What is “Self-Care?”

"Self-care" is one of those contemporary pop-psychology phrases that gets a lot of airtime. I googled it recently, and found a wide range of resources from Wikipedia's definition to "self-care cards" for sale on Amazon.com. 

Last Thursday I taught a class at the Unitarian seminary on spiritual self care, and we spent a fair amount of time talking about internal and external barriers to self care. How and why has it become "counter-culture" to have quiet time for yourself, to meditate or pray, spend time in nature, go for walks, spend quality time with friends, make music or art, dance or write poetry, play with your dog? 

And if the future generation of progressive clergy has a hard time prioritizing self-care, (as do their mentors, elders and colleagues), what does that forebode for the rest of us?

We launched our discussion by framing self-care in relationship to spiritual formation, reading a quote from my mentor Parker Palmer:

“Formation assumes that every person has access to
an inner source of truth, named in various wisdom traditions as soul, spirit or
heart—a source of strength and guidance that is the place of truth-telling
within us where we know the difference between reality and illusion. The work
of formation involves creating a quiet, focused, disciplined space—a circle of
trust—in which the noise within us and around us can subside and we can begin
to hear our own inner voice."

How do you access your inner source of truth? Is there harmony or discord between your inner life and your outer life? What is your favorite form of self care? 

(if you need some ideas to get you thinking, see the "counter culture" list above)


Lillie's favorite form of self-care