Making time, space and intention for radical self-care and the life-giving tonic of creative living is essential, regardless of your work, your sector or your station in life. My friends working in nonprofits encounter a seemingly endless list of wrongs to be righted, playing fields to be leveled, glass ceilings to be shattered, projections to be exceeded, and suffering to be healed and alleviated. Families, organizations and entire countries are facing shortages of critical resources and energy reserves. It should be no secret that the need for self-care and generative aspects of creative living are vital to keep the talents and energies of dedicated change-makers and survivors fully engaged and effective.
In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, there is much to digest on the subject: “Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. We react like we are being choked. There is a real rage that surfaces when we are interfered with on a level that involves …fixing us up. When well-meaning parents and friends (and business partners and colleagues?) push(…)anything on us that doesn’t evolve in a way that allows for our art to continue, we will react as if we are fighting for our lives—and we are.”
Wow, those words touch a familiar chord for me. I wonder: are we sometimes our own “well-meaning parent”, over-managing our inner “artist-child” (also Cameron’s concept) and not providing the best nurturing for that part of ourselves? Is being the best parent for our creative self a holy sort of self-care?
My dear friend Della Rae is more attuned to the issue of self-care than I; she is my go-to expert on this topic. She makes the point that “what it means to me may mean something totally different to you”. (Little Book of Self-Care by Della Rae).
I agree with Della that self-care is more about how we treat ourselves (and think about ourselves) and others than how to get a massage scheduled into our busy calendars. The current science on our habitual ways of self-talk and how neuroplasticity allows for us to modify the ruts and change course…fascinating stuff, that. My point: it takes focus and intention to attend to these concerns with any hope of good outcome. So finding a way to stay focused, that is our marching order, possibly more important than any.
If you are a leader in any organization, these are good practices to consider, they may make the difference in how sustainable and impactful your efforts will be.