I’ve taken a year’s leave of absence from my teaching job in order to restore my bodily health and more deeply explore how I can serve Mutual Flourishing. I passionately believe that how we care for ourselves is intertwined with how we care—or fail to care—for the planet. Since I’m fairly knowledgeable about planetary care but less-expert in self-care, I decided I needed to practice.
This is an uncomfortable position for me. I love to work hard and be busy, and for much of my life I’ve been more immersed in the mental world than the bodily. Self-care often involves caring for the body and the body-mind-spirit connection through approaches such as exercise, stillness, slowing down, yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, journaling, energy work, and more. I both desire all this and find it unappealing. There’s something seductive about a fast-paced life with the endless stresses (and achievements) of work, family, and worldly concerns. But a fast pace has burned me out. Since I haven’t been good at self-care since I was about 25, and I’m 41 now, I’m definitely rusty.
After dealing with health problems for a number of years, noticing that I feel stressed too much of the time, and feeling an increasing desire to contribute to healing the human/Earth connection, I chose to take the leap into a year of a quieter pace. I’m creating space for my body and intuition, expecting to restore my bodily wellness, and hoping to discern ways to contribute more deeply to Mutual Flourishing.
These are my Principles for a Year of Mutual Flourishing Self-Care, and I invite you to join me in following them:
1. I care for my body for my own good, and also with awareness of my body’s connections to all life in the embodied realm: plants, animals, air, water, soil, the elements, and the planet itself. As I care for my own flourishing, I make choices and use resources in ways that care for the flourishing of all life. (As I say in my e-book, Repair the Earth, Heal Yourself, “Heal and maintain health with gifts from the Earth.”)
2. I learn that nurturing my body opens the well-spring of my creativity and compassion.
3. I experience how rest, stillness, meditation, listening, and exercise do not detract from my work, but empower it.
4. I transition from a rushed and frantic pace to a life approach that is grounded, serene, and balanced.
5. I daily notice the pleasure, wisdom, and happiness I experience by paying attention to my body and not only my mind.
6. I listen in new ways to my intuition, my soul, and my bodily wisdom: those voices that get crowded out by modern life, yet which may be our wisest guides.
7. Daily I slow down to observe and make physical contact with the natural world around me: the plants and animals in my home, yard, and wherever I go; the ecosystems that support my life; the sorrowful and hopeful signs in the current story of planet Earth.
I’ll report on how I’m doing. You might consider adopting 1 or 2 Principles for yourself, or even the whole list. Maybe you’ll experiment with the practice I recommend in my e-book, “Touch the Natural World Daily,” another version of Principle 7. Maybe you’ll simply join me in honoring your own bodily wisdom and intuition in the coming months.
I’d love to hear about your explorations in the comments here, on Facebook, or in my email, firstname.lastname@example.org
To your flourishing, mine, and the Earth’s,
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