radical self care and why we need it

humility About three weeks ago, I held a webinar entitled 'Radical Self Care: toolkit for surviving difficult times,' which I developed because the pace and stress of modern life are too much for most of us. The webinar covered self care practices but more importantly the idea that self-care is an imperative for conscious folks these days and is in fact an act of political resistance. To not be broken and broken down by a constant news stream of negativity and fear-mongering, of world terror and environmental destruction, to stay in a place of compassion we NEED to take care of ourselves and each other. This work is so important to me personally and professionally that I developed a 6-week intensive program following the webinar, which by popular demand is running a second course next month.

And then my brain stopped working.

As I've shared elsewhere, I was in an auto accident about 6 months ago, which thankfully left me with fairly minor injuries and for which I was able to receive immediate and excellent care. And then life went on, until what I thought was a very minor bump on the head triggered after-effects of post-concussion syndrome. Ironically, in the early throes of these symptoms I happened to have a professional meet-and-greet with a functional neurologist, Dr. Gireesh Velugubanti, who shared with me the Rivermead Post-Concussion Syndrome symptom questionairre. Even then, I realized I had several of the symptoms. But, I thought it was not a big deal, and carried on with life. Kids started back to school, life was hectic, I was busy seeing patients and running my Self-Care program, and doing probably less than my best at walking my talk. I even attended a fabulous herbal conference and learned new stuff and met great new people -- and then I crashed.

The prognosis of recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be months or years, sometimes weeks for more minor injuries. And, what you do in the early stages of symptoms makes a huge difference in the prognosis. One study showed that people who did literally nothing -- little to no reading, TV, work, social life, home chores -- had half the recovery time of folks who pushed through.  That got my attention!  My livelihood and life's work relies on my brain -- to multitask, learn, make connections, remember information, and synthesize it to help people who are struggling with health issues of their own.

I'm sure by now everyone has heard about Hillary's pneumonia.  This is my point exactly - she thought that having pneumonia wasn't a big deal. We are taught (especially as women) in our culture that we must push on through, keep going, it's not a big deal, keep going, keep going. And it is NOT WORKING OUT SO WELL, folks.  As Jim McDonald, one of the astute herbal teachers presenting at last weekend's Great Lakes Herb Faire said, we have become too tolerant to stress. Our tolerance for discomfort is ridiculously high, and it comes out in other imbalances. Natural medicine should NOT be aimed at better enabling us to tolerate intolerable conditions. We need to MAKE TIME to take down time, or else.

So I find myself, as I often do, confronted with my own inner obstacles to walking my talk and practicing what I preach. I am writing this in one of my very short allowances of screen-time while I rest at home and have cancelled just about everything, and am practicing asking for and receiving help. I know that for many of us these are not easy things to do, and I promise you that your body will create the need for you to rest if you don't make time for it regularly. Your higher wisdom will force a situation where you must make time to take down time. Even those of us who know what we 'should' do will be gently (or not so gently) presented with these opportunities. Be gentle with yourselves, people.