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October 17 2016

The Flood or the Fan

Emily Ruth, Content Staff Writer

A while back, I was newly divorced (again), and had become laser focused on healing. More importantly, I was being specific about the daily activities I needed to get my mind, spirit, and body healthy. I set some goals after much thought and consideration of my priorities. It felt good to make those commitments, putting my healing at the top of the list.

I knew it would take persistence, with working full time and going back to school, but I was ready. It included a morning meditation, a reconnection with my body through healthy movement, giving myself proper nutrition, taking vitamins and lastly, some reading and journaling. I had to start early to get it all in before my boys woke up.

It was going well for the first week or so. But one day I woke up late. My phone alarm had failed to charge and was dead. I had a meeting I needed to make and was in a mad rush to get out the door.

I know you’ve been there too. Haven’t we all?

The pressure was on and I had some decisions to make. Do I stick with my commitments? Or do I put them off until it is more convenient? (Hint:it is almost never convenient.)

We all have choices to make, and sometimes we must set goals aside for even more important things. But in this situation, my gut instinct told me I needed to stick with the top two important goals and shift other things (like contacting my client, letting them know I’d be a bit late and going without blow drying my hair) in order to accomplish my goals.

I knew if I prioritized my self care, I would be in a healthier mind set and better equipped to handle the very full day ahead of me. I recognized that long term, it was an important vote for my healing.

I managed to do it! And I was getting out the door, only a few minutes later than originally planned, when I heard a hissing noise. It sounded like sprinklers, which didn’t make sense with my sprinkler schedule. I wanted to ignore it and get going, but something told me to be still. And listen.

Reluctantly, I did. Soon I realized the sound was coming from inside my house. I listened closer and realized it was originating from my fridge. As I pulled the fridge away from the wall, an almost imperceptible leak was coming from the water line. By the time I got a towel and returned, it had increased to a steady stream, and by the time I had turned off the main water, a large and growing puddle had formed.

Had I not kept my self care commitments, I would have already been gone. It would have been over 6 hours till my return, and my home would have completely flooded in that time. Instead of a flood, I put a fan on the wall to dry it out. It all ended up pretty minor.

Now, some might call this coincidence, and of course this kind of story doesn’t always end so smoothly. Sometimes we are late to the appointment after leaving early, then hitting every red light, spilling smoothie in our laps, and running out of gas. Sometimes the flood or disaster happens, and it is out of our control and comes with no warning.

However, after this experience, and others, I’m becoming aware that sometimes heeding our gut intuition can spare us the disaster we couldn’t have predicted. How vital our self care is!

Self care doesn’t always look like a massage and pedicure at a vacation resort. Sure, sometimes that is exactly what it means, but I am seeing that taking care of myself more often looks like saying “no” to a project that sounds exciting, but doesn’t quite feel aligned with my purpose.

Sometimes self care looks like cancelling the weekend away with friends and instead organizing my home office to create a peaceful work space and getting to bed early. At times self care has been having a hard conversation with a friend, or setting a needed boundary that is hard to set. When we practice letting ourselves be still, and tune into our internal compass, it becomes easier to recognize what self care should look like.

Remember that at times, in order to be spared the flood, we have to get quiet. And listen.

About the Author

Emily Ruth is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® as well as a practicing childbirth doula. She finds purpose in serving others and encouraging empowerment through education, which is one of many reasons she is excited to be working with Bloom. Emily has worked through many challenges in her own life such as childhood abuse, disordered eating, child-loss and divorce. She also understands what it takes to make time for self care and she is so happy you have landed here. You are in the right place.