Rooted in Self Care

Lately I’ve been thinking about the connection between self care and nature.

Now that it’s spring and I watch the tree outside my kitchen window bloom a little bit more each day and my favorite flowers, daffodils, rise exuberantly from the earth, greeting everyone with indiscriminate joy, I wonder what is it that allows this blooming and blossoming to happen?

Is it perhaps the roots reaching deep into the ground? Holding the tree and the flowers to the earth so that they can rise into the sky and the sun, bloom and blossom and share their radiance, fruit and pollen with the world?

Without those roots connecting them to a large part of what sustains them they’d fall over, be swept away in the first storm, struggle to manifest their petals and seeds and leaves.

Isn’t it the same with us?

Don’t we need to be rooted in our self care in order to blossom and bloom?

And without it how easily we’re tossed this way and that, deprived of one of the most essential foundations for growth, health and happiness.

Without self care we don’t get the sleep we need, the rest we need, the reflection and solitude and space we need, the energy we need, the exercise and food we need, the compassion we need, the letting go of stress and anxiety and negative self talk we need, the focus and presence and connection to our body and our breath, our heart and our spirit, we need.

Self care starts with you. And ends with you too.

I can’t give it to you. Your best friend can’t give it to you. Your therapist can’t give it to you. Your partner can’t give it to you.

We can all support you in your self care, but we can’t take care of you for you.

This is your job. Your work. Your responsibility.

And it’s the most important work you’ll ever do.

Because without those roots of self care keeping you grounded, holding and nurturing and supporting you, providing you with the sustenance and the nourishment you need not only during inclement weather but also on a daily basis, you cannot bloom or blossom the way you were meant to.

If the tree outside my window and the daffodils are gifts, why aren’t you? If they are precious and sacred, and watching them thrive is sacred, why isn’t that true for you?

How would you feel if someone pulled up the daffodils roughly by their roots and tossed them aside? If someone took an axe to the the six story high tree outside my window?

When you run away from yourself, when you deny yourself sleep and rest, energy, focus, food, and self compassion you are in effect pulling yourself up from your roots and tossing yourself aside, taking an axe to your beautiful body and soul. Cutting yourself down, throwing yourself away, then beating yourself up for not having the energy or the focus you want to have, or getting done what needs to get done. 

Yet how can you expect yourself to bloom or have focus or get things done, when you spend your energy hurting rather than supporting yourself?

It’s the same amount of energy, it’s just that self care allows you to grow, and self sabotage hurts you and deeply limits your capacity for growth.

If, however, you are committed to your self care and practice self care regularly, and have done so for the past so many months, then you understand viscerally and daily the difference it makes. You can feel it in the energy and the joy you have, in your focus and equanimity, in the way you live your life and pursue your passions, in your self compassion when you make mistakes rather than self criticism.

And you know that to do anything less than commit to your self care daily is to do yourself (and the world), a disservice. 

You know that this is the only life you have and that every day is a gift and you unwrap that gift with tenderness and gratitude. You do that in the way you live your life. You do that every time you take care of yourself.

It starts with self care. It always starts with self care.

Dear one, each time you sabotage rather than care for yourself you break your own heart.

You’re a part of nature as much as the trees and the daffodils.

And you need to be rooted in order to grow as much as they do. Except that your roots are made up of self compassion and self care. 

You cannot be rooted or live a sustainable life, a rich life with blooms and blossoms and fruit, without self compassion and self care.

Just as the trees and flowers cannot blossom without the support of the earth, without the rich network of their roots.

Nature can teach us a lot about self care if we take a moment to look and listen, to breathe in the offerings of the spring, the tree just outside my window, the daffodils on my path to and from home.

She reminds us that we are sacred too. That we were meant to blossom and bloom.

And that every day we have the opportunity to do so.

It comes down to how (or if) we care for ourselves.

Can you see yourself as a tree or your favorite flower?

Can you recognize that just as they need roots and rain and sunshine to thrive, you need self care?

Your morning rituals, taking breaks throughout the day so you don’t burn out, exercise, sleep, and your sweet spot, what uniquely supports and honors you? These are not luxuries (just as the sun and the rain and the earth are not luxuries to the trees and flowers), but necessities. 

Every day you make the choice to root yourself in self care or uproot yourself with habitual patterns that hurt you.

What would you choose for the tree or the flower? The axe or the sunshine? Being pulled up and tossed aside, or watered and tended to with love?

Can you make the same choice for yourself?

Can you love yourself the way you love a tree and a flower?

Can you learn from the wisdom of nature and commit to your self care the way she does?

Can you feel that you are as sacred as the trees and the flowers? 

And as worthy of your love.

If you can’t feel yourself as sacred then place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly and breathe.

Be intimate with yourself. Don’t push yourself away. Self care starts with you. In this moment. Right here.

Be here. Let everything else go. Close your eyes. Feel. Connect. Touch. Hold. Breathe.

In this moment, no matter what is going on in your life, you are sacred just as you are.

You are always sacred, just as you are.

So instead of pushing yourself away invite yourself closer.  

Self care starts with you. And it starts right now. 

Root yourself in self care.

Root yourself in self compassion.

From these roots innumerable blossoms can bloom.