Body Rules! Extreme Cherishment of Your Precious, Worthy Self

“Take care of the children, for they have a long way to go.
Take care of the elders, for they have come a long way.
Take care of those in between, for they are doing the work.” – African Proverb

Yesterday I received a voice message from a friend and colleague whom I had asked if I might stay at her home during an upcoming conference. She expressed sheer delight that she had reached my message system instead of me so she didn’t have to have one more conversation. As for my request to stay at her home, she responded that she “could not get in touch with a yes” because she was in a place of “drastic over-interaction.” She explained that she needed to be fiercely protective of her time and space to be personally sustainable and suggested I come in a day early for the conference for quality time together and then book a room.

As I listened to her message, I found myself celebrating. She trusted I’d understand her need for self-care, and I did. It is one of the blessings of hitting the wall – and, dare I say it? Of aging.

Through experience, reflection, and hitting said wall, I have discovered that careful consideration of – and adherence to – what sustains us is the foundation of wholeheartedly and consistently bringing our gifts to the world.

I began this year with a commitment to self-care. Yet it turned out the words self-care represented yet another job on my action plan and did not inspire me. Then, at the spring Illumination program for Real Speaking graduates, we explored what I called Luscious Language for the things we wanted most in our lives, words that would inspire us to support our biggest dreams.

In declining my request to stay at her home, my friend was demonstrating what I now call Extreme Cherishment of Your Precious Worthy Self. When I say it, I become the little girl in me who know she deserves sacred care and the adult who honors that need. Still, every time I type the word “precious” I have one of those God said Ha! moments because I inadvertently write precious with v instead of c, changing it to “previous.” This typo reminds me that if I don’t practice extreme cherishment, my capacity to stand in my fullness becomes but a distant memory.

Honoring my need for space and nourishment to replenish my flagging adrenals made me realize that Extreme Cherishment starts with the body – indeed, the Body Rules! As an example of how guidelines of self-cherishment can structure and nourish our lives, here are my personal Body Rules that allow me to replenish my health and give my best every time I step up for a program:

1. I will not teach two intensive programs back to back. (Recently I returned from a successful but strenuous two-week trip, scheduled before I developed my rules, affirming the wisdom of this decision.)
2. When clients ask me to offer Real Speaking in their city, I let them know they will receive the best return on their investment to come to Santa Fe (or Asilomar or Hollyhock) where they stay on-site and enjoy lovely accommodations, a natural setting, conscious care, and privacy for breakthrough work. If they want me and my associate to come to them, we request the same qualities in the program venue.
3. When I go out of town, for every six hours of travel, I will arrive one day ahead of the scheduled program so I can experience the spirit of the place and enter my work refreshed and fully present. After the program, I stay an extra night to relax and integrate the experience before heading to the airport. (I suggest participants do the same.)
4. I limit travel to one trip by air each month.
5. I wait 24 hours before responding to a speaking request to be sure it represents an engagement where I can add value with a happy heart. And if it requires airline travel, the compensation must make it worth my one trip by air that month.
6. To sustain our larger body, the planet, I log on to one of the many websites that allow me to calculate and mitigate the cost of my travel to the environment by contributing to carbon offset projects. To offset the impact of three roundtrips between Albuquerque and Vancouver this year will cost me $158.51 according to www.sustainabletravelinternational.org. (Please send me your favorite site for these calculations.)

Sometimes we wonder if we can afford to make such commitments to ourselves. Can we afford not to? We hardly make much of a difference dragging ourselves reluctantly from one commitment to the next, growling at those in our paths as though we were trained by Dobermans. Or, conversely, staying “up” by running on adrenaline (easy to do when we love our work), but ultimately depleting our overall health and enthusiasm.

Another aspect of Extreme Cherishment is learning how to manage and protect our energy. Each interaction with another person or an audience has an energetic component that requires an awareness and diligence that I am just beginning to understand is even more important than chemistry. I have been exploring this in depth and will write about what I am learning in an upcoming Power Points e-letter.

What Body Rules might you establish to manage the accumulated stress of your life so you can be fully present and whole in what matters to you? Are you willing to define and state the truth of what you need to nourish yourself? Are you committed to sustaining (or creating) vibrant health and a strong spirit in the work of change?

Please let me know the practices that sustain you in your work so that I may share them. Thank you!

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