Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Self-Care by Karen Monroy

Dr. Karen Monroy is a spiritual psychotherapist, economist, author, CEO, wife and mother. She is passionate about teaching Sustainable Prosperity, the Spiritual Principles everyone needs to live fulfilled, joyful and prosperous.

Her book, the 30 day Money Master Mind Make-Over has won a National INDIE Excellence award and her new book for Children, “mommy what is rich?” is nominated for several awards.

Self-Care
Most people are not very good at self-care. We spend wasteful hours trying to figure out why. I want you to know the reason “why” doesn’t matter.

What does matter?  You see the loop of reciprocity between your ability to live joyfully, productively, and with equanimity to self-care. It would also greatly serve you to recognize whether it is the art of motherhood, or the art of writing or painting, there is indeed a correlation between self-care and the demonstration of your art. 

Obvious objections may be Van Gogh and his famous ear incident or Ernest Hemingway’s life and suicide.  Clearly, unhappy artists can do great work. I’ve sloughed through hundreds of studies asking, among other questions, “Is writing a dangerous profession to your health?” and “Are artist’s happy?” Not one study has posed the question:  how much better could the writer or artist have been if they were able to sustain happiness? This phenomena happens everywhere: think of Daryl Strawberry, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantel –yes, they were terrific baseball players, but you know the drugs, booze and partying held them back.

Let me ask you this: do your negative emotions and bad habits hold you back? 

I rest my case.

Furthermore, it’s unfortunate that self-care is often confused with excessive, narcissistic tendencies. While preferences in meaningful self-care are to be expected, you don’t have to leave your family, fly to a private resort, or spend money to practice self-care.

Artists and writers as a whole tend to avoid practicing self-care. All artists will experience the ebb and flow of creativity, some even experience severe blockage. I’ve also noticed a direct correlation between the duration of a blockage and the ebb and flow of creativity to their ability to administer self-care.

I teach Spiritual Principles. While form appears different in life for each of us, Spiritual Principles are universal. The Spiritual Principle of Awareness is a requirement for a sustainable, joyful life and the maximum demonstration of your art, regardless of its expression.

Most of the time when I begin to speak with artists about awareness, they think I mean introspection. Introspection is a perceptual organizational tool employed by artists. It’s a way of immersing ourselves deep within life in order to discern the discrete components. The kind of introspection used to describe an experience in detail is not the same awareness that assists us in being able to navigate our experience.

I’ll say that again: description doesn’t lead to navigation. Introspection and Awareness are not equals.

It’s our conditioning, training, and habituations that would have us naively believe we can easily navigate life (and its stories) simply by knowing the content of the life.

Have you noticed the natural inclination toward introspection when you are titling toward misery as opposed to joy? We question our misery, but never question our joy. It’s a paradoxical element of human beings that joy is self-evident but misery is not.

Do you ever wonder why you do not stop for introspection when you are joyful? Why does this feel good? Why do I even think this is good? What do I think this means?

A practice of awareness (quiet mind, meditation, prayer—whatever name you would like to call it) recognizes the differentiating aspects of content and our judgments of “good” and “bad” about the content. Awareness recognizes how little we know about the bad, but even less about the good.   Awareness further distinguishes what you know about the good and the bad has nothing to do with navigation of it.

Our limited awareness of the full spectrum of emotions—the good and the bad—is blockage to good self-care.  All emotions are sacred. We are given all of them as a means to navigate through life. Emotions contain vital life affirming information about the alignment we are in (or not in) with regard to our purpose. All emotions are necessary to create our masterpiece to the fullest expression of our glory.
It simply isn’t true that consulting the jury of thoughts manifesting as your miseries, accusers and rebukers is more helpful to express your art and navigate the content of life. 

Authentic self-care fosters loving, kind, joyful consultations. It breaks the false beliefs that suffering is required to create. Until we practice awareness and learn to harness the full spectrum of emotions, we’ll never know how great an artist we truly are.  

32 comments:

evf said...

Karen,

Very interesting and informative piece. I feel this resonating quite deeply as I sit here in a rare state of mellowed bliss. The weather often directs my attitude toward the day. Today is perfect.

I would like to know a little more what your definition of "self care" is--of course our inner life moves and cares and creates our outer life, the visible life to all around us, are you speaking of the intersection between the two, how our lives, frustrations, inspirations as artists cause us to care for ourselves as a whole, how I spend days writing when I can and running out of the house a jumbled mess with kids in tow? Or are you speaking on a metaphysical level of spirituality without regard to physical appearance?

Either way, I appreciate the sentiments as I attempt to incorporate a more holistic approach to living.

info said...

Hi Evf,

Self Care is a practice of consistently tending the needs to
"Know thy self." You speak of two experiences, Spiritual and the earth school. A Spiritual practice that includes awareness helps us navigate both worlds.

Without a 'space' to observe or witness whatever is occurring we are essentially lost.
Spiritual life is cause, the outer effect.
I need to lean into my practice of self care when the weather is not to my liking. (wink) Years of practice have allowed me to be the eye of the storm-most of the time.

The eye is quiet, undisturbed by the torment and changes outside in the perimeter of the storm.

We can be responsive to the outside without being reactive. I think you alluded to self care so that we were not reactive to the earth school. This is one level of self care. So while there is nothing wrong with a massage (I love them) the benefits of external self care are temporary. Internal self-care is
--well, eternal.

Blessings and thank you for your comments Evf!
Karen

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

I am so pleased with this post, Karen. Thank you so much for sharing with us. This is one I will keep in my library forever.

info said...

Rebecca,
My heart smiles!

Thank you for inviting me.
PS I wish I knew why it says 'info' instead of my name? but you know it's me :-)

Love and Blessings,
Karen

Beth Hoffman said...

Ah, yes ... self-care is something that I have recently embraced, and it has made a huge (positive) impact upon my life -- physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially.

Fantastic post, Karen!

Karen said...

Dear Beth,

Excellent point.
Self Care is central to sustainable financial health!

Thank you for your support.

A tip I offer to experiment with the importance of self care and finances:

When you pay yourself first it is a signal to the Universe that you believe you are worth it. Even if it is a symbolic 1 dollar a day to begin with, make the demonstration you believe in your worth.

(crossing my fingers and hoping my name will now say Karen-not 'info')

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

It says Karen! Goodbye Info!

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