I woke up this morning to the sound of the wind moaning as it bent around the exterior of our house. Each drafty space between poorly set door-frames and missing doorknobs stuffed with socks howled woefully like a ghost announcing the cold front blowing in from the north. I rolled over and had the moment of ultimate relief that we feel upon waking up after a night of being ill. For those first few seconds we feel completely well – normal, and slowly the “ick” sinks back in, as if the body has to take moment to remember that it actually isn’t well quite yet after all.
I stared at the ceiling, turning the phone over in my hand trying to decide if I should reschedule the routine OBGYN appointment that I’d planned for that morning. THIS proved to be an easy enough decision, so I canceled and went back to bed. Maybe I’d feel better in time for my limpia and flamenco classes by this afternoon. I wasn’t feeling that horrible after all, just – you know – sour.
Why, you ask, am I even bringing up this bleak morning scenario? Well, because ultimately I canceled all of my appointments for later on in the day in order to honor a resolution that I made for myself this year; a resolution of self care. Certainly, I might have been able to coerce myself out into the blustery evening to halfheartedly stomp around the flamenco studio – exerting myself to a moderate degree and hoping that it wouldn’t make matters worse.
If anything, I would think that I should keep my engagement to visit my spiritual mentor and bring her the blue corn bread I had baked in exchange for a limpia and warm pláctica (heart to heart talk) about my reasons for requesting a spirit cleansing. Few things can make me feel more refreshed and revived than having the herbs and the egg swept over my body while she rattles and sings and burns copal. Wasn’t that part of my self care after all? But my body appealed and, as I had promised her I would, rather than push this time - I listened.
This business of self care, can be tricky. We have appointments to be kept and deadlines to be met and projects to be completed. As professionals in a healing tradition ourselves, sometimes our passionate AND compassionate nature gets the best of us as we try to have the biggest impact on our students, clients, and community. We offer them advice to allow their bodies to heal but we often do not take our own advice. We tell them that the state of their mind, of their spirit translates into the medicines that they make, but are we always heeding our own? We cannot make effective medicine when we ourselves are sick and we cannot hope to offer a truly effective ritual for others when we ourselves are in need of a soul retrieval.
While I am not encouraging opting out of our commitments every time the going gets tough, I do encourage giving ourselves the permission to take the advice that we would give to somebody seeking our own healing council. “Listen to your body,” it will tell you if it is merely tired from working long hours this week or if it truly is not up for the task and needs you to show IT some compassion. Long periods of ignoring these messages can build up into deficiencies of the body and spirit over time.
Today, while sprawled in a robe on my couch, feeling sensitive and a little week – my body is saying “thank you,” even as it continues to cause me some discomfort. But my spirit is nourished for having shown confidence in my own intuition, and the more I show her that I trust her guidance, the louder and more clearly she will begin to speak.