Self-care is the pits.
I attempt self-care, I think as we all do- fervently at the start when we know we need to take care of ourselves. I'll devote thirty minutes to a bath even though I hate them. I'll try yoga but I can't get my brain to stop. It's frustrating to be someone that can help others just by "being open" and yet helping myself is a never-ending battle of my own will.
What I am starting to discover is that self-care for me looks different than for others. I find that by taking care of others in readings, I am taking care of myself. I fulfill a need of helping someone and of making a difference, but something else unique happens to me: I turn my brain off. To hear the messages I am meant to give to you, I must be 100% present. I can't be thinking about what I am going to make for dinner that night, or the permission slip I have forgotten to sign for my daughter's field trip. I have to be listening to you and only you.
Before a reading, I do several things to center myself. I close and lock my office door (right after one of my cats, "Prim" scurries in.) I light a candle. I turn on a particular peaceful music playlist from Spotify (Aptly named, "Calm"). I get out my notebook and turn to a fresh page. I write your name at the top and the date. Then, I turn to your photo and let the Universe/God flow into me.
When I allow the Universe to flow, that's it. I am no longer in the driver's seat. I am consciously aware of where I am and what I am doing, but the thoughts that flow in are not mine. My brain is completely turned off to any other thoughts. It has "tuned-in" to the Universe's frequency, and while I cannot hear the messages, they follow a rhythm that is distinctly not mine. I haven't explored who sends me these initial messages, to begin with. "Who" doesn't matter so much as the fact that the messages are pure. If I think too much about it, it sends me down a rabbit hole. I assume it's my Spirit Guides along with the person that I am working with, at least initially.
I video message you and we chat at first. Some people might call it small-talk, but it's not small. The first few minutes of a call are so important to both of us. They establish trust and they establish the light-hearted nature (generally Prim makes an appearance around that time, walking on my keyboard or nipping me.) Just because it is light-hearted doesn't make the conversation any less serious, but it allows both of us to relax enough so that I can read you and you know that no matter what I say- it's going to be alright.
If we are making a connection with someone that has passed on, I like to do it at the beginning, so they can help with the majority of the call. Generally, before the call, I have already connected with the person, and they've been waiting for their turn in the spotlight. If it was the personality of the person we are connecting with, they are less than patient. I've had loved-ones barge in 30 minutes before a call telling me not to be late (that woman was partially fastidious about time, much to the amusement of her Granddaughter that was connecting with.) I've had loved-ones come to me in dreams the night before, and I've also had the opposite. The patient, loving, mother that never raised her voice will wait until I inquire about her. The son who stepped on his mom's toes one too many times in life might barge in with an "I'm sorry" as soon as his mom is on the screen. The Grandfather with a twinkle in his eyes that hasn't left will make a joke about his living loved one changing the furniture.
The "Ah-ha" moments of the call are my favorite. It's the moment my client realizes their loved one truly is around them. There is no way I would know that you changed the furniture, or the fact that you would sit with you loved one at sunrise and watch the birds. Once that moment happens, true healing and progress becomes rapid in our chat. My client's ability to receive information is expanded, and information from my side becomes quick and certain. I rapidly take notes, noting their loved one's tone, voice, accent, and words they commonly use. One loved-one started the conversation with an uncanny comment about the state of current politics, complete with curse words. Another loved-one rapped. (Which as a psychic, even confused me. It turns out this young man liked to "bust some rhymes" which made his mother and I both laugh out loud for a good long while.)
Our time says 60 minutes, but oftentimes, we go for much longer. I have been cautioned by business people and those in marketing that going over 60 minutes and not charging anything more is bad for business, but the truth of the matter is, I enjoy talking to my clients as much as I hope they enjoy speaking with me. Sometimes we go off-topic, which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. It's nice to speak to someone without judgment, to share a laugh, to smile through tears as we realize we are all much more similar than different.
We end the conversation, and I send my clients love, comfort, and peace. I take a photo of our notes and send them directly to the person I spoke to. (I used to mail them, but I like my clients to have them right away.) I end the call, and I always take a second to sit. I pet Prim the cat, who generally has been purring on my lap, or fast asleep at my feet for the majority of the call. I thank God for allowing me to read you, the client, and I say a special prayer as I blow out the candle.
Arem. Shem. Beth. Sedal. Sacrivilian. Ahad. Amen.
(Blessed be this Mother on high who is sacred to all who come to her.)
Warmness fills my body from the love received, and I marvel in it. My brain is back on. I hear my kids downstairs playing, and the dogs running around. I am back in the present, although generally, the physical feelings stay with me long after a call. If it's a hard conversation, it may take me the evening to feel better. I'll come downstairs and give my husband and children a hug. That's generally the clue to my family it's been a hard reading, as I am bound my God to not say anything about my client or the reading. Literally, the words cannot leave my mouth even if I tried. It feels like masking tape over my lips. It always takes me a while to plug back into being a mom and a wife again. My mind is still reeling emotionally, and I generally think about my client and the conversation for long afterward. I pray that I have helped, that I have made a difference, and that my client is in a better space. My heart is with them, and I always wish I could do more.
This is my self-care. By turning off my brain to help you, I am honoring myself and the Universe. It's an odd way to take care of myself, but I feel like it is my purpose in doing so. I fulfill my needs as someone that wants to make the world a better place. Sometimes it's easier than others to do so, but it's always worth it.
As long as you are honoring yourself, you are giving yourself self-care. I had a friend call me this morning and tell me she spent the weekend cleaning her house. She felt relaxed and recharged. It's not my idea of self-care, but I love that she felt better by doing so.
I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on "correct self-care" and I think it's B.S. Your self-care is going to look different from anyone else's ideas on self-care. Reject the books and websites that want you to spend your money on "teaching you" self-care. The reality is, we all know how to do it, but we've been programmed to look for it elsewhere outside of ourselves.
What fulfills you? What makes you happy? That's self-care.
For me, it's helping people with my unique ability. For you, it might be cleaning your house or walking your dog. Allow yourself to be YOU. -Not the version your spouse or your children want, but who YOU want. I promise you, you know how to take care of yourself. You just have to be willing to let go.