This paragraph is about to get personal. This past April, I turned 34 years old. The last 5 years or so, I’ve made a commitment to treating myself well for at least a month after my birthday. I think of it as my reward for making it this far through life – – so far! Well, this last year was especially trying. My dad, Earl, was diagnosed with cancer last August and he passed two months later, on October 7th. In the blink of an eye, he was gone and I was left shocked. He was one of the most vibrant people I knew. In his 50’s, he was doing tree work and a tree fell on his head and partially scalped him. He kept working! At 60 years old, he was hiking Colorado mountains over 10,000 feet high.
Dad called me last year to tell me he went on a night hike in the Colorado mountains, only to see mountain lion foot prints on top of his own when he finally headed back towards the car. He said he understood why people called them “Ghost Cats” – you’ll never see or hear a mountain lion until it’s too late.
My point in telling you all this is this – You will never know when your time is coming. You can live a full, healthy life and then one day out of the blue you’ve got some terminal disease and the clock is ticking. Death comes for everyone eventually. That’s why Self-Care is so important. Not because I want you to feel disillusioned that you are cheating death by taking better care of yourself. No, you should have a killer (awesome!) self-care routine because life is short and all we have to do is give ourselves permission to have a better quality of life, less suffering and more joy.
One of my dad’s friends’ favorite things to say was “one more day to chase happy.” She would line up her day off with her favorite self-care activities, hair cut, pedicure and manicure, time with her girlfriends, going to dinner, dancing, going hiking or traveling. Self-care is personal. It’s what’s going to make you happy and fulfilled, we’re going beyond “make sure you take your blood pressure meds every morning” type of self-care.
What makes you light up? What makes you feel most alive? I know for me, part of my self-care is spending time with people who make me feel loved. Hanging out with people who I can share joy and laughter with. I buy myself fresh cut flowers, often. A necessity for me is sunshine and blue skies, spending time outside with my dog. Another practice that keeps me sane is my daily meditation and connecting with my intuition.
Every season, I adore my precious time spent with the sky. Ocean, mountains, forest, desert I love it all. Travel is part of my self-care. A good story is part of my self-care too. Sometimes I get my stories from a good book or t.v. show, or even from my patients sharing their hearts with me. Storytelling is part of what feeds the soul.
When I go in for my regular acupuncture treatments, my whole spirit starts to open up. As I lay on the acupuncture table with those tiny needles in, my soul travels through all my recent stories, weaving in and out of dreams, reality and all the poetic metaphors that paint a picture that everything is alright, I am alright and I am home. I feel fully integrated and complete, grounded and at peace. Sometimes I literally feel as if I am floating, which is partly how I came up with the name, “Cloud 9 Acupuncture.”
Whatever your self-care is, I hope you find the proper dose . . . And then double it!