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Refill Before You're Empty

Originally written August 18, 2021

This Summer I have been engrossed in an amazing book called Cultural Emergence by Looby McNamara in which the author breaks down the recipe for radical transformation into three phases: Challenge & Awaken, Move & Invigorate, and Nourish & Empower.

These three phases are equally important, but during our brief time together, I would like to extoll the often underestimated virtues of the Nourish & Empower phase in which we offer ourselves practices that allow us to rest, receive, and restore.

In the United States, our culture heavily emphasizes the Move & Invigorate phase which implores us to go!, do!, hustle!, achieve!, work hard, play hard, and be productive which is totally great when balanced by the other two phases, but as this is rarely the case, we burn hot and flare out, resting because we are forced to by injury, illness, or exhaustion.

But consider this:

You can rest before you are tired.

A transformative and regenerative approach to well-being is to regularly integrate nourishing care practices to fuel the life you want to live and love, rather than using them as emergency patches when you feel overwhelmed, wounded, or depleted.

Self-care is a vital part of a sustainable lifestyle. When we offer ourselves more care, the more self-sufficient we can become, relying less on the surplus energy of others and becoming generators for ourselves and our communities. Additionally, when you choose to offer yourself nourishment, you are modeling this behavior for others, making your choice regenerative beyond the boundaries of your own body.

Simply put: when we all do better, we all do better.

It must be acknowledged that the self-care conversation that is so ubiquitous now was started by queer Black feminists like Audre Lorde as an act of radical resistance and a means of survival.

When it comes to creating the changes you want to see in the world, the most effective place to start is with your Self ( "Be the change you want to see in the world," right?). If you want to live in a world where people care for themselves so they are rested and resourced abundantly enough to care for other people and the more-than-human world, consider starting with yourself. If you dream of a world free from systems of harm and oppression and rich in cultures of collective care and wisdom, tend to your own Nourishment & Empowerment.

For whoever needs to hear this:

You do not need to earn the right to be treated well.

You do not need to suffer to be worthy of care.

You are enough, you are worthy, and you always have been.

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