I usually think I’m very good at taking care of myself. I take breaks. I treat myself. But lately my regular metrics are completely out of whack. What I’ve done in the past simply does not measure up now. I need to keep trying different approaches, recalibrating, asking myself what I need, trying something else.
To state what may already be completely obvious: This year has not been like any other year.
And. Also. It’s been filled with situations that happen in every other year. Births, deaths, sicknesses, celebrations. Some of us have had additional unexpected events, traumas, rewards. In addition to everything else.
It’s a natural human tendency to focus on our collective experiences. That’s undeniably important, because we are collectively _human_. And it can also feel natural to assume we are all experiencing in the same ways. That might even feel comforting: We are all in this together.
Each one of us is a unique human being. Unlike any other. And also with much in common. So on the one hand, you could say “everyone is experiencing this” and be absolutely right. And on the other, you could say “I experience it _this_ way and also have these other things in my life” and be absolutely right.
To say that I have experienced a few challenges and setbacks this year is an understatement. And I have experienced the collective situations along with everyone else. We have so much in common. And we are unique human beings with our own circumstances and perspectives and responses. And experiences.
I am enormously thankful for everything that’s happened this year. Really. Truly. Not in a spiritual bypassing “everything happens for a reason” way. There are moments I have gone to the depths to get to that gratitude. And there are days that I haven’t been able to see it at all. And days it shines brilliantly and loudly and clearly.
In my life, and especially this year, I have seen over and over and over how moments of suffering can - and do - lead to beautiful openings. Sure, I would rather not have experienced the suffering, but I am so grateful for the openings. Pain and joy are both part of life. Closures and openings.
Sometimes we feel Irreversibly imbalanced. We don't know how to shift from one place. Or maybe we don't want to. We recognize a state of imbalance because we are human. And because we are human we are capable of finding and achieving balance.
Balance. Not one the other. Balance is the condition of both together. Of multiple components together. In art, balance is achieved through an integration of elements. Remove something completely, and what is left is unbalanced. Off-kilter. Unsteady.
Taking care of myself means I try to figure out what I can do to bring things into balance. For me. At that moment. And I try to figure out how to honor and accept imbalance. At the same time.
There are many, many moments someone has helped me. Sometimes “taking care of ourselves” happens when someone else takes care of us.
We need each other. We are unique and individual. And we are a collective. We need to take care of each other. And we need to take care of ourselves.