Words to the Wise: Sharing Life, Lessons, and Observations

Words to the Wise is a collection of stories, observations and insight drawn from my own experience both in the past and in the present, together with my perspective on what I may have learned in the process. Occasional poetry and astrological insights will be included when appropriate. I welcome comments, suggestions and thoughts of all kinds and am happy to respond.

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The importance of Self Care

As children we are often told to be kind, to be sharing and giving, and to show our love to others by how we treat them. We are seldom told to care for or to love ourselves. I remember as a child sending for a nurse kit from Quaker Oats. It was advertised on a radio program I listened to every weekday. I liked the idea of being a nurse. It was a way to care for others, as I was told to do.  After my little kit came I bandaged up my teddy bear and treated him to a hospital stay as I played nurse in my little white cap and apron.

As young people we feel invulnerable; we can go for a night without sleep and hardly notice. Unless we have allergies or some medical condition, eating whatever we like is the rule rather than the exception. We seldom need to sit and rest after exertion but can continue on as if we were made of steel. I was in my late forties when I began to realize I could no longer treat my body as if it were some kind of machine that could go on and on.

I began to notice that if I didn't pace myself I would need to slow down or even stop in the middle of my efforts to get everything done. This bothered, even annoyed me. I didn't like to stop. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Then I had a real wakeup call: I got an excruciating pain in my neck and shoulder that wouldn't go away. It took a number of chiropractic treatments and a lot of rest before I was able to move without hurting. The experience was extremely unpleasant. I finally got the message: I had been treating my body badly, and I needed to change my attitude.

First and foremost I realized I heeded to stop and rest between efforts. I also began to notice that when I ate certain foods I was uncomfortable; when I didn't get enough sleep I was dragging. While this annoyed me, I had to admit it was important information. I realized that while it was strong and able my body needed a different kind of attention. Rather than treat it offhandedly as a machine that just needed fuel and occasional maintenance, I needed to treat it kindly, as if it were a faithful animal that was carrying me where I needed to go. I also had to accept its messages as needs and wants rather as impediments to what I wished to do when I wished to do it.

 

The importance of my self care grows with each passing year. Movement I used to take for granted has become an effort. There are even things I can't easily do at all any more. But what is more important is that I remember to do what I need to do for my comfort as well as my health: Rest between efforts, meditate, take time to sit with my feet up, put in my eye drops, drink enough water, eat enough fiber, avoid what I can no longer comfortably digest. My list could go on and on, however I've made my point. Self care matters. More importantly, remembering to care for myself means I can continue to care for others, and that most of all is a good reason to do so. 

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Practical mystic and poet Tasha Halpert writes a column called Heartwings Love Notes for a Joyous Life, as well as a monthly astrology column for the internet. She writes a weekly perspective column for the Grafton News called Good Earthkeeping.  Her poems and essays have appeared in Quest Magazine, For the Love of Life, Heart and Wings, The Unicorn, and other publications. She is staff poet and storyteller for the Unicorn, and a regular part of Granny Moon’s Morning Feast. Her book Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life is available; She has another in preparation: Up to my Neck in Lemons, as well as a poetry chapbook: Poems and Prayers. With her writings she hopes to be of help and comfort and perhaps even entertaining.  With her husband Stephen she lives in Grafton and is the mother of 5, grandmother of 7, and great grandmother of 2.  

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