While I write this post, I’m sitting in a café in Brooklyn, watching servers whip by carrying plates of breakfast food to eager customers. There are no piles of pancakes or greasy omelets and sausages, but rather breakfast salads with kale and seasoned sweet potatoes topped with grilled scallops, or biscuits dressed with chorizo and assorted greens. I smile as I glance down at my filleted avocado slathered with jalapeño crème fraiche, fluffy scrambled eggs with scallions, and a wedge of dragon fruit added for beauty—all range-free, fair-trade, and organic. (Let’s not forget guilt-free.)
“Ahh, Brooklyn,” I sigh with love.
I dig into my plate with glee, thinking back on the events of the previous day. Yesterday I wandered through an art gallery and sipped chocolate martinis with a dear friend, admired Christmas decorations that adorned the windows of Manhattan’s beautiful storefronts.
I relished the escape from my routine.
I’ve run away from home, you see. I’ve run away from my work-in-progress and my obligations. I’ve run away from social media (mostly), and the political black hole threatening to suck in all sentient beings around it. Instead, I’m enjoying myself (what a concept). I’m refilling my energy stores, and refilling my creative well.
I’m gathering my strength.
Stepping away to do the things I enjoy allows me time to ruminate on what matters most to me. It enables me to immerse myself in gratitude, not only for those I cherish, but for those incredible individuals who create beauty in the fabric of our messy human existence.
It’s there, this beauty. It exists in spades, no matter how much horror we see from day to day.
During a time of fear and tumult and change, taking stock of what makes us happy is essential. It’s called self-care. While much of self-care is about making healthy choices and seeking out experiences that fulfill us, there’s another component that is too often overlooked. Self-care is about boundaries. These boundaries translate to saying “no” when you need to, to stepping away sometimes, to saying “enough is enough.”
With boundaries we preserve what is good inside of us–we prevent our spiritual bankruptcy.
At some point, all of this self-care translates to fuel; fuel that ignites something inside of us—a burning, an impetus, a yearning. And what do we do with all of that burning? We channel it, transform it to light. Hopefully, we take it a step further. We become that light. We become the kind of light only apparent in our very best writing—the kind of writing that ignites revolutions. This is our gift, we writers—our words. Use them and use them effectively. Use them as if they’re your last.
Enjoy these last precious days of the year (isn’t each day precious?) to reflect on all that is good. Tend your creative well. Nurture yourself. Relish and enjoy what is before you.
Gather your strength and your courage.
Just around the bend that quiet contemplation, self-care, and gratitude will give your words—the words we need so desperately now, more than ever—LIGHT and POWER.
How will you nurture yourself these final days of 2016?