We often think of self-care as things we do for our physical and mental health and is often done as a means to replenish after feeling depleted. It is extremely important to replenish, but there is a level of self care that can minimize the degree to which we feel depleted and the frequency with which we feel depleted. I call it self-care on a soul level or soul-care.
Soul-care radically shifts the idea of self-care from a set of things we DO to a way of BEING – a perpetual state of mind from which we create and execute our roles in the world.
It is a way of orienting the way we perceive ourselves and the roles we play. It is a way of being that prioritizes whatever helps you to connect to: who you are at your core, who you are when you feel connected to God/Source Energy, who and how you want to BE in the world.
It is about creating a self-actualizing state of being from which all we do flows naturally, without a lot of effort.
I believe that this is actually our natural state of being and that when we are connected to our natural state of being, WE are in control and create naturally, in flow and our roles become beautiful expressions of who we ARE.
We have actually experienced this soul connection at some point or other and sometimes frequently. It is when you are “in the flow” or “in the zone” and things are just clicking along with a sense of well being. You are being as you are meant to be and doing flows easily as a result.
We lose touch with our core in many ways, most often in the roles that we play, when we unwittingly let our roles take over, detach us from our core and dictate what we do.
We all have our unique set of rules. We create expectations of ourselves and then hold ourselves accountable with our rules. These rules are created based on our own upbringing, the opinion of those close to us, what society expects, etc. We create and follow these rules to make sure we execute our roles properly, but if the doing of the role is not directed from our core, the doing takes over and directs us. Then we look up one day and ask “What am I doing? Where did I go?
So when we have that moment of wondering “What am I doing? Where did I go?”, and become aware of the disconnection and discomfort of being ruled by what we do, we then have an opportunity to step into self-care on the soul level.
Looking at our own set of rules for each role that we play, is a great way to start. By understanding HOW we disconnect from ourselves through the shoulds and should nots of our roles, we can shift the way we think and behave in a way that will instead reconnect us to our natural state of being.
To begin, you can identify your unique set of rules so you can catch yourself in action. The best way I know how is to write a job description as if you were hiring someone to execute your role exactly as you do. Pick a role or one of the roles that you think you get the most caught up in and then write down the things a job candidate would have to do to replicate the way you execute that role. Think about what they would have to THINK, SAY, and DO to replicate you in your role. Try and find the aspects that got twisted along the way and became rules that confine or control rather than coming from essence.
I will give you an example of some of the requirements a candidate would need to do to replicate my version of Mother-Homemaker and Spouse (mine are intertwined)
- Believe that a mother and spouse should be eternally and perpetually available
- Receive all texts, emails and phone calls right away from kids and husband (and judge yourself for missing the ones you don’t see right away)
- Say ‘yes’ to requests without considering how they impact you
- Believe that you should say yes and should find a way to satisfy all requests
- Give everyone equal time and attention (except yourself)
- Be NICE and don’t feel or express anger
- Put family items first and squeeze in time for personal interests and work
- Make home-cooked meals and then judge yourself when you don’t feel like it, when you order out or when you let someone else do the cooking
- Believe you should do it all yourself. Try to do it all. Don’t ask for help until you are overwhelmed and then judge yourself for needing and accepting the help.
- Compare yourself to other people who seem more productive
That is just the beginning of the list of rules I have created to “keep myself in line” and keep me disconnected from myself. Over the years I have become more and more aware of how I falter and stop caring for ME. This awareness has been a remarkable gift and road map for reconnecting and developing a posture of Soul-Care that has led to a new relationship with myself.
Building a new relationship with yourself begins with awareness of how you disconnect and how you feel as a result.
At some point something gets your attention. You notice more and more often that you are feeling resentful, in overwhelm, exhausted, uninspired, bored, lonely, stuck, getting sick or injured, breaking or losing things, creating conflict, etc.. At some point if your roles are running you, you realize that things are not quite what you want them to be. The beauty in understanding that these are roles and rules that you created is that this awareness sets you free, because if you created it in the first place, you can recreate something else in a way that is a better reflection of who you are.
ACCEPT AND APPRECIATE
Second, it is important to Accept and Appreciate yourself for creating the rules in the first place. You did the best you could and in the only way you knew how at the time to make sure you executed your “job” well. It is also important to accept and appreciate how effective the rules were. They not only kept you in line, but created expectations in those around you that you would show up in a particular way. This is a double edged sword of course, because then it is those expectations that we use to fortify the rules and create a sense of obligation to perform – perpetuating the disconnection.
ADJUST YOUR MINDSET
Third, once you see and appreciate how you have set yourself up to stay disconnected, it is time to re-connect by Adjusting Your Mindset. This takes some focus and quiet. Set aside some time in a place where you will not be distracted to give yourself space to tune in and identify things that help you to connect to yourself. Is it meditation, prayer, being in nature, journaling, creating art, working with your hands, yoga, dancing, singing, etc… Remind yourself of what works for you. You know, even if it has been a really long time.
ACT DIFFERENTLY AND TRACK
Finally, after creating your list of things that create deep soul connection for you, ACT differently. Prioritize and practice doing those things that make you feel connected to yourself – everyday, multiple times a day if necessary. Change your To Do list to reflect those things that help you to connect to yourself then TRACK your progress. Create a way for you to check-in with yourself daily to see how you did with your commitment to tune in and how you feel as a result. When you don’t feel connected at the end of the day, ask yourself, what got in the way. What roles and rules distracted you from yourself?
Then ACT again and reconnect.
You might find it difficult to do on your own because creating a new practice and a new way of being is difficult, but there is no reason to do it alone. There are ways you can garner support:
- Let someone you trust in on your plan to really honor yourself and use them as a sounding board for your successes and your wobbles
- Find an accountability partner on the same path – someone who is on board with this kind of self-care – and support each other
- Join an accountability and integration group or create your own
Remember that you are always a powerful creator and you have the power to recreate your roles in a way that honor and beautifully express who YOU are.
You are the only one that can share you with the world.
As always, I am here to help. If you want to join an existing group or are interested in additional support, I am launching a membership community this month.
The purpose of this community is to support people who are committed to shifting out of their own dramas and getting more into flow with who they want to be. It begins next week and will include a monthly live Q&A call with me, plus recordings of those calls; weekly online support from me in a closed Facebook group. Participation in the group will also offer ongoing support from other like-minded members of the community. You can check it out at here.
Also, if you find mediation is helpful way for you to connect, you may want to check out my soul-connecting meditation by going here to download the audio.