There can be little argument that the autumn of 2016 has been marked by instability and rancor, both in our own country and around the world. And here we are, almost to 2017, with things continuing to feel chaotic and uncertain… potentially with no end in sight.
I see the stress and the exhaustion of this new reality showing up in my family, friends and clients. I’ve been talking about it with them, and I’m going to talk about it some more here, because it’s vitally important to have these conversations; because what’s happening frames the context of the work I do; and because championing self-care in challenging times is part of that work.
To be honest, it feels as if everything we had always thought of as a given is now up for grabs. It’s an interesting sensation, and I see the resulting instability—the not being able to land on anything resembling solid ground—creating all kinds of problems for me and pretty much everyone I know. In my Autumn newsletter I was writing about an aspect of midlife I and many women I know experience:
“As I age I find I’m not willing to try to pretend that I’m still 25, able to stay up late, eat what I want and be all things to all people. I have some health challenges that make it imperative that I take care of myself so I have the energy to do what I want to do, and like most women I have many things that I am passionate about.
Perhaps as a consequence, I find I have no tolerance anymore for things that don’t align with my heart and my soul. That means learning how to say “no”. It means finding ways to plug in and stay connected where I want, in ways that honor my both my strengths and my capacity. It means being discerning. It means being rooted in my own knowing, standing in my own power, and wielding it in a way that feels right for me.
How do we do these things? I’m not always sure. But these are the conversations I want to be having in my work with women:
- How do we prioritize our needs and our self-care without feeling guilty?
- How do we set boundaries in ways that feel both firm and gracious?
- How do we create meaningful, intentional lives?
- And what it the healing work that needs to happen so that we can confidently own our strengths and gifts?”
These questions feel more urgent than ever now. I find many people experiencing this heightened desire for clarity and purpose. To reach out or take a stand… to make a difference in the world.
It’s like we’ve gotten a giant cultural wake-up call, and no matter how many times we hit the snooze button, the alarm is still going off.
Now I happen to believe that we cannot serve the greater good if our inner state is chaotic and ungrounded. we cannot be of service if we are making ourselves ill with our stress and anger.
We cannot manifest the world we want to live in from a place of hopelessness, powerlessness or cynicism.
Now, more than ever, we all need to practice Radical Self-Care so that we—as individuals and as a collective—can be a counterweight to the stress and uncertainty (not to mention the more