The Opposite of Self-Care

My life has been a special kind of crazy the last few months. I say that, like it’s an abnormal thing for me. haha!

Take 2:  My life has been a new kind of crazy the last few months. Ah, yes, that feels more accurate!  Bear with me for a quick recap of recent life altering events:

  • Bought a little farmette.
  • Farmette gets hit by tornado force winds, causing enough damage to delay closing for 2 months.
  • Slowly moved into farmette with all 4 cats.
  • Gathered the brothers and parents to help me build stalls inside the barn and do repairs around the farm and my old house before selling.
  • Brought my two beautiful horses, Nikki and Hercules, home!
  • A third horse arrives (Albert!) who traveled from Utah to Chicago to find his way back to me again.
  • Co-founded Intuitive Mastermind Academy with my amazing and talented friend, Stephanie K. Hopkins. Yay us! (We’ve already held a few classes and have several coming up so check those out!)
  • Been TA’ing several classes with my friend and mentor, Danielle MacKinnon.
  • Took additional classes to offer expanded Equine Coaching experiences with my clients.
  • Offering Soul Level Animal Communication Readings, Intuitive Coaching, Reiki sessions, and Equine Experiential Coaching sessions to my personal clients.
  • Oh, and somewhere in between all that, working a part time gig from home so I can put away some savings for a truck and horse trailer in the spring!
  • My old house went under contract, buyer’s financing fell through. Went under contract again. Again financing fell through. (Asking myself what’s the point of a loan pre-approval???) Finally under a third contract, set to close at the end of February.
  • Lastly and most sadly, my cat, Trotter, has been battling a large malignant tumor. His time here is coming to an end, and I’m feeling the grief of having to let him go after being with us for nearly 20 years. Sweet little old man.

And this is just since September! Through all of this amazingness and craziness and sadness, I’ve done my best to keep myself emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically aligned. But I’m not going to lie. I am exhausted.

Pushing until the Universe forces you to stop is never a good choice. Allowing and opening to what the Universe sees you are ready for is definitely the better option.

I would love to say that every day I wake up and do all the things my body is asking me to do for it, while also taking care of the day to day stuff that keeps the rest of the wheels of my life turning. It’s just not that easy. I do my best to listen to my body, honor its needs, and take care of it on all the levels. But when everything is coming at you at once, and you don’t want to turn down any of the beautiful opportunities the Universe is presenting to you, you get into a cycle of pushing beyond what is healthy.

Self-care goes out the window. It happens slowly at first; without even noticing, really. You wake up a little earlier. Skip breakfast and work through lunch. You ignore the fact that you haven’t had any water in the last 3 hours because leaving your desk would take you out of your work groove. The needs of your family (or in my case animals) become priority over your own. Before you know it, you’re main source of nourishment is the cream you put in your coffee and a bite of an apple or carrot before offering the remainder to a horse! LOL

That’s when it happens. You’re body starts screaming at you. “Slow down! Take care of me. I need a break. You need to get up and move your body! I’m dehydrated and need water. My eyes hurt and are tired. I’m warning you; this isn’t good!” I’m sure you’ve heard many of the same demands from your own body.

It wasn’t until my cat Trotter was diagnosed as terminal, that I realized how badly I was taking care of myself. When I connected in with him, he told me he is worried about me, he can feel my energy draining, and he wants me to start taking better care of myself. He knows there are things I will do for him that I won’t necessarily do for myself, so he has chosen this time, near the end of his earthly life, to help me work on this lesson. Smart and sneaky little Yoda that he is, Trotter is working on this one final lesson with me before crossing over: Self-Care. By taking care of myself the way I am taking care of him through these last days, I am learning a new version of self-care.

In the last 14 days, I’ve shifted my priorities. I take breaks throughout the day to check on him and make sure he’s eating, drinking, sleeping and toileting. (all the basic things I need to be doing for myself–no coincidence!) We sit in meditation and share Reiki together. I spend time giving him massages, while focusing on my own breath and body and what it feels like for me while caring for him.

I upped my game for him; doing anything I can to make his last days as peaceful and comfortable as possible. The reality is that he is doing this for me. Me getting quiet and present in the moment with him is having an effect on me. Not only is it helping me process his illness and eventual crossing over, but it is giving my body the rest is needs in small intervals.

Taking care of myself this way is completely different than how I’ve experience self-care in the past. Sitting in front of the TV and unconsciously devouring a bag of microwave popcorn as a means to check out after a busy week does not have the same feeling as being present in your body and noticing how each bite of food satisfies your hunger or your craving.

Chatting (or more likely griping) on the phone with friends in my very own pity party about how stressed out I am does not offer me the same respite care as seeking guidance through automatic writing with my spirit guides does.

Giving myself a soothing facial doesn’t sooth my soul the way a meditative body scan can help me identify where I’m storing negative energy so it can be released.

Don’t get me wrong. Sitting on the couch with a friend, chatting, while watching a movie and eating delicious snacks with a mud mask on your face is divine! It’s just that I’m starting to notice that those things don’t replenish me the way other self-care activities can. What I need right now is self-care for my soul!

The lesson Trotter is working on with me is a difficult one in so many ways. Prioritizing myself is not easy, but necessary. If I want to continue doing all amazing things I love doing and exploring all the new things that I want to create in my life, I have to take care of my body. It’s the only vehicle I have to get me through this lifetime.

It’s bittersweet to know that when he feels like I’ve made enough of a shift in this lesson of self-care that it will be time for him to cross over. Unfortunately, in this regard, losing a pet is not any easier just because I’m a Soul Level Animal Communicator®. However, knowing there is a lesson in the timing and the method of crossing over does bring a level of peace to my heart that he has successfully completed his mission here with me. The lesson and understanding of his passing weighs heavy on my heart, but I am grateful for his courage and the wisdom he has shared with me over the many, many years he has been in my life.

On that note of deep gratitude for Trotter and his unconditional love, I’m making a conscious effort to honor my needs when then arise. I am going to take a break away from work now. I’m going to offer some nourishment to my body and to Trotter. I’ll walk out to the pasture, make angels in the snow, and soak up the yummy energy of the horses. Then I’ll come back in, get fully present in my body with Trotter by my side, and bask in the energy that revives my soul!