Self-Care

Self-care is really, really hard for me.  I love how everybody is talking about it these days and advocating for it and showing us so many ways to practice it, it’s awesome. I wish I was a more active participant in the Self-Care movement, and I’m setting an intention here on this blog post that I am going to make it a priority.

About 22 years ago, when I first got sober through a 12-step group, one of my sponsors suggested I read a book called The Woman’s Book of Comfort  after she suggested that I “take good care” of myself and I admitted I had no idea how to do that.

It’s a great  book, and it has great suggestions, but since I read the book and didn’t actually practice any of its great suggestions, I still don’t really know how to take good care of myself. (I think I still have this book somewhere, I’m going home tonight and digging it up.)

It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I’ve spent so much of my life punishing and berating myself that it feels *wrong* to do nice things for myself. Any time I do anything like get a pedicure or massage, I feel DEFIANT, but I’m not sure who exactly I’m rebelling against by giving myself some TLC.  I think it’s against some ancient Protestant programming against the actual physical body (since we’re supposed to be “on the Earth, not OF the Earth” and to keep our treasure in Heaven) and against “self-indulgence” (since we’re supposed to be humble and self-sacrificing, like Jesus). I seemed to be okay with totally defiling myself with drugs and alcohol, but I feel weird if I ply myself with herbal tea and foot rubs?? If I examine myself in a fearless and searching way, I also think it has to do with self-esteem issues.  I’ve come a long way in the self-esteem department, I’ve had a lot of recovery and growth, but now I’m bumping up against a wall.  I want the idea of Self-Care to feel like a habit like breathing.

There’s been some half-assing on my part. I buy beautifully scented body oils and lotions, and don’t use them.  I sign up for a gym membership, but don’t go, and when I do go, I just do the utilitarian stuff and don’t sit in the hot tub or sauna or steam room even though I eye them with longing.  This extends beyond luxurious spa treatments or other physical indulgences.  I don’t eat enough dark green leafy things. I don’t drink enough water.  My poor body doesn’t get to move enough and rewards me with aches and pains that I know would go away if I had a regular exercise habit.  I’m inconsistent with medications and vitamins.  I’m inconsistent with everything.  I used to think I was lacking self-discipline, but I think it’s deeper than that. I think there’s a serious resistance to giving myself all the things that would help me to be healthy and happy.  My death-wish is less intense than it used to be, but it’s low-grade ruining things 😀

What’s a cranky chubby astrologer to do?  Well, first thing is I understand that with all this Pisces energy flowing around me squaring and opposing my Sun, Venus, Mars, ASC, Uranus, and Pluto, I’m feeling a lot of feelings and instead of wallowing in sorrow and shame about how badly I treat myself, I’m going to let myself cry (another indulgence, but necessary!) and then I’m going to tap into this amazing Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn to get to the bottom of this self-sabotage and work on setting up new habits for myself and claiming my right for good physical and mental health.

The FitBit needs to be recharged, MyFitnessPal needs to be fired up, and I have a big bottle of water on my desk at work.  I’ve added some flower essences to my water to help with this energy:  Self-Heal, Crab Apple, Mimulus, and Holly. I want to be flooded with the energy of loving my body, taking an active interest in my good health, courage to push past my comfort zone, and universal love to push out all the rage and hate I have for the gym.  I am also taking some 12-step advice with this undertaking: Easy Does It (but do it).  I can’t change a lifetime of bad programming and habits overnight, but I can make micro-movements in a positive direction.  I can be spiraling UP instead of down.

The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Neptune and Chiron are all in my 6th house of Health right now. Even though it’s in dreamy-squishy-indecisive Pisces, it’s also in creative, intuitive, and deeply spiritual Pisces.  Chiron – the Wounded Healer – tells us we don’t have to be healed ourselves in order to help others.  Yes, I’m a medicine woman/energy healer, but I’m also still healing.

Last week in my Shamanic Practitioner Training program, we practiced Power Animal retrievals for each other.  My classmate asked my what my intention was and I said commitment to a exercise program, and she said that what she was led to were Goat and Rabbit.  I shrugged when she told me, but when I looked them up, I was moved to tears.  Goat is all about sure-footedness when climbing up towards a goal, when moving outside of a comfort zone, when stretching one’s boundaries.  Rabbit was all about using one’s gut to know when it is the right time to face one’s fear and take a leap in addition to listening to and trusting one’s inner voice.

Of course I’m afraid. I’m afraid of failing and I’m afraid of succeeding.  I’m afraid of crushing my own hopes. I’m afraid of being “stuck” and never changing at all. I’m afraid of being judged at the gym even though considering that I have Type II Diabetes, I am probably the one that needs to be there most of all.  I’m afraid that I spend all this time working out and practicing other forms of self-care I won’t have time to lay around doing nothing and going to hell with myself…oh wait. I mean, I won’t have time for my creative pursuits!

However, what I know for sure is that when I do move my body, I’m always in a better mood, especially if I exercise first thing in the morning.  Plus if I do it in the morning, then I’m done for the day and can focus on other things without feeling like a huge slacker loser for blowing off the gym again.  I also know that I want some Michelle Obama arms and I won’t get them hitting “NEXT” on the remote.

I also know that this – along with any other changes I’ve made in my life – is really only happening one day at a time. I only have to worry about what I’m doing TODAY. The only power I really have is in THE NOW, so for TODAY I’m already a raging success because I hit the gym this morning.  AND I used a fancy organic sugar scrub in the shower.

What is your favorite form of self-care? Is it hard for you or are you ALL ABOUT that self-care life?  How are you feeling right now in general (asking because of all that Pisces surrounding us)??

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