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Walking on Water: The Call of Self Care

Sitting at my desk on a Thursday afternoon, my leg was shaking. I was growing restless. Every glance at my Surface Pro was blurred by racing thoughts as I scrolled IG on my phone looking for yoga poses that ease anxiety. I turned on lo-fi beats and chillhop music. I tried to meditate. But I could not focus. My living room/office space was shrinking. As the walls were closing in on me, I took my shaky leg and bare feet outside to stand on the steps of my apartment facing the parking lot. I raised my arms over my head, stretching my fingers and my gaze toward a puffy white cloud gently sailing across the sky. My locs tickled my back as they draped down my spine.


I smiled for the first time that day. I took a deep breath in. I slowly brought my praying hands back down to heart's center as I exhaled the pressure I was putting on myself. "I Am here," I affirmed, "All is well". I repeated this until my mind slowed its pace and regained a sense of balance.


I needed that moment to catch my breath, to see beyond the screen. At that point nothing in my home could offer what I needed. In that moment, I knew I needed a break from all the work - the self work, Mommy work, housework, and work-work! My life has been A LOT of work! I'm sure you can relate. Spending most of my days in the house relying on technology for my job and for social connection created an avalanche of attention deficit. I was depleted. As I looked to the sky during my salute to the sun, I knew that only nature would offer me the oxygen I needed.


When I got back to my desk after stretching, I texted my sista-friend and we set a date. Within a couple weeks, we were at Indian Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio. Yes, we took a day off work to go to the park without our children! We immersed ourselves in lush green trees and bushes, gentle breezes, sun peeking through branches, and trickling water - we craved the sound, the feel, the sight of water. And we were determined to overlook the presence of all the children trampling the watery trail alongside their pets and even photographers snapping pictures of toy dinosaurs (literally, there was a man snapping pictures of a toy dinosaur! lol


As I found a flat surface to move through a couple yoga asanas, I thought, you will not deter me, dinosaur photographer, I'm breathing here! And I moved and breathed just beyond his view. There truly was enough room for all of us in nature from the tiny ants to the splashing dogs.



Every part of me was nourished by that experience. Not just because of the park we chose, but because of the intentions we set. We found our way to the water after getting clear about which path to take and whether or not we were "permitted" to approach the sounds that called to us. And because my friend had the "proper hiking sandals", I felt ill prepared for what would happen next. I was wearing my running shoes, which are okay for walking on a dry path, but not suitable for walking in water. But I watched her carefully step from one stone to the next, commenting on how cool the water was as she allowed it to graze her ankles. I wanted in. I slipped off my shoes and socks, set them aside and looked down for a solid place for my soles to land.


Each step was an exhale, a release of my inhibitions. I let go of my fears as the water gently baptized my toes in refreshing reassurance. This is how I hear the language of faith. Whispers of spiritual truths fluttered like tiny white butterflies between my heart and my mind as my body soaked in the sounds and sights of nature. This is what self care feels like.


Self care nourishes the entirety of who we are. It may vary based on our needs for the moment, but when done consistently, caring for our Self touches every aspect of our being - even the parts of us we take for granted.


I was walking on water. For me, walking on the water represents a way of approaching life that ignites my faith. In the bible, there is an encounter between Jesus and his disciples that highlighted the miracle of walking on a sea. While traveling in a boat to their next appointment, the disciples witness "a figure" walking on the water. One of the disciples, Peter, asks the unidentifiable spirit to call him onto the water, IF He was Jesus. Well, Jesus said, "Come" and Peter stepped out of the boat. Defying natural laws, he started walking on water toward Jesus, sinking only when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the swelling waves around him. This story in Matthew 14:22-33 has been told and retold with an emphasis on the value of faith and trust in God.


 

I have been called out of my proverbial boat over and over in my life. Stepping outside my comfort zone has been attached to assignments in my work life, in my previous marriage, in my parenting, and now in self-care. Taking a day off work to go somewhere I haven't been was something I had never do before. But it was so worth it!


Stepping into a daily self care practice that suits your needs and lifestyle may be uncomfortable at first. But I believe that like me, you are being called out. Especially now. The screens can only carry our imagination so far. All the noise of daily life are like waves crashing against our focus. Like the disciples, perhaps you don't recognize the appearance of your greatest opportunity standing just beyond your reach. And maybe, like Peter, you're bold enough to request an invitation. Maybe you are willing to be called out as long as you are endowed with the faith and confidence to defy what seems more natural or comfortable. Well here is your invitation - Come.


But count the cost. Loving yourself is not any easy path to take. It will require sacrifice. In order to step into the deep, there are some shallow parts of your life that will need to be surpassed. The calling to care for yourself will stretch you beyond your fears so you can step out on faith, much like I did when I took my shoes off to feel the water squishing between my toes. Trust me, taking a step of faith to care for yourself will massage your soul in ways that will cause your feet to rejoice!


As you consider taking another step in your self care journey, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. How do I generally feel throughout your week? Am I breathing easy or am I mostly anxious, exhausted, overwhelmed?

  2. What do I need in order to breathe a little easier?

  3. what will I need to say no to in order to yes to myself more often?

Reflect on these questions in a journal, on a walk, or on a drive to work. Know that you are not alone. There is a tribe of us - a nation, a Kingdom of self care advocates and practitioners responding to this call to walk by faith and not by sight. We are being beckoned back into balance in order to have enough energy to serve others in meaningful ways. We are learning to live confidently in love one step at a time. And even when we fall into old patterns, we are kept from drowning in shame because of the grace of God. Whatever your pace, keep moving in the direction of love's calling on your life - with every single breath.


Want some guidance reflecting on these questions? Complete this form to inquire about booking a consultation. Let's BREATHE together.

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