care taking and taking care

let’s play         with exploding             what it means                to be lovely

I have been asking myself this question for years now.  “what does it mean to take care of myself?” The question hasn’t always leaned this way.  For a long time it tilted more like “how can I be good?”; or “what does it mean to be nice?” And the questions don’t always come from within.  “What do you want?” was/is a question that often stumps me.  Fortunately I love questions; and lists.  I answer my questions with stories, and lists, and poems, and dancing, and more questions.  And sometimes I’m o.k not knowing the answer.

I am a mama of two young girls.  We three girls live in a house in a small/medium size town in Canada.  All the steps I have ever taken have taken me here.  To 8 mcgee.  Right here.  Fingers typing away.  Asking myself this question again.  And today the question has again shifted.  “How do I take care of you and me?”

My almost eight year old is sleeping on the couch with a fever as I type.  She is curled away from me, knees slightly bent.  My almost four year old is playing at “school”.  Before she fell asleep I asked Ivy if she wanted to write this blog post with me.  Her first answer was “no.” Then she asked me what my question was.   I asked her what it means to take care of ourselves.  She shrugged all glassy eyed: “I don’t know.” So I asked what it means when someone takes care of her.  “I don’t know” she said again.  Then I tried how do you want someone to take care of you?  “Give me yummy food” she said straight faced.  And then “ask me another question.” So I asked her what is healthy.  Quickly she replied “healthy food.”  What is lovely I wanted to know.  “I don’t know” she said.  My last question to her (because I started to question my ability to question!) was what is fun.  “Having fun.”  She said this with a bit of a huff and some impatience.  Fun is fun.  Like unconditional Love is unconditional Love.  Like accepting myself is accepting myself.  Because I think that might be my basic answer right now.  love me.  accept me.  as is.  totally and fully. That is how I can care for me.  And that is how I can care for you.

It is really simple.  And it isn’t.  All at the same time.

Here are some of the ways I am nourishing myself and others these days.

moving from the heart

I see myself in the cobbler pose.  Sitting with the bottoms of my feet together.  Rounding and curling forward into myself.  Chin bowing into my heart.  Sometimes at the end of meditation this happens to me.  God folds me into myself and reminds me that my head needs to take a dive into the waters of my heart.  My head needs to swim.  Swim in feeling.  Can I surrender all the thinking and fall into the sea bath?  Can I let myself love myself?  Totally?

eating from the heart

For the past 5 years or so I have been drinking green vegetable juice every morning.  And for few years I drank it in the afternoon too.   I grow sunflower sprouts and pea shouts in my kitchen and juice them with celery and cucumber.  I’m adding parsley right now.  And in the spring (soon soon)  I’ll add horsetail and nettle.  I wake up early and juice.  It is my early morning meditation.  The girls playing or squabbling.  Me watching the early morning sky shift around one of my favorite trees.  Sky black, sky orange, sky blue.  Bruised.  Grey.  Clear.  All the possible skies as I juice and juice for me and all the sweet folks who enjoy my green things.  I don’t feel the need to list all the vitamins and minerals and proteins in my daily beverage.  I just know it feels good.

What would it look like if you knew you are totally taken care of?  What do you do that fills you up?   Something old or something new? A little dance in the kitchen.  Singing loudly in the car.  A salad.  Kissing.  Whatever nurtures you?  What if you knew that taking care of others is how you take care of yourself?  What would you do?

Someone left an envelope marked C. on the windshield of my car in my own driveway today.  I have never received a letter like this in this way before.  I am intrigued and inspired.  In the envelope was a beautiful Frieda Kahlo postcard entitled Roots.   Frieda is lying on her side on the earth and a huge rectangle has been “cut?” out of her chest.  The earth is visible through her chest and the roots are growing out from there.  The back of the postcard is blank.  But there was a short note on a separate piece of paper:  “Dear One, Please use this $ to sponsor someone to 5 of your classes”  At the bottem of the note is a heart with an arrow through it, pointing.    There was also cash.  WOW.  Thank you sweet giver.

There is an arrow pointing this way through my heart.

I am letting the roots grow from there.  And here.

With lots of questions.   And surrendering the need for answers!!!!!!!


11 thoughts on “care taking and taking care

  1. i love the interaction between you and ivy on the couch, the way you invite your children to participate (or not!). so beautiful, chantalle. i continue to struggle with so many of these questions–and you give me some thoughtful answers. xxx

    1. thank you shannon. i really believe it is about loving ourselves. that includes our struggles and the ways we don’t think we know how to care for ourselves. it includes it all. what we like and what we don’t. i don’t know how to do that yet. but i’m hopeful.

    1. of course you can see the cobbler pose. are you hinting for a photo? let’s see if i can remember how to use the timing on my camera. you can come here in person any time though; and i’ll show you.

  2. I would love to learn to grow sunflower sprouts and other greens for eating or juicing. Any advice on how to start? Thank you…have a beautiful day.

  3. thanks for sharing Chantalle. I so appreciate your courage to blog and the question about caring for self and others has me opening to the possibility that I can do that too.
    bless you,

  4. Loved: “God folds me into myself and reminds me that my head needs to take a dive into the waters of my heart”

    bless you

  5. Just reread this fantastic post. Your descriptions are so vivid I can see them with no effort at all. Thank you.

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