Chapter 4 – Radical Self
Radical living is steeped in giving back to others. It embraces the point of view that going above and beyond and touching someone’s life in even the smallest way can make a difference.
The one area of Radical living that I seem to overlook is self. To be completely honest, self care seems to happen only when I get so maxed out on everything and everyone needing something from me, that I ask myself, ‘What about me?’ It has happened to me again and again. There are times when I open my eyes and say, ‘Why am I so tired, uninspired and feeling this emptiness? Why does this feel so familiar?’ Work, kids, marriage, friends and family seem to take up every free moment, and I forget to squeeze out some time for the things that bring me personal joy.
As usual, I didn’t stop to recognize that I needed to take care of myself until the perfect storm hit on a trip to a Hot Springs hotel. Fortunately, the stars were in alignment for me to experience this much needed self care. I had someone to watch the kids for the night, my friends weren’t available to join me, and my husband was unexpectedly out of town. This trip was supposed to be for my husband and I, but now he couldn’t make it.
So, I made the decision to take some time for myself. A part of me thought it would be best to cancel and save the money. It would also give me some time to catch up on work and hang with the kids. But the other part of me said, ‘Why don’t you treat yourself to some R&R? You deserve it.’ The next thing to enter my mind was whether or not I would be lonely, bored and unsettled with no distractions. I had forgotten what it was like to have nothing to do and just be in the moment. So, I made the effort to practice what I preach and to embrace the opportunity to let this adventure with myself unfold, and say the Radical yes to self.
When I arrived in Palm Desert, I decided to turn off my phone, pretend as if there was no TV, and be open to what was around me. The voices in my head didn’t want to give me a vacation. They started the chatter of how I was going to eat lunch and dinner alone. Will people be staring at me in the restaurant? I’ve seen others do it, but I’ve never done it myself. By then, my hunger took over. I ordered what I wanted, read a magazine and took in the conversations of others. I had nobody to look after but myself. Thinking that I would soon become bored at dinner alone, I decided to enjoy every bite like my mom does. She’s the slowest eater that I’ve ever known and I’m the exact opposite. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel rushed. I savored every bite. How wonderful was this!
I left the restaurant and hurried back to my hotel room. In my mind I was already three steps ahead of myself, tucked in bed and done with the day. Why do I do that? I heard a little voice inside me say, ‘Be present in the moment, Rachel.’ Immediately I stopped. I took a deep breath and told myself to slow down because I wasn’t in a rush to be anywhere. So, I found a comfy chair and gazed at the pure beauty of the night. Slow down should be a phrase I repeat over and over to stop my mind from jumping ahead.
Sometimes I go through life forgetting to take in the crescent moon, the stars shining brightly, the beauty of a warm summer evening, and the wind dancing through the trees. Through this experience, I realized by running on empty and not taking time for myself, I’m less able to fulfill my responsibilities in making a difference in my work, family and friendships. Taking care of myself makes me a better mother, wife and advocate on this Radical Skincare mission.
I believe that we all strive to be the best that we can be, but by ignoring our need to take care of ourselves, we are doing a huge disservice for us and others. So don’t wait for the perfect storm or breakdown before you take that precious time out for you. Make it a self-imposed ritual to say ‘YES’ to your Radical self.
Embrace the moment.
WRITTEN BY RACHEL.