Recently I was able to pick up Tara Mohr’s book PLAYING BIG. I have heard Tara in a number of interviews on podcasts and I was really blown away by her insights, her concepts, and her passion for women.  Tara is the founder of the acclaimed global PLAYING BIG leadership program. One little nugget even after listening to multiple podcasts, I found in the introduction of her book got me thinking on a deeper level. As she explains the PLAYING BIG program, she mentions that it “is to move away from self-discipline and toward self care.”   The words “self care” resonated with me.  And to pair it with self-disciple it created a juxtaposition that shook me.  In an effort to better myself I am always trying to push myself to achieve goals. It’s almost a struggle at times to get things done for myself. Tara mentions the inner critic as an inner voice that is in part “harsh, rude, mean.”  This could be in part the inner voice that is kicking me in the rear end.   A lot of the time, however, it is it’s genuinely me trying to motivate myself to do things: to eat right, to exercise, and to have a better plan.   All of these things are not something that I always have to dig deep with.   My skills in habit forming for myself are adept. I also know that digging deep is for very temporary circumstances.  However, I rely on “kick yourself in the butt” motivation more than I should. I hope that now that I am learning about self-care I won’t have to rely on that “DO IT NOW OR ELSE” motivation. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”  Jim Rohn   With habit forming it is a built in just do list, with out the list.  But what if you are trying to form a habit or there is something that knocks you off of your habit?  Motivation the idea of pushing through is not enough.   I started thinking about what if I changed my paradigm from I’m being disciplined to I’m taking care of myself? Over the last two days I’ve really had a difference in my attitude and my mindset when it comes to self-care.  It has been less of a Mom voice of “you should do this” which is in part of that inner critic. But the other part is the “really want to do it but I need to be self-disciplined” voice.  As women we care about others.  We care and take care of our house, kids, significant other, family, friends, projects, home, committee, community, etc.  Self-care is about caring for others because it allows you to take of yourself to take care of others. Showing yourself you care. This is HUGE for women all over because as women we typically put others in front of ourselves. It’s really easy to say, “Yes”. It is harder to prioritize and say “No Thank you”. So as far as self-care is concerned why don’t we turn around and take care of ourselves? In the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, there is a line where the character Cyndee Pokorny is explaining how she was abducted.  “I had waited on Reverend Richard a bunch of times at a York steak house I worked at. One night he invited me out to his car to see some baby rabbits.  I didn’t want to be rude so… here we are.”,  how ridiculously funny, true, and sad.

While I was an organizer my philosophy was “start with you”, where ever your space is. So if your mind and soul resides in your room—that is your space. Incidentally, that is my space.  If my room is a hot mess so am I.   Also, when I have company or I am making room for someone in my house all-extra clutter (i.e. unfolded laundry) goes into my room.  Talk about putting others before you made in physical space!  Your room, dear heart, may be somewhere else, any room where you feel like you reside. It might be a desk, kitchen, dining room etc.   Self –care is not about pushing.  It’s about accepting.  With out being too blunt here. We cannot just screw our goals in to submission.  Maybe all that pounding gets to be a bit much.  It’s time for us to romance our goals/our tasks.  Talk nice to them.  Woo them.  Have a bit of foreplay and cuddle time with them.

No matter how you react to the buzz phrase “work-life balance” it is likely to hold some sort of ideal for you.  More than likely an ideal that -if we take forceful action, then we can achieve this ideal world of “work-life balance”.   There are two new concepts that I would like to discuss that take the idea of forceful/ masculine action and work-life balance.

1. Feminine Action:

What if we took “feminine action”?  Action that is based on caring action? Productivity and task management that is based on self-care?   Action that is not about pushing yourself.  How would it feel, dear reader, to go about your goals and tasks embracing the work to be done?  Approaching necessary work with compassion, tenderness, and sacredness? Too many times we go through trying to get stuff done because it’s the right thing to do for pretenses but it’s not congruent with your higher priority. As an example one of my organizing clients told me that her main priority was her kids.  I’m sure that is her most priority as it would be for most of us.  However, her actions were not exhibiting it as such.  She spent her time wanting to de-clutter and move her stuff around.  Her thinking/mindset? If she could only get organized than she could finally spend time with her kids. All the while the time that she had with her kids was slipping away.  She was focused on the someday.  This is called the arrival fallacy. That perfect someday when all the laundry is done and everything is perfect.  I asked her if she could spend 30 minutes to an hour scheduled uninterrupted time with her kids.  This proved to be an impossible task in the mindset she was in.   She kept trying to push for this perfect organized world without stepping back and recognizing that she was most important.  I say that she was most important because her kids are what is most important to her. She missed out on self-care. Care for her and her children.

2. Mind-Body-Spirit balance

Can we banish the phrase “work-life balance”?  I don’t think so at this point in time it has been so popularized in business and in our culture.  So many of us love to work.  Cannot keep our selves busy enough.  ADHD? ADD?  I don’t know.  However, for you who love to have projects – HELLO PINTEREST!  I suggest that the work and the life part are never really separated.  I do know though that if I am reading or learning to long my brain hurts!  Mind you I can do this for hours!  But then I just have to get out of my head.  Any of us who remember college can remember sitting for hours. Way to long in lecture and studying.  How wonderful it was to even go outside to get some fresh air and walk to the next class.  Same with physical exercise or tasks; you have to take a break.  That’s what we have sleep for!  Spiritual rejuvenation is a must and is the most overlooked one of the three.  Take some time and spend it with your Divine.  You will get the most out of this rejuvenation. I’m working on balancing my 3 selves (Body- Mind- Spirit) and worrying less on trying to get away from work.  Striving for little get a ways by switching up my tasks.  An example might be to go for a walk or do a household chore if I’ve been sitting at the computer or reading. Also if I feel as though I’ve been balancing those two worlds, but I still feel out of sorts I take some alone spiritual time.

 Self-Care is a Necessity

Self-care and balancing your Body-Mind-Spirit are not just a luxury it is a necessity.  Most women put others first.  It’s time to put you first even if it is just a mind shift.  Recognize that when you have the self-talk of “I have to go the gym”.  That the inner critic is trying to shame you and you won’t go.  Embrace and change that voice to something calming something that is receptive.  Take action that will last by being caring.  Your loved ones and others will appreciate it as you will get more done with out feeling lousy.  You can decide whether a task is uplifting to you and to others by gaging the resistance you get from yourself and others.

Feminine action is the idea of welcoming, of calming, of making space in your actions.  To me this is such a fabulous idea! I hope that you go through and you start thinking of how you set up your tasks, goals, days, and calendar and apply feminine action to them, to care for yourself in the tasks at hand. We will automatically take the feminine action in caring for somebody else and we won’t think twice about it.  It is easy to be compassionate and tender and wonderful to others. However, when it comes to motivating ourselves we beat on our fragile psyche.  When it comes to going to the gym, cleaning the kitchen, writing that blog post, mowing the lawn those are things that you need to recognize that you’re there to care for yourself those are the tasks that you need to do in order to care for yourself and instead of pushing/forcing. Open to the sacredness and tenderness in caring for your self in all your actions.

Leave your comment below to let me know if this is made a difference. If you’ve noticed being more mindful and productive in your actions/tasks, I’d love to hear it.

Charlene Stackle
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