The Wheel of the Year is turning and turning and Litha, the Summer Solstice, is only a few days away. People who grow crops are already beginning to reap a harvest from the seeds they sowed in early spring. Here in the Virginia highlands, we’re getting radishes and lettuce, some early spring onions, spinach and strawberries. Friends further south, in Richmond, are getting ready to pick tomatoes. One way I’ve always liked to stay in touch with the Wheel of the Year is to visit farmers’ markets and buy seasonal produce. (Luckily, many cities have farmers’ markets a few days a week — you don’t have to live out in the country to enjoy.) What’s growing in your garden? How do you make the Wheel of the Year a part of your life? How do you plan to celebrate the Summer Solstice?
For the past few weeks, I’ve been catching up on medical check-ups that I didn’t get during COVID lock-down. Mammogram: check. Dentist: check. Ophthalmologist: check. General practitioner: check. Today, the vet is coming to give the cats a check-up and that will, hopefully, be that, for a while, at least. It’s gotten me thinking about the whole “self-care” issue. During COVID lockdown we were all urged to make time to care for ourselves. And, of course that can take different forms for different people at different times.
I remember reading somewhere that what we’re sold as self-care is often some ritual (preferably for which we have to buy a product) that lets us step out of the day-to-day business of getting things done. You know, something like a bath with scented oil and a candle. Those kinds of things can be wonderful and I’m a big believer that ALL acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess. But self-care is also doing the difficult things we don’t really want to do. I HATE going to the ophthalmologist. Hate it. Hate those drops that dilate your eyes, hate having bright lights in my eye, hate the whole process. But researching local doctors, making an appointment, going, coming back and spending the afternoon with a headache — that’s self care, too, just as much as giving myself time to sit on the porch with a cup of herbal tea in my favorite mug. Organizing your finances and personal records isn’t anybody’s idea of fun (well, hardly anybody’s) but it’s another important form of self-care. And once you do it, even if it does make you face some worrisome facts, it’s incredibly empowering. Asking for a raise even though it makes you nervous and raises all your “imposter syndrome” emotions; telling your mother-in-law that she can see her grandkids once she’s vaccinated (and not before) and sticking to that while she raises one conspiracy theory after another; finally getting someone in to fix the old wiring that makes you crazy — all of those are self-care as much as going for a pedicure. One thing I do is to try to use the bath, mug of tea, pedicure forms of self-care to reward myself for doing the ophthalmologist, research Medicare plans, clean out the garage types of self-care. How are you caring for yourself these days? If your best friend looked at your life, what challenging form of self-care would they say you should do this month?
We’ve been having a dryish Spring here, but parts of the Western US are having terrible droughts. I’ve been saying two things for years: (1) Too Many People; Not Enough Planet, and (2) Water Wars: Coming Soon to a Planet Near You. When you work with the Element of Water, please remember how important it is.
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