Go ahead! Pamper yourself. Get yourself flowers. Buy that cute dress or those funky socks. Get a car wash, if that’s your thing. But let’s be honest about the reality of your emotions. Unless your biggest problem is needing a deep breath—taking a bubble bath with a glass of wine won’t take your problems down the drain with the bath water. Calgon might take you away for a moment, but once that moment ends, your un-loved emotions will land like a boulder you threw up in the air and caught with your shoulders. Or gut. Or chest. Weighing you back down again.
Let your bubble bath be a place to take a break—but don’t expect it to be the solution to your problems. Wine and chocolates are brief moments of escape, but they don’t address what you are trying to escape *from*.
Let’s go deeper. Because the ultimate self-care is addressing your wounds with the grace your self-care practices have taught you. Take care of yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be content with covering each new pain with bandaids, when instead you could address pain at its source.
The ultimate form of self-care is compassionately showing up for yourself. What does this mean? It means prioritizing your needs. (And dare I say it, it can even mean prioritizing your desires.) This sometimes means you need to do something “scary”. Like quit a job that is killing you, enforce boundaries with an elder, or finally honoring that NO you have been squashing down.
By wanting better for yourself, you are taking a step in the right direction. Keep walking that path, safe in the knowledge that every time you show up for yourself and insist on something kinder, you are on the path of expansion. This is really an internal path, but for every step you take inward, the Universe creates place to step outwardly.
So what do I recommend for some actual—transformational—self-care? I don’t recommend short-cuts. I’m sorry, but they are rickety rope bridges, and YOU are trying to cross your Grand Canyon. They might get you so far, but they’re not balanced or sturdy enough to get you across the whole divide. And besides, we don’t want to re-traumatize ourselves in our attempts to get to the other side of trauma. We might just stop half way, and huddle down where we are at, feeling even more unsafe than when we started. Not helpful or compassionate.
So, no rope bridges. I’m a Capricorn and I like my foundations to be sturdy. I like yours to be sturdy as well. We are going to be doing a lot of work on this bridge. We want to make sure it can support us. And frankly, we deserve a solid foundation, damnit. So let’s build one.
First, we want to un-identify with the things that are weighing us down. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety—realize that you are not these experiences, but they are things you are feeling. You are far more than them. If you are feeling unheard and your boundaries aren’t being respected, realize that you are far more than just a victim. This is an experience you are having, but it isn’t who you are. I am not saying this is going to be easy. But realizing that you are a fractal of God-consciousness allows you to realize that you cannot be contented or contained with just one expression of self. You are not always depressed. You are not always anxious. You are not always unheard. You are not always boundary-less. Even if you are these things 99.9% of the time, the .01% of the time you aren’t proves there is more possibility to you. You are not a one note song.
Get yourself into the observer position. Meditation is fantastic for this. Getting yourself in the observer position doesn’t mean disassociating from your body or reality. The observer position is a neutral, curious state of mind where you observe what it is you are feeling and thinking. It is the position that allows you to realize you are just one of the many eyes of God, peeking out through the lens of your own experiences. You are this God-consciousness. And you are a bit of God who has forgotten themselves, and identified with their experiences instead of someone who observes.
This means that in the choose your own reality experience you are having, you are the choose-er.
I realize that many lived experiences like racism, transphobia, misogyny, islamaphobia, or ableism, are systemic tools of oppression. You may not be able to choose individually what happens systemically or on a global scale, as these are experiences that require the agreement of many choose-ers. I don’t mean to trivialize these experiences. But the first battleground we have to fight on in a war, is within ourselves. We have to liberate and care for ourselves first before we can do the same for anyone else.
With that in mind, you can identify as someone who tells someone no. You can identify as someone who gets the help they need to leave their anxious or depressed experience. You identify as someone who quits their dead-end job and volunteers in the Peace Corps. But first, you have to stop identifying as someone who can’t do any of these things.
So the observer position is the position of the liberator. It is what allows us to see we are not just what weighs us down. It’s the perspective that gives us the opportunity to experience something different, and more compassionate. It is in this position of the liberated, compassionate observer that we will build our wide, sturdy bridge. And consciousness is the material we will use to create it. This is perfect, because consciousness is the one of the true inexhaustible resources in this universe. You can stop using it, but you can’t run out of it. This is good, because we will be using a lot of it!
So by now you are probably thinking, that’s great—but where can I get some of these materials I don’t know I have? Glad you asked! My number one recommendation I give to new students of meditation and consciousness is the meditation, Nothing Here But You by Mooji. This is the meditation that blew my mind open. Don’t do it just once! It takes repetition for the magic to sink in and do its work. You can find this meditation on YouTube or on the app, Insight Timer.
Personally, I recommend getting the app. Meditation, to get the full benefits, isn’t something you can pick up and put down at random. Even if you can only do a minute a day, make sure you are doing it *every* day. The app will allow you to track your progress and if you are a Type A (like me!), you will like the accountability and reward system it offers.
I hope this helps! I plan on writing at least one more part to this series on what it really means to take care of yourself and to pamper yourself. Keep an eye out!