Care – And Giveaway!

May 8, 2014 § 43 Comments


You too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine – Mary Oliver, from “When I Am Among The Trees”

The last few weeks were big ones in our house. Scott finished his job (which has the best title in the world) as the Officer in Charge of Construction at the Office in Charge of Construction. (And who said the military has no imagination?) On Tuesday, they had a ceremony to disestablish the OICC, as the majority of work has been completed. What they did in a few years was outstanding. Roads, highways, and bridges, barracks, and fitness centers were built, totaling over three billion dollars. Scott’s family came out to visit from Oregon, his brother came from Texas, and my parents came from Pennsylvania. We rented a house by the beach, where the five cousins dug in the sand and hunted for sharks’ teeth.

The ceremony was surprisingly emotional for me, and I couldn’t help but appreciate how the military commemorates the endings and beginnings of things. Now you are here. Next you will be there. There is no ambiguity.

During the past few weeks I have been filled with ambiguity, while at the same time, without my own usual rituals of  yoga and meditation and walks by the water. I even stopped using my neti pot and drinking lemon water. It’s not surprising that I felt groundless for many days despite the joy of being with family.

I am participating in Renee Trudeau’s Year of Self Care Mother’s Day Giveaway, which is amazing (see below!). The invitation to participate came at a time when I was already thinking about self-care. I get the basics of self-care: eat well, sleep enough, exercise, and do things you love – even if I don’t always do those things.

What challenges me, are the more subtle aspects of self-care. I have been working with Alana Sheeren, and her energy work has been a transformational experience (I will write more about this later), and as a result, I am thinking more about how I talk to myself, what I believe about the world, and what I allow myself to have. I have been really struck by the fact that I can drink all the green smoothies in the world, but if I have no faith in myself, I will be miserable.

I have also been thinking of the ways we (of course, by we, I mean I) handle the hard things. Pema Chodron says, “Never underestimate the inclination to bolt,” and I have been well-aware of how I bolt. (More to come on this too).

I guess what I am wrestling with really, is how do we take care of ourselves when we don’t want to? How do we be gentle with ourselves when we don’t believe we deserve it? How do we speak kindly to ourselves after we have snapped at our children or let a friend down? How do we make time for ourselves when so many other people have bigger, more pressing problems than we do?

I would love to hear your comments about this, as I think we have all been in these places of wanting to crawl under the covers with a trashy magazine/bottle of wine/Clooney/pint of ice cream/other personal escape vehicle.

This giveaway is really amazing. I wrote a review about Renee Trudeau’s first book, “Nurturing the Soul of Your Family” here .

To participate in this giveaway, leave a comment below by May 10th on what self-care means to you, and you could receive a Self-Renewal Package which includes a copy of the beautifully illustrated, award winning booksThe Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal orNurturing the Soul of the Family and free registration to the Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal Online Telecourse (a $125 total value) from nationally recognized life balance teacher, Renee Peterson Trudeau and Hopeful World Publishing. Additionally they¹ll be entered to win the $2700 Year-of-Self-Care Mother’s Day Giveaway. The giveaway is a week-long self-renewal retreat at the Omega Institute. I will pick the winner at random. 

I am sorry I haven’t given you more time to enter. (I was also looking for shark’s teeth. And maybe I was bolting a bit too).



§ 43 Responses to Care – And Giveaway!

  • Wylie says:

    I love receiving your posts in my e-mail inbox. Self-care is a hard one. I can certainly relate to your comments about the basics of self-care, but getting to the next level is a hard step. I was journaling a lot during my yoga teacher training, and seem to have fallen away from that practice since finishing. I would like to get back to it as a means of introspection and keeping myself accountable. Glad you had some time with family and loved ones, and am sure that must be a form of self-care as well.

    • Pamela says:

      I am with you on journaling. I wish I did it more. It’s so healing. I also want to write down more of what my kids say because it’s so funny!

  • Elaine says:

    Oh wow – this is a great question – because it’s hard to sort out the positive of “self care” from the negative “being selfish” because I often feel they are at least touching, if not overlapping. So I have a set of mechanical things in the “self care” list – attend the track workout every Thursday at 5:45 AM – no excuses. I feel great when it’s over and while my thoughts are tumbling over themselves during my run. I drink a lot of water (lest I be felled by another kidney stone). But the harder stuff is “say no when I don’t have time” and “say no even though if I did whatever I’m being asked to do it would help my kids out – if I don’t have time” – hell, calculate the time I have! I love what you said about beginnings and ends in the military.

    • Pamela says:

      I have a hard time saying no too. I always thought you did a great job at both self-care and family care. You were definitely a role model for me in DC!

  • Kristin says:

    Is it too weird to say that I work for self-care? I work out, and do yoga (and definitely feel the best after doing these things!), and find cooking meditative a little bit…but the biggest thing I have done for my sanity since having kids is to let someone else hang out with them, while I sit on my butt with my computer for a few hours. I know this isn’t what people mean by self-care, but if I didn’t have this time, I’d surely explode.

  • Christa says:

    Love this, Pamela. And so glad you and Alana are spending time together. And that you’re attempting to take good care, which is all we can do.

    Where will you be next? Crossing my fingers for DC…



    Christa Gallopoulos

    Sent via iPhone, with all the inevitable autocorrects!


  • Angela Gunn says:

    This post is so timely for me. Self care is a daily struggle and my constant urge every day is to bolt from it all. But thankfully, I’ve been living without using the typical means of bolting for so long that apart from food, there’s not much I can do that allows me to bolt from myself. So, I do my best to sit with it and know it shall pass. Doesn’t help that I’m trying to move at the same time. Wow. Talk about being unkind to myself, and yet, right now it feels like the kindest thing I could be doing to move forward. I’m excited to hear where you are going next!

    I hope we both get back to our lemon water, yoga and meditation soon x

    • Pamela says:

      Ah yes, sitting and knowing it will pass. Remembering that we are the sky and everything else is just the weather (shameless steal from Pema). I hope your move is going well. Let me know!

  • jennifer says:

    I found your blog through Katrina Kenison. So glad I did. 🙂

    This winter was a long, hard one for us, with lots of illnesses and broken bones and too much snow for Georgia! “The tendency to bolt” grew very strong in me. I spent a lot of time resting and reading a “cozy mystery” series, one after the other… watching a lot of bbc… and generally breathing through it. The whole thing had the echoes of “labor and delivery” about it. My mom and sister and I planned a springtime shopping trip… I signed up for yoga classes (I had to wait for my wrist to heal first)… and I learned so much about how much strength it takes to simply wait patiently. Sometimes that is the best we can do, I think… and the gentlest thing. To put aside expectations and allow for the minimum. I didn’t feel creative… I felt too fuzzy-headed to think deeply about anything. My choice was to “let it be.” I did do a lot of thinking about HOPE and how that fits in to real life, with all its unexpected setbacks, however… and I am still considering this as we move into a sunnier, more productive spring and summer. I am SO GRATEFUL for the return of the sun and for a change of routine! And I feel more deeply in tune to certain writers and more inclined to poetry… I am discovering many new things and ideas. Putting the thoughts together is a process (sometimes slow, with the demands of daily life!). But I think I am slowly becoming more tolerant of “process.”

    So… with all of this, I am often encouraged and inspired by your posts.
    Thank you for taking the time to write and share!

    • Pamela says:

      First of all, I am so sorry that you broke your bones and had such a hard winter. But I do love this: To put aside expectations and allow for the minimum. I too am recovering from injury and this is great advice for me. My friend also gave me some great shows on PBS to watch and I am also a fan of “cozy” books. Thank you so much for reading this blog and for writing!

  • good lord. clooney was the name of our last, bastard rooster that we had to abandon to the wilderness and i’ve been stuck on that as a ‘self-care’ moment for a few minutes now… then i hit on the george possibility and that fixed it all. bolting is my life, and i’ve grown so fond of my issues that i cuddle up with them lately. a work in progress, i tell myself, again and again. .. . . here’s to something more successful.

  • Lisa says:

    When I have a bolt or an “inner mean girl” moment, the first piece of self-care is to catch it. Like in a catcher’s mitt. Actually seeing, hearing, recognizing that I am having a moment that requires self-care can set me free. Because…when I catch the moment, I can choose to care. For me, caring is about being kind to me in the small moment. I say, “may you be safe; may you be peace, may you be love.” In that moment, I am consciously choosing to care for me.

    • Pamela says:

      WOW! Catching ourselves bolting and then recognizing we need care instead of running is huge. This is so beautiful. Thank you, thank you!

  • Cathy says:

    I, too, have been struggle with the questions you posed. Although I do the basics like get enough sleep, there feels as if a nurturing of my ‘self’ is still needed. I’ve started sneaking moments to read instead of thinking that I need a block of time (which I never had) and that has helped. So im currently considering how I re-think my notions or assumptions about what a deeper self-care looks like. Maybe it’s small moments nestled into larger life? Under investigation…

    • Pamela says:

      I love this idea of small moments in a larger life. When I was little, I used to read all the time, even in the middle of doing homework, so “sneaking” moments to read sounds decadent. I used this idea when my kids were playing outside today. I sat in the yard with a magazine. I only got about 5 minutes in before my son got hit in the head with a swing, but it was a great 5 minutes! Let me know what you find out in your investigation!

  • Pamela, as always, your words are finding me at JUST the right time. My father-in-law, who is 83 and has lived in Costa Rica the past 25 years, and his Nicaraguan wife, who speaks no English, moved in with me and my family in our (very small) two bedroom house six days ago. I posted on Twitter a few days ago that I realize (now) just terrible I am at meeting the competing demands of other people, especially when I add my own into the mix. They are staying with us an undisclosed period of time, and I have been obsessively thinking about how I can meet my own needs, in small ways, on a daily basis throughout this. Right now, I told my mother-in-law, as nicely as I could, “I need to go take a rest now,” and I closed my door and read your post (and will finding my chapter in “Orange in the New Black”). I have MUCH to learn about self-care, as evidenced by how hard this is pushing on my edges.

  • I am always so happy when I see your blog address in my in-box! And what good timing for this post! I realized today that it has been a week since I did a cardio work out which for me is a really long time! I just had a talk with myself full of reminders about how important it is to get back in line with my priorities. And where are you off to next? Do tell!

  • mary ann wettler says:

    Self care means taking the time to listen to one’s intuition and acting with the strongest of faith to follow through with what the whispers are saying.

  • Colleen Fleming says:

    Love Walking on My Hands. Self care to me means that- in a year when my 19 year old son who never gave me any troubles at all has two major accidents, takes a “break” from college, is in bed downstairs as I write this with bandages covering 20 percent of his body, crying out in pain- is taking a moment to go outside in the dark and breathe in the scents of spring, appreciate the daffodils in front of me on my table, do a few minutes of cat-cow when I wake up, write in my gratitude journal daily. Anything I can get in the crazy whirlwind the universe has whipped up for us these past long months since my son turned 18.

    • Pamela says:

      Oh Colleen! I am so sorry. I am so glad you are taking time to literally smell the flowers. I am sending your son wishes for health and you wishes for peace. xoxo

  • I feel as though I only dimly comprehend what self-care could mean to me. Right now, I wrestle with myself to give it and receive it. Drag myself out the door early to swim twice a week to keep despair at bay. Get myself out of bed at 5am to ensure I have time to read, meditate and stretch before the children wake up and our day as homeschoolers begins. Buy the supplements that hold me together. I’m tending my most basic needs, but am I delivering care to myself? Maybe, but maybe I’m not receiving it yet.

  • sdedmon says:

    I feel as though I only dimly comprehend what self-care could mean to me. Right now, I wrestle with myself to give it and receive it. Drag myself out the door early to swim twice a week to keep despair at bay. Get myself out of bed at 5am to ensure I have time to read, meditate and stretch before the children wake up and our day as homeschoolers begins. Buy the supplements that hold me together. I’m tending my most basic needs, but am I delivering care to myself? Maybe, but maybe I’m not receiving it yet.

    • Pamela says:

      It sounds like you could use a big, long vacation. I am so amazed at all you do. I also think self-care goes beyond the basics … but sometimes I have a difficult time listening to the voice that knows what my soul needs. It’s not a job for punks, that’s for sure.

  • Stacie says:

    Like the other readers, this post comes at the perfect time. First sip yesterday had the same lovely Mary Oliver poem I love so much too. ( I love when the universe serves up the same message).

    For me the most effective thing I can do for self care is get outside in nature. Everything seems to reset when I am able to run or hike. Because I live in Phoenix my window for getting outside is shrinking as we are in May and the heat is near (summers are challenging). Reading and of course yoga and meditation help me come home too. I didn’t do so well with the recent meditation challenge I participated in and my reading has not been consistent either. We are in the middle of a move, a house purchase with lots of conditions and resolving legal and parenting time with my former husband. There are many days I want to bolt and being present is always challenging. There are so many sweet moments that I don’t want to pass by with my young boys. I hope that I can slow done and savor these next few months rather than wish the away.

    • Pamela says:

      Wow Stacie, you are going through so much. When I move, I can’t read either. During our last move, I watched every episode of The Office ever made. I am so impressed you can recognize the sweet moments!! I think just recognizing is enough, and children are so in tune to us that our recognizing teaches them how to recognize the little things in life too.

      I also love being out in nature. It’s so calming. Good luck with the move and the legal hassles. Sending you lots of love and peace. And maybe mindless hours of TV?

  • The Officer in Charge of Construction at the Office in Charge of Construction, eh? That’s so funny!

    I understand all about getting out of that self-care routine. Things are finally starting to settle down here after the move, but I still am having trouble with my regular meditation practice I had going. Trying not to worry about it too much and just do what I can. Also, I’ve been hiking a lot, which is a form of walking meditation that I am really enjoying.

    • Pamela says:

      Britt, I had a feeling you would like that title:) I am so happy you are in Oregon and enjoying it!! Remember, with all things change, be good to yourself. Baby steps! Hiking is such a wonderful meditation.

  • Ah Pamela, you have such a way, always getting me to think more deeply, question more probingly, answer more honestly. I’m in the midst of a challenging fast/cleanse right now myself, and it’s so interesting to observe the ways that self-care can feel like deprivation, and unhealthy indulgence can feel like self-care. Changing the story we’re telling ourselves, however, changes everything. Feeling grateful to have a wonderful partner in this endeavor this week, my son Jack. It makes self-care turn into “us” care, and I’ve found it easier to stick with the program than I have in the past, when I felt lonely being the only one not eating pizza. . . Sending love as you move through all these transitions.

  • […] Thank you so much for all of your comments about what self-care means to you. I learned more from your comments than from any self-help book. If you haven’t read them, you can find them here. […]

  • Melea says:

    Acupuncture! A recent addition which forces me to lay still for a period of time – enabling me to also focus on breath work. It’s a ‘2-for-1’!

  • Wow, Pamela – this is so inspirational. What a wonderful way to spark the conversation about self-care and emphasize how important it is for everyone! – Julie and Renee

  • Alana says:

    I broke one of my self-care policies yesterday and checked my email before I got out of bed. But your words were a gift that started my day beautifully. I’ve recently decided to implement self-care Thursdays so after yoga class I get to decide what I want to do to feed my soul. It’s delicious and of course doesn’t feel like enough. There are little things I do in my days but an extended period of time on a regular basis is slightly uncomfortable and wholly necessary.

    • Pamela says:

      I love Self Care Thursday! What a great idea. It is slightly uncomfortable. And wholly necessary. Thank you for always reminding me of this.

  • shawley says:

    Ah… Self care. Just when I think I’ve wrapped my head around a duty station, feeling comfortable, and trying to make authentic friendships, its time to move. So much to take care of (besides ourselves) in this nomadic military life. We have to deal with all those details. That being said, I try to maintain running and small steps at getting back into my career (teaching). As I get more experienced moving (8th move), If I do what is genuine to me- the people and things follow….It just takes patience, and being okay with waiting for things to feel like *you* (if that makes sense.

    • Pamela says:

      I love this idea of doing things that feel “genuine” and waiting for that to come to you rather than try to force it. It’s such a perfect word. And yes, it does take patience! Thinking of you in Guam!

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