Regulars and Shorts

Ask Your Mama: Self-Nurturing

By catalyst

A question of self-nuturing: How to begin again, when you’ve lost your sense of self.
by Donna Henes

Dear Mama Donna,

I have been caring for other people for so long that I don’t think I know how to take care of myself. Whenever I think of some self-care rituals, I fly off to some nebulous airy mental space and lose my resolve. I need to be able to root myself in the physical plane and know that I can keep my feet on the ground. This seems to be really scary for me. How can I learn to nurture myself in a real way that is healing?

In need of mothering

Dear Mom,

The physical plane connects us with the here and now-it is the world as we perceive it through our five senses, the life that we embody. Real Life. The most effective way to nurture ourselves, body and soul, is to treat the minutiae of our dailiness, the mundane and the profane parts of our life, in a consciously celebratory manner. When we practice the art of approaching all facets of life with the same dedicated devotion that one would apply to an important ritual occasion, and the craft of making every detail matter and every minute really count, we are validating our own worth and importance. It is this constant presence in the present that ultimately nourishes, energizes, and heals us.

I have a simple
Fill what’s empty. Empty
what’s full. And scratch
where it itches.

-Alice Roosevelt Longworth 1884-1980

Time spent in the bath, with a good book, exercising, and even doing domestic routines, can feel like holy rites of devotion if we perform them with the focused intention of Self-care and concern. Our concentration = consecration. Meals, for instance can certainly be more than the mere rushed intake of calories, nutrients, television news and bickering. A normal supper can be one of life’s most agreeable ceremonies if we establish a comfortable, leisurely, aesthetic, emotionally safe environment in which to enjoy food and convivial company even-especially-if it is “only” our own.

I invite you to concentrate on feeding yourself as the first step in your efforts to mother yourself in concrete ways. Nothing is so real as food. It represents love at its most primal, basic level.

When is the last time someone cooked a special meal for you? More to the point, when is the last time you cooked a special meal especially for you? What are you waiting for?

If you are never alone at dinnertime, do lunch. Or brunch, or breakfast, or high tea, or midnight snack.

Create an out-of-the-ordinary menu that might include your favorite culinary treats, or foods that you have always wanted or meant to try. You may want to create a fantasy feast or recreate a memorable meal from your childhood ortravels or reading.

Cook with the intention to nourish and please yourself, purposefully infusing the food with love, just as you would in anticipation of any honored guest.

Set your table with all of the special things that you love, but never use. Use your grandmother’s plate or vase, cloth napkins, and your good stem­ware.

Create a centerpiece that honors and celebrates you. Place fresh flowers or foliage or your favorite houseplant in the center of the table. Set out some of your amulets or holy items that represent your intention to treat your Self well. Light candles to ignite your intention.

Pour yourself a libation and offer a toast to you – your health, your happiness, your life.

Serve your Self!

To your health,

xxMama Donna

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at cityshaman@aol,com

This article was originally published on January 30, 2009.