“The Path is the Practice” – These are the words spoken by writer and performance artist Stic from his thoughtful song called “Yoga Mat.” He speaks about this ongoing effort to apply mindfulness to his lifestyle and consciously improve his well being through the act of reflection which Yoga so effortlessly provides. He goes on to describe the plan of the yogi is to not only master him/herself, but also maintain the practice despite judgement that we often cast upon ourselves for inconsistency or lack of motivation.
Even more so, the act of the mindfulness student should not be up for judgement. This practice “of maintenance” is not a race. It is not about who has the best highlights on social media. It is not about who can prove how balanced they are through pictures of them at the retreat they had in Bali last Fall. Self-care as maintenance is all about the simplicity of the intention: to simply practice it. I am learning that we don’t need to report on our progress with this practice. It is not a board exam or a final paper that needs to be turned in for a grade/promotion. The practice of self-care is not meant to be judged.
Today I finished 90 days of the practice inspired by a book I read called Self-Care for the Real World (linked thru the photo below). What I learned from this journey revealed to me that I can’t sit here worried about whether or not someone else knows what I was doing for the past 3 months. As each day passed, I got excited about checking my progress of course, but my intention was all about paying attention. I started to witness certain activities being repeated that offered me peace instantly – like loose leaf tea and using coconut oil to moisturize my face after wash. And other habits started to develop that I didn’t necessarily have in the beginning which aided in my ability to stay productive, even thru the impatience of winter.
I am so surprised at my diligence and newfound appreciation for waking up early to see the first sun rays of the day. I feel rewarded too for learning more deeply what I need in order to slow down. I need me time in the morning in order to be a happy woman when I go to sleep at night. I have learned intensely, what the difference is between accepting the process and being okay with a steady pace. I found out that I truly do love to eat my meals without having to rush into the next thing after my last bite.
Committing to something for 90 days can reveal so many things about yourself, and inspire you too, if you’re willing. But you don’t have to dive into self-care with the intensity that I have if you’re not ready. You can start with once a week. Or you can start with 21 days too. If you want to challenge yourself to dig deeper with this, you can join me on the next 21-day Self-Care challenge. I have a workbook to help you through it.
As we move into a new season, I hope you feel encouraged to start back up again where you left off the last time you committed to your self-care journey. Begin with a single breath of gratitude. Begin without judgement. Begin knowing that you will enjoy the process no matter how slow or fast. Allow your practice to be about the maintenance and learn how to be intentional about your individual mindfulness journey.