I’ve been writing a blog post about our time at the Embercombe family camp in my head for the last few days. Yet the thought of downloading it on paper felt overwhelming. This is partly because I wanted to capture every minute detail of our time at wonderful Embercombe. Noticing the delaying tactics, I decided to make it more manageable and write about our time away and valuable realisations in small bite-sized posts.
As in the previous two years, our time at the camp was rich and nourishing. Except, starting from the second day of the camp, I developed a severe pain in my back. I was breastfeeding on benches twisted and uncomfortable. It was the pain that alerted me to the cause of discomfort. Luckily, we had an angel on the site with golden hands and loving heart. She gave me a back massage on several occasions to relieve the pain.
‘Well done for asking for what you need,’ the course facilitator said on one occasion when I was sitting on cushions receiving massage.
Indeed, it’s a big step for me to ask for support and actually to receive it. It felt good, but I also realised that I need to be in extreme pain before I do so. Cultivating self-care on an ongoing basis feels a lot more challenging. Maybe it’s my upbringing with grandma priding herself for the lifetime of self-sacrifice. In my family of origin, any self-loving act was labelled selfish.
‘I haven’t lived a day for myself,’ she says every time I speak to her.
‘It’s about time you begin,’ I grumble in response. ‘You are 85!’
It was shocking to realise that I do exactly the same. Everyone and everything else comes first. To an extent, it’s understandable as I have young children. But here is the thing: I don’t serve any of them by neglecting myself. If I am in discomfort, I am grumpy, less present and pre-occupied with how to get rid of my pain. I struggle to be fully there for them.
But I am learning. For example, today, I planned to write the post bright and early. I was really-really tired though. In the past, I’d drink a cup of coffee and keep going. Today, I had a long bath and slept for an hour. These self-caring acts did the world of good to me, and the post is still written, albeit a bit later in the day.
So, as a reminder to myself, the theme for the month is self-care.
P.S. A note on the theme: Last month, I noticed that sometimes posts do not fit in with the theme. I don’t want to artificially pigeon hole my writing. I tend to write what is here on the day. But having the theme in the back of my mind keeps me awake to the possibility of exploring the topic deeper.