Despair about our environmental challenges is frequently heard when caring for my clients. Waking up to ourselves also means waking up to what is around us. How do I balance the injustices of our day? For those that are politically active, and taking a stand, I applaud you! For those that are in the throes of a healing crisis, focusing on yourself does contribute to solving the larger problems of our world. You cannot help anyone until you heal yourself. Finding that balance is a life long task.
Long ago, I had a weekend away from single-parenting my 3 young daughters. I sat in the deep woods alone, in Southern Ohio, in the early morning. Overhead, I heard a commotion. It was spring, and the sounds emanating from a nest of hungry, baby birds, was unmistakable. I imagined the parents had been driven off, abandoning the nest, or had been killed…I imagined a rescue, what could I do? I imagined the birds toppling down in their distress and being someone else’s breakfast. Self care to me is common sense
There was nothing I could do. It seemed like it took forever, but eventually, the parent came back and fed them. The quiet was palpable. I then realized another option: the parent had fed themselves before feeding the little, hungry ones. If the parent was weak from hunger, it would not be able to sustain itself or any offspring. Then, as a young woman with 3 young daughters and on my own, the message from nature hit me like a lightening bolt, and I have never forgotten that lesson. Self-care is not selfish, it is a necessary routine needed to remain healthy and be able to give back to others. The time I spent in the woods built resilience, and improved my mental and physical health.
Our bodies have two paths to go down: improved health and wellness or deterioration. Just as the “powers that be” have neglected the sustainability of the planet, our environment is in a seriously unhealthy state. Prevention is the best medicine. Had we made better decisions 30 years ago, 16 year-old Greta Thurnberg would not be telling grown-ups they should be ashamed of themselves for being so greedy and selfish.
Reaching or regaining your full potential takes time, energy and creativity. None of us are exempt from this need of self-care. For some of us, healing may mean getting involved in the issues at hand, by taking a stand. As you care for yourself, remember there are those that are in the trenches of the protests, getting arrested for our sake, for Earth’s sake. The fight for our lives and home is here.