In the last month I’ve signed up for two self-care online retreats. TWO! Guess how much I’ve done of either?
You probably guessed none and you’re right.
Last week my body was really tired from driving from Kansas to Massachusetts and then driving my daughter to college, unpacking her and getting her settled. I was in pain by Labor Day. It took all of my boyfriend’s cajoling and a little shaming to get me to the massage therapist.
I am one of those people who care for and heal other people, but resist caring for myself. I go through stages where I decide to be really mindful and I do a great job of meditating, getting massages, long, luxurious asana practices and then life gets busy or I feel like too many people need me and I stop. Cold turkey.
This weekend I indulged in a little more self-care than usual. I lay in the hammock and meditated in the early morning sunshine. I let my eyes get soft and just watched the breeze sailing through the fluttering leaves, I listened to birds and noticed the shifting shadows. I rocked gently and noticed my body, the aches the pains, the creaky cranky places and just listened to what she had to tell me. I observed myself observing this. I listened to what my brain was doing, judging, not judging, planning. I let the thoughts float in and out.
The weekend was full of long walks, working out, long showers, rich coffee and a trip to the beach. Despite living just minutes from two great beaches, we don’t go that often. It was a return to myself in a way. I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and spent many days with my eyes closed just listening to the sound of the waves, the breeze, kids playing, dogs barking and 80s music on the radio. So this weekend, i just closed my eyes and listened. I felt the sun on my skin, the breeze blowing over my body and the squishy sand under my body. It reminded me who I was.
Returning to familiar settings is such a treat. It can automatically take you back. The real delight is that your brain doesn’t differentiate between past and present. As someone who has some PTSD that often isn’t a great thing, but for this perfect afternoon it was heaven. I got to feel like my teenage self, which in retrospect had few problems and worries. It was like taking a vacation.
So, maybe this weekend take some time for yourself. Get out your paints or a new journal. Lie in a park or at the beach. Let your mind just rest. Let your body relax. Take a moment to return to you.