How do you dial yourself squarely into the center of a bigger and better life? How do you access greater quality of life? How do you go about living your life more fully? How do you become the captain of your own life’s unfolding, the master of your destiny? How do you go about BEING THE CHANGE you wish to see in your life?
Self-care is the not-so-secret passcode for having access to everything you wish to do, be, or have. Self-care is the preparation for living fully. And self-care is the path to living fully and achieving true quality of life. Yes, the path to freedom, well-being, and quality of life is paved with caring for ourselves.
Self-care is self-love in action. It’s the practice of love of self. It’s the “doing” component of self-love. It’s the proactive nurturance and nourishment of the self. It’s the intentional filling up of our fuel tanks. It’s the maintenance needed to ensure that the engine propelling our life forward and upward is running as smoothly as possible.
You are comprised of a set of layers that include the mind, the body, the heart, and the soul. Each one of these layers interconnects at the most foundational level. And each one of these layers must be proactively cared for. Each layer is whispering to you audibly, telling you what it needs. It’s your job to listen and heed those powerful inner whispers. Your job is to supply yourself with whatever it is that more nuanced, subtle, deeper, inner part of you is needing.
We all have a different prescription. Our inner whispers will guide us toward our own unique set of requirements. Our own mind-body-heart-soul unit is a more trusted source of wisdom and directives than any outside source. More than any wellness expert, more than any doctor, more than any homeopath, more than any shaman or reiki master or energy healer. We must learn to truly connect with the higher self within us, the part of us that knows more and better than we think we do.
So I humbly submit to you that your self-care ought to become a non-negotiable. It’s not a luxury. It’s not frivolous. It’s sure as hell not “selfish.” It’s required. You have been given the greatest gift one can ever receive, the gift of this miraculous, one-of-a-kind incarnation of yours. There is only one form of “payment” required—caring for the gift of life. Self-care itself. Consider it “the price of the prize.”
You pay life back for its generous gift of you getting to be you. You pay simply by nurturing, tending to, and proactively caring for the gift of life. In other words, your task is to blossom as resplendently as humanly possible AND also to “garden yourself” in order to optimize that very blossoming process. You must not only bloom, but you must purposefully water yourself, weed yourself, fertilize yourself, sun yourself, till your soil… You must commit to offering to yourself whatever the YOU within you is asking for, whatever your whispers are insisting upon.
So how are you wishing to blossom—in what way, shape, or fashion? We all have an ideal vision for our lives—what is yours? And how must you garden yourself and till yourself and tend to yourself in order that your full blossoming can become your present-day reality rather than a future aspiration?
List your top FIVE self-care related needs and then honor them. Give yourself the gift of proactively fulfilling these needs. Know that you are worthy of having these needs met. And know that there is no one more perfectly suited to hand-deliver these things to you, than you yourself.
Know also that only when YOU know you are truly worthy of being cared for in this way, miracles will begin to happen. Because life will slowly begin to mirror your own efforts on your behalf. Life will slowly reorient itself to you, becoming more generous with you, answering more of your prayers, delivering to your doorstep more of your deepest desires.
That is why the journey into true quality of life begins with you doing for yourself. And then it expands organically—and yet somehow also miraculously—into being cared for by others. Being cared for more abundantly by life, being cared for more attentively and more generously by “all that is.”
You know full well what your mind, body, heart, and soul are asking of you. Write them down. Give them some serious thought and consideration. Why aren’t you already doing what you know full well you need to be doing for yourself? Promise yourself you will listen to and heed your inner whispers, and do the things you are frankly NEEDING to do in order to live a better life and to be a better self. Start “doing for yourself” right now.
What is the #1 thing your body is wanting from you?
Examples might include:
Fitness? Dance? Yoga? Meditation? Walking? Time in nature? A beach vacation? Sun? More relaxation? More sleep? More hydration? A weekly hot bath loaded with salts and saturated with your favorite essential oils? A more mindful relationship to food? Less coffee? Less alcohol? Weight loss? Adornment? Glamor? Personal style and self-expression? Less focus on appearance? More acceptance of every inch of your body? More self-love?
What is the #1 thing your mind is wanting from you?
Examples might include:
More reading for pleasure? More reading of great literature or truly historic spiritual texts? Less time on your smartphone, computer, and other devices? Meditation? More oxygenation via fitness, movement, and activity? Less social media? Less consumption of news? More paying attention to the news? More quality conversation with people in your life? More sleep? More time for deep contemplation and self-reflection? More creativity, imagining, and envisioning? More curiosity? More learning? Less reactivity and having all the answers?
What is the #1 thing your heart is wanting from you?
Examples might include:
More honoring of your emotions? More of allowing yourself to feel? More emotional self-expression? More listening to your heart? More compassion and empathy for yourself and others? More healing? More forgiving? More relaxation? More sleep? More emotional mastery? More emotional literacy and equanimity? Meditation? More flow? More surrender? More allowing? More wisdom and less “knowledge”? More honoring of the understandings generated by experience itself, not just those generated by pre-given “knowledge” and outside expertise and so-called facts? More bandwidth for life’s good and bad, life’s beautiful and ugly? More honoring of the gamut and the range of life experience? More open-heartedness? More “trusting in the wisdom of your heart”?
What is the #1 thing your soul is wanting from you?
Examples might include:
More time and energy spent on your spiritual journey? The commitment to some spiritual practices? More utilizing of your intuition? More honing of your intuition? More listening to and heeding your intuition? A meditation practice? The honoring of your status as a Spirit having a human experience? Less “we and they” thinking? More harmonizing with your fellow human beings, loved ones and strangers alike? More time in nature? More honoring of the whispers of your higher purpose—your more sacred calls to action—revealing themselves to you. More questioning the assumptions of our culture and more answers being sought and discovered right within yourself. More of authentic living, and more of accessing and living as your higher self? More self-reflection? More time alone? More generosity of spirit and more of being of service to others in some way?
There is probably more than one thing in each category trying to get your attention, but choose just one for now and then get serious about delivering that thing to yourself! It will make a world of difference in your life.
Watch my 12-minute talk from MindBodyGreen’s Revitalize Conference: