No one who is born, is free from ageing and deathIn The Buddha’s Words, Edited and Introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Self-care is the process of releasing toxins from the mind, body and soul to prevent the spread of illness and disease or causing destruction to ourselves and the wider community we live within. Some fashionable self-care trends can be harmful, dissolving our natural physical and mental state. Self-care allows us to accept unchangeable imperfections as part of our story and our being. Self-care doesn’t strive for perfection, it strives for improvement. Self-care helps us build a stronger foundation where our imperfections can be laid bare and sorted through as we let go of what is either out of our control or no longer required for our growth.
The beautiful chariots of kings wear out,
This body too undergoes decay.
Scent can take us to a memory, bitter or sweet, induce a world of fantasy, bring us down to earth and alleviate tensions. Olfaction can dictate our interactions with the people around us, bringing us closer to the ones we’ve been searching for and help us drift through life.
When we are stuck in a whirlwind of thoughts, distracted from our current reality or brought to a grievous moment, self-care practices like cleansing and self-massage can release physical tension, assist blood circulation and regulate our nervous system. A combination of fragrances can allow deep insight whilst uplifting our spirits and bring us back to a more pleasant state of awareness. When self-care and scent come together we are able to open ourselves up and let go of the grit we get stuck in and take a step forward even when we think we can’t see the path ahead.
One aspect of self-care is dependent on topical applications that assist cell regeneration or, to simplify, soothe and energise us from head to toe. Other aspects of self-care include sticking to a nutritious diet that suits our bodies and lifestyles, unfortunately there is no “one-size-fits-all” and no matter what fad diet or craze is out there, we still have to amend it to our bodies and lifestyle. Juice shots, like any glucose spike, gives us a rush of energy. Just because we’re using fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean we’re getting the best nutrition out of juicing. Eating salads and limiting calories just before and event before diving into carbs for the weeks after negatively impact our bodies. Our bodies like routine even if we don’t, consistency is key in any and everything we do.
We’re consistently looking for quick fixes instead of staying consistent with what we need to do for ourselves. It’s easier to jump from one thing to the next looking for imperfections that we blame on someone else or get someone else to fix instead of working through the bubble of shit that grows before it bursts.
A lot of self-care talks about sending love, light and peace, following the sweetness and getting in touch with our inner child. What we don’t often see are the darkest roads that we need to dredge through before we can truly feel the warmth and peace of the light. Routine in self-care is incredibly important because as the road gets darker and it feels like there’s no point in this because…[insert any reason that applies to you]…we need to have that routine to fall back on to remind our mind, body and soul that we’re okay, safe or at the least working toward a better, safer situation or environment.
No matter what our situations or past experiences were, as an adult we have to take responsibility for ourselves. If we constantly tell ourselves the little child within is hurt and needs love or base our actions on our inner child’s needs, we allow ourselves to act as hurt children well into adulthood. We repeat patterns, demand love, seek attention and blame others, from the past or present, for situations we put ourselves in.
Understanding and learning from the past helps us move forward but it’s easy to become attached to it, stopping us from being able to stand strong in our present moment. Once I was talking to someone about part of my past and I was advised to “know, love and forgive that little girl” which in that moment and phrasing, honestly made me detach a little because to me that “little girl” is dead. Even though I carried guilt and shame for things that happened when I was young, as I worked on myself I realised knowing, loving and forgiving who I became as an adult was what would actually help me move forward in my life.
We’re afraid of death or anything to do with facing our darkness that it’s completely normal to pay thousands to help us stop ageing or shut down at the thought of letting go of a part of ourselves, instead we hold onto it even tighter which stops us from growing. It is important to play and have fun like children do but it’s not necessary to hold onto that inner child to do so. We can play and be light as an adult, we can know that there was heaviness our child had to carry but as an adult we have the freedom to let go and have fun without destruction.
Who I became as an adult was unstable and harmful because I was obsessed with that hurt child within me and I never knew what to do with the information until it completely took over me in the form of a darkness I’m not willing to return to. It took years of reflection and tight self-care routines to get to the core of who I am now and I don’t know who I’ll blossom into within the next 5, 10 or 20 years because we are ever changing. The beauty in ageing naturally is knowing that we are, hopefully, wiser and smarter than we were before. When we delve into self-care, we ensure that we are where we’re meant to be.
There were countless times where I fell out of routine and had complete melt-downs which left me recovering for more than a week or so. As I built my foundation, the need for tight routines dissipated as it turned into habit. I wasn’t living second to second with my schedule. I became less judgmental about myself and the world I was within which opened a portal to seeing the world in a whole new light. There are still seasons where things get darker but it’s easier to spot; first comes judgement, then sleep patterns waver and moodiness starts before paranoia sets in. It used to hit me out of nowhere but with meticulous tracking of my daily activities, the weather, food and my moods, I was able to pin point when I became misaligned. When things start to get a bit awry, I know that means falling back into a tighter routine.
Tight routines, schedules and journaling is definitely not for everyone, especially at the start but you have to find a way to track your daily lifestyle and learn what your body does before it overpowers you. Quick fixes promise us so much but all they really do is mask the issue and allow us to lie to ourselves.
It is our responsibility to better ourselves before we are able to spread love and knowledge to the rest of the world. If we don’t, we put ourselves in positions where we turn a blind eye to certain discussions, thoughts or ideas and search for what we want to hear which puts us in an echo chamber that does more damage to ourselves and the world we’re in.