These reflections are for my creatives: my "four-cups-of-coffee-a-day" hustlers; my "three-hours-of-rest-five-days-this-week" makers; my "was-working-on-Christmas" movers and shakers. We've been hustling away our energy, forsaking rest for the sake of the "project". Why do we leave ourselves on empty? Why do we forget to rest? Why do we break our breath trying to make space for the world to breathe?
Hey. we have permission to breathe, too.
Some of us are trying not to cringe at the new year as we think through the list(s) of projects we'd left unfinished from last year. Maybe some of us are feeling the opposite--inspired by all the failures and successes that will teach us how to have a better January. There is no right or wrong way to be. I say this as my heart tightens for the tenth time today at the appointments, invoices, and projects that lie in my list for the weekend. I say this as I chase away my winter chest cold with an umpteenth cup of lemon ginger tea.
Every day I think of my goals and my projects. I think of the places I want to take my creative work. There is so. much. beauty to release into this earth. There are so many people to meet and, thus, so much inextricable human connection to care for. Yet, if I do not care for myself, I won't be well enough to meet people with the carefulness they deserve. My creative identity is rooted in the desire to create spaces for people to find healing by connecting them to a deepened breath through my work. I want to expose beauty in all of it's messy and inarticulate forms. Yet, I can't expose the beauty of the world if I'm not willing to start with myself.
So, here is my affirmation:
And though I care for beauty,
I can receive when beauty cares for me.
This is self-care.
bedtime + lemon water.
My bedtime is a fantasy. Every night for the past month I've looked down at the alarm on my phone that says that I should sleep. A long time ago my therapist suggested a nightly routine to help me cradle my thoughts to rest. This nightly routine did not include a laptop in my bed, a high energy playlist, to-do lists, or calendars.
I'm about to start turning off my lights on a schedule. I'm tired of needing a nap or a coffee several times a day because I don't rest. I'm tired of feeling foggy in my problem solving. Creative work requires a sharpened, acute thought process. If all I need is to give my process the gift of rest, then so be it.
Alongside my bedside is often a glass of lemon water. A cleanse for my palate. Lemon water has become so meditative for me. I slice my lemon in the morning and drink it deep, glass after glass, until I'm done. Sometimes, I leave town and miss out on this routine. Still, self-care is important, even on the road.
playlists + coconut oil
Sometimes you have to the hit the Solange button. On repeat. Dim the lights. Light a candle. Break out the coconut oil, lavender, and tea tree. Give your arms and shoulders a deep rub. Lean back.
I understand the pressure of turning in projects, submitting invoices, and sending emails. Not everyone has the luxury to take a full day of rest. Sometimes, the creative work leaks into the weekends. Sometimes, your life can become a seven day revolver worth of grind, but you still have to rest and enjoy the breath you breathe. If you feel you can't then it's time to learn how to say no.
open the windows + pause
I've had to say "no" a few times this winter. I've had to cycle back and undo appointments just so that I could ride my bike to my favorite coffee shop and read. Sometimes we only have enough space in our spines for a simple stretch. Bending backwards does not always work for everyone. Be careful that your bones don't break trying to make too much space for people who aren't caring for your posture--how your lungs feel when you stand up straight in the morning, how your breath aches to go deeper.
I have made a practice of going to the window in the mornings. It's a return to how my little girl fingers would press up against the glass of my bedroom panes to find the temperature--to feel how crisp the fall and winter months would feel against my skin. The little girl in me knew how to pause in the mornings. I'm coming back to this source of beauty, too.