Not only do we live in a living universe, but the living universe lives within us.
— Duane Elgin
Appleblossom Orchid photo by Margit Bantowsky
For those of us oriented towards service and helping others, it can be a real challenge to take our own needs into consideration. When there's so much suffering in the world, so much at stake, and so much to do, it can seem selfish and indulgent to slow down, rest, cook a decent meal, take a bath, or take a walk outside.
Also, when our energy and attention is devoted to survival and just making it through each day, self-care can feel completely out of reach.
Radical self-care involves the capacity to fundamentally value ourselves, to sense deeply and know what our true needs are, and then to take steps and advocate for ourselves.
It also involves having radical trust that it's OK if we include ourselves in the bigger equation. Knowing that not only is our well-being OK, but that our well-being is necessary for the well-being of the whole.
What, then, gets in the way of doing radical self-care for ourselves?
That's the question I posed in my recent All Hearts on Deck sitting for Trillium Awakening practitioners, and which was the heart of the guided meditation "Radical Self-Care".
I say "radical" because the meditation goes deeper into what's really in the way of nourishing ourselves - usually unconscious fears and beliefs imprinted from our earliest years.
Some of the radical/ root blocks to self-care we discovered included:
You may relate to one or all of these undercurrents, I know I do!
Would like to experience a shift in one of your blocks to radical self-care?
If so, I invite you to listen to my 18-minute guided meditation.
Here's someone's recent experience of the meditation:
"This meditation helped me see that what was in the way of self-care was my anxiety about "the person in authority" not believing that my experiences are real. I also saw how I was worried that "I'm not the expert" and was doubting myself.
The meditation helped me realize that actually I do know - I'm more intimate with my body these days and I do know what's true for me. It became clear that I just need to speak my truth and go from there. I gained clarity around what I needed to do, instead of being stuck in worrying about others' responses."
~ K.L., Trillium Awakening practitioner, and recent "All Hearts on Deck" participant
I hope this meditation helps you unwind old, unconscious patterns so that you have a better sense of what you truly want and need, and more ability to take action accordingly.
Remember - growth and healing are like peeling layers of an onion, and many incremental steps eventually do add up to substantive changes in our lives... so feel free to do this meditation multiple times.
Whenever you notice that you're not taking good care of yourself, would be a great time to do this guided meditation!
I hope someday
Margit Bantowksy, MA, is an artist, coach, teacher and facilitator.