Welcome to 2014! A new year and a time to start fresh. I am not one for making new year’s resolutions. Gave that up a long time ago. I prefer to set intentions for the year. Intentions are not measurable goals, but more of a mind-set. Intentions set the atmosphere in which I live and breathe each day.
For 2014 I set several intentions. Self-care is the one I am focusing on today. When I think of self-care, I think of slowing down from the whirl-wind of modern life to take care of my needs. It is taking the time to nurture myself and making sure that I am replenishing the vital energy I need to make it through each day. Many times, that basically comes down to loving myself enough to do things that feed my soul. Loving ourselves is not always easy. Each of us is the only person who sees ALL of our personal demons and weaknesses and hears the running voice that beats us down for mistakes we make. What if, instead of listening to that voice, we shower ourselves in unconditional love each day? What if we each plant a seed of unconditional self-love in our heart and let it blossom? What if we planted many seeds?
The mandala I have chosen for this self-care topic is called Lotus Love. It was painted for a friend who asked for a mandala representing unconditional love that she could give to her husband for their 10th wedding anniversary. Lotus flowers are sacred and often represent enlightenment and beauty. They symbolize the timeless and continual process of birth and rebirth. At night, the lotus flower sleeps. At sunrise, with the waking of the sun, the lotus flower emerges to life. Little heart seeds grow in the center of the lotus of my mandala. The lotus flower’s opening petals symbolize the potential for the soul to expand and blossom. In this mandala, a love that continually grows deeper is blossoming. Imagine applying this deepening love to ourselves each day. We can renew that love and self-care for ourselves each morning as we awake.
For me, self-care takes many forms. It is taking time to get quiet and still to meditate. It is making time to paint and create art. It is reading that book I have been dying to read. It is taking naps in the middle of the day. It is not booking up my schedule every moment of every day. It is leaving free time to sit in nature and day-dream. It is propping up my feet and enjoying a good movie at home. It is treating myself to time with friends and family. It is learning to say ‘No’ when asked to do something I do not have the time/energy for nor the desire to spend my energy that way. It is saying ‘Yes’ to myself for those whims of sleeping in really late or going to explore someplace new. These are just a few of the key ways I take care of myself. I’m sure that as I apply the self-care intention throughout the year, I will discover all sorts of new ways to promote self-care in my life.
What does self-care mean for you? What does it look like in your day? Do you feel selfish or guilty when you take time to care for your personal needs? My wish is that you take time each day to do something that nourishes your soul and replenishes your energy.