awe, touched and inspired by Susan’s loving care.
I planned to write about how seemingly ordinary expressions of loving kindness have a profound impact on others.
When it came to write, I was too tired to form words into sentences. I left Susan’s story to speak for itself and highlighted her final question. “Why, then, is it so hard to give that same care to myself?”
The result was wonderful conversations in the comments and in Real Life.
So here’s my confession.
Through years of living with a brain injury (and a thyroid illness and adrenal fatigue, sigh) I’ve had lots of practice with deep, honest self care. But the truth is I’m a million times more comfortable writing glowing words about inspiring loving kindness then I am writing about self care.
It seems to me that alone requires further consideration.
I have all the same demons you do assuring me it’s selfish, unnecessary (or too necessary, I’ll never doing anything else for anyone else ever again) lazy, arrogant, and in the end just plain wrong.
At the same time, everything in my Buddhist teachings (confirmed by my own experience) tells me focusing on myself, my needs, my desires is exactly how I create my own suffering. The way to free myself is to focus on the benefit of others.
Well, what am I to do with that?
Every time I put myself first — examining every request through the lens of my own energy level, riding disability carts through airports as throngs of travelers drag suitcases in the trek to their gate, going first, sitting when others stand, canceling plans, choosing to rest — how do I reconcile all that “I”?
You may give me a free pass because of my health challenges. You’ll say, it’s different for you Mahala, you have a head injury for goodness sakes.
Keep Your Free Pass For Yourself
You, sweet readers, are some of the kindest people on earth. So please forgive me.
I don’t want your free pass.
Your free pass, so lovingly intended does not help me at all. It makes things worse, can you understand? I don’t want to be the exception. Let someone else be the exception for a change.
We already give each other permission. Compassion. How can each one of us give ourselves permission? Our own free pass to take the care we need to stay whole, healthy, and in service. Without waiting for a breakdown?
How do I wish this for me and for you without turning my back on Buddhism, karma, and the genuine blessings that come from thinking of others instead of ourselves?
I’ve been struggling with these issues for years. Then, about a week ago, I started having breakthroughs. All of my long-standing explorations, meditations, conversations with Buddhist friends, studies in Buddhist psychology… everything that had been so emotionally laden before rearranged itself in the most clear and simple truth:
It is possible to engage in Sacred Selfcare.
I see it. I understand it. I can feel it in my body. It’s tender and beautiful and whole.
I’ve got so many ideas jumping around excitedly in my brain longing to be told, shared, and refined.
There is just no way I want to do this by writing alone. I want to be with you as much as I can with these observations.
I am inviting delightedly begging you to join me for what is sure to be a rich, joyful, wisdom filled, three-part class on the subject of Sacred Selfcare.
This changes everything.