This last week we kept Audrey home from school because of the possibility that we had contracted COVID. On Tuesday we were with someone who was with someone on Monday, who on Wednesday received a positive test. If you followed all of that, you will understand that we did not come into direct contact with the positive tester. In accordance with all guidelines, we technically had no further action to take.
I found out this information on Thursday morning at 6am, one of the two in school mornings for Audrey. I relish these two days. Anyone who knows me knows I love my child deeply. Anyone who is a parent will also understand when I say that I also love being away from her and in fact, require it in order to be a better mom. I have zero shame in admitting this truth. I do have the slightest bit of shame in admitting to you that in the moments following receiving this information, I grappled with what to do. There was a real pull towards the direction of just continuing business as usual because honestly, it would have been the most convenient and self fulfilling choice. Audrey adores going to school so I would have avoided her disappointment and I had a ton to do that day, so I would be completely free to do it.
This thought process lasted the better part of 10 minutes and all the while, I could not ignore this little nagging voice, I would say in the back of my mind, but really it was coming through in the sensations in my body, particularly my gut. It kept asking the question “How will you feel if you are, in fact, carrying the virus and she walks into that school filled with an entire community of people?”. I knew that I wouldn’t have wrongly followed a protocol by doing so, but I also knew that I would not be right.
I must implore each of you to do something. If you are a podcast listener, next on your list MUST be Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us Episode with Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Everything that they talk about in this episode (and their book) is EXACTLY why I created eMOTION, teach the way I do and so strongly advocate for Emotional Well-Being and Self Care. At one point in the episode, they say the following: “Self care requires a bubble of protection of other people who value your well being at least as highly as you do”. Wait, WHAT?! In order for me to get real self care, there must be a circle of people around me who care enough about my well being to understand why it matters!? Which means...that I too must be one of those people who creates a bubble for others and cares about their well-being as much as my own. This is where I would put a mind blown emoji if I could. It’s not that I haven’t always believed or even felt this. It’s that hearing these two women so perfectly say it out loud helped me to understand what the process was that I went through the other day in making the decision to keep Audrey home. It has nailed home even more clearly why it matters that I understand this process.
Self care has become a hot phrase. In truth, I almost hate using it these days because it has been so co-opted and commercialized. The reality is that we live in a country and culture that very much has valued individualism over collectivism. Because of this, the phrase self care has for all intents and purposes really come to mean and look like something that I would describe more as self-ish care. Self-ish care is where we either do something out of the desperation of our own exhaustion. We allow ourselves to get just close enough to the breaking point that we finally take an action to temporarily lift the fatigue. Or we indulge in something for simply the sake of our own indulgence. There is nothing wrong with that by the way, in small doses of course. But often what both of these scenarios lack is the understanding of what real self care is: which is the understanding that my energetic capacities and how I tend to them each day, will have a direct impact on yours should you and I come into contact with one another. In other words, how I care for me IS how I care for you. What I do for me IS what I will do for you AND exactly and only what I can expect and ask to be done for me. For example, should we have sent Audrey to school that day, even if everything turned out fine, and some other day down the line another parent sent their child to school in the exact same scenario but didn’t turn out as fine, I would still completely forfeit my right to be upset because I did not take on real self-care in my sphere of responsibility. Sending her to school would be the self-ish care version. Yes, I would have gotten a lot done that day. I would have had time for my own movement practice, to work, to take a shower and to be alone and quiet. But I would have completely popped any bubble that surrounded me and would surround me in the future. Because the thing about real Self Care is that we often have to practice it in moments when we least want to do it.
I share most of this with you because I want you to first know how deeply ingrained it is to think of ourselves first. I know there are much more altruistic humans out there than myself, perhaps you are one of them and for that I am grateful. But even as someone who wholeheartedly believes in the power of self care, I too can get caught up in my own self-ish desires. If you grew up in America, this was ingrained in us all, after all. The second reason I share this is so that you may really come to see and understand how much we all matter. I believe this is one of the biggest lessons that 2020 is trying to teach us. Entire nations have been taken down for months and months because a single virus that spreads from one human being too another human being, without even having to touch one another, is running rampant. To even consider for a second that the choices we make as individuals doesn’t have a profound and lasting impact on the entirety of human kind is quite frankly, absurd. It’s what will eventually be our downfall should we continue to believe this is so. Believing that you matter, your choices matter and in your impact will not only change the world, but could save the world. Even if that world is a personal bubble of people who care about your well being as much as your own and vice versa, that bubble will most assuredly connect to another and another.
Friends, none of us are immune to only thinking about what’s best for us. None of us are immune to the belief systems that would have us doubting our impact. But we are all capable of reckoning with these beliefs and taking on the action of valuing our self care as not something that only stays within the walls of ourselves, but radiates outward beyond where we can even see. We must start to believe that each one of us matters, not as some flowery idea that looks good on a wall hanging or pillow, but because the collective health of one another, physical and emotional depends on it. Self care is not selfish, self-ish care is.
So here is your Sunday Self-Love Letter today:
Please believe in your own power and presence on this earth. Please value it so highly so that I may value it that highly as well. So that I may see myself in you and you in me. Please see how interconnected you and I are so when the doubt comes in around whether or not you deserve to be taken care of, you see that there is more than just this singular moment in time at stake. You are worthy of deep and immense self love because I am worthy of it too and when we both hold that understanding, we both reap the rewards. You matter because I matter. I matter because you matter. Because our children matter. And each choice that we choose today will last long into the coming tomorrows, even those we cannot yet see. Even those we may never see. May this not come to you in the form of pressure or weight, but may you see this power for exactly what it is: Love - strong, real and impactful, just like you.
With all of that my friends, I want to announce a way to further this work within ourselves, with each other. Gather, A Workshop and Collaboration with my dear friend and sister Audra Malerba where we will lead a discussion on the potency of togetherness within the way we relate to ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbors. We will discuss how the present moment of our lives is offering us the opportunity to redefine the way we connect to all things around us and to ourselves.
Join us on November 14th for this incredible and much needed discussion.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.