Last year when I was in San Diego for a workshop on postpartum healing I heard about the midwife Rachelle Garcia Seliga, she offers workshops on how to support women in the postpartum period and beyond, her tagline is "midwifing a cultural shift." Yes, please.
A couple weeks ago she shared the term "center your own care" which has stayed with me and become a helpful tool as I navigate this new territory of opening a business while wanting to maintain my sense of self.
"Center your own care, is the language I use for what is commonly called 'self care.' Our greatest act of resistance against an entire system that does not value life, is our ability to flourish. And we can flourish by centering our own care.
Resilience is being able to adapt and flourish while meeting reality as it is. Centering our own care is this adaptation: We remember that we are of value. Acts of loving care help our nervous systems to settle, which safeguards our short and long term health. We make ourselves a priority.
We don't need to wait for our communities, partners or families to 'get it'...we don't wait for more resources...we don't need to wait. We can centre our own care every damn day - through how we think, through the choices we make, through our actions.
Centering our own care is respecting ourselves: Going to the bathroom when we need to. Eating when we are hungry. Drinking when we are thirsty. Tracking ourselves in our habituations of enduring suffering and ignoring what brings us pleasure. A cup of warm tea. Sitting in the Sun. standing barefoot on the Earth. Being with people we feel good with. Not being with people we don't feel good with.
Small choices. Small gestures. Every day, all through the day.
Yes. A thousand times yes.
I have been experimenting with centering in my own care in the last few weeks (I've even taught a Qoya class about it!) and I have found it so helpful.
I imagine a target, with a couple rings around it. When I am centered in my own care I am in the bull's eye, and everything and everyone else in one of the following rings. But when I forget to be centered in my own care, then something or someone else is in the centre of the target - and I get to make a choice and if it's possible bring myself back into the centre. So far, on most every occasion, it is. Whether that's simply pausing work for a moment to take a couple breaths or get up and stretch. I am amazed at how simple it can sometimes be to centre myself in my own care.
There is a second part about this idea of centering in our own care, but I'm going to save it till next week's note!
If this idea or the image of the target resonates with you, play with it this week. Try asking yourself during different moments of the day, "Am I centered in my own care?" And if you aren't, asking what it would take to come back there.
I still forget to be centered in my own care (hello years of social and familial conditioning!), but I am noticing when I'm not more quickly, and that is enough evidence for me to know this is working.