Look at this guy! He’s almost nine months and rearing to go, having decided to skip crawling and go straight to walking (still with our guidance, for now).
He’s also been so fussy this past week. He’s cutting his top two teeth and has some upper respiratory sickness and we took him away on retreat with us this weekend.
Seeing life through his vulnerable perspective reminds me how difficult transitions are for us all. It brings up many messy emotions and often, literal pain.
In our culture, we are so adverse to vulnerability. I cry listening to the news that our government is taking children away from their parents because...we need to teach them a lesson?
The people who are making decisions have built a wall between themselves and their own tenderness. The result is that they can’t grow internally and instead, feel compelled to dominate externally, particularly abusing those who are more vulnerable than them. It’s sickening to me, and then, so hard to see how I do it too in subtle ways.
This is where this self-care work comes into the bigger picture. If we can’t honor the tender, messy parts of ourselves as necessary and valuable, then there is no way we can treat the vulnerability outside of us with anything but contempt.
When we watch the news and feel powerless to make a change in the world, let’s try looking inside. Care for the broken, messy parts of yourself. See what it opens up. See how much more compassion and capacity you have to help others from this place.
Self-care is not self-indulgent. It’s not naval-gazing. It’s necessary and it’s hard work. Let’s do it together. Let’s start today.