I do love a Girls Day Out, especially when it involves chocolate and jazz.
Thanks to the generosity of my friend Sue who gave us tickets, my friends Ann, Shirley and I got to go to the Like Chocolate for Women event in Warwick, Queensland this weekend.
As part of the Jumpers and Jazz festivities, it provided a much-needed respite from our hectic daily lives, and reminded us of the importance, nay, the necessity of taking care of ourselves.
Held at the beautiful Warwick Town Hall, Like Chocolate for Women started off with fabulous jazz music, first a jolly group of locals outside, jamming their hearts out, later a female vocalist wowed us with her gorgeous voice and made us swear we were at a Parisian nightclub instead of a small town in Australia.
We were seated at chocolate themed tables – ours was Cadburys – and at each of our seats was a ribbon bound box filled with delectable chocolate cupcakes, cookies, truffles, and fudge. We sipped strong cups of tea and coffee while we listened to the music, feeling the anxieties of our myriad responsibilities melt away.
Speaker Kim Morrison spoke with hilarity, honesty and intuition, focusing on this one belief:
“Self-care is not selfish – It’s essential!”
Her words were not new, but somehow they came at the right time for me and, based on the responses of those around me, for many other women as well.
She focused on our willingness to lose ourselves in the care of others, forgetting to care for our own bodies, emotions, and goals.
She listed the things that are essential for good health: gratefulness, exercise, healthy eating, solid rest, good relationships. We KNOW these things, but somehow we don’t make them a priority.
We’ll walk two miles to help a child in trouble, but we can’t find time to walk two miles to keep ourselves fit and healthy.
We’d spend two hours a night making healthy lunches for our partners, children, and friends, but content ourselves with quick fast food or ready made meals for ourselves.
We’d devote a whole weekend to attending sporting events or business functions for various family members, but can’t find time for coffee and a good visit with a trusted friend.
Again, we KNOW these things. But does that keep us from living schedules and lifestyles that leave us frazzled and stressed and sick and overweight and unhappy?
It really hit home for me when Kim explained gently that how we live our lives is a shining example to the kids in our lives of what it’s like to be an adult.
Would I ever want my friends little girls or boys to feel like they don’t matter? That their goals and hopes are secondary to others? That they aren’t worthy of good health, thriving relationships, and a fulfilling life?
Never. Ever. Ever.
I know I’m probably rambling here, but that short talk yesterday really, really impacted me.
What I loved most about it is that the goal of self-care is NOT to put down anyone else. No way. The goal of self-care is for us to thrive as human beings so that we can celebrate and support the lives of the people dear to us in a strong, healthy and loving way.
I love that. That’s the sort of person I want to be.
My friend Ann and I drove home under a glorious sky, feeling rather thoughtful and emotional after all we’d heard. It was like Kim had given us permission to look our lives square in the face and see them for what they are, no apologies, no fears, no guilt, just reality. As she said, “Sometimes you need an upper cut.”
We got one.
Today I feel quiet in my spirit. Looking around my house, the farm, my little world with new eyes. I’ve been in survival mode for so long that in some senses, I’ve forgotten how to live. REALLY live. I’m changing that now.
I leave you with this beautiful snippet from the Brave Girls Club that meant so much to me this week:
“Somehow it happens that we isolate ourselves over time,
stuck in a mode of survival,
and forgetting that there’s anything else to think about beyond how to get through the next day….
or even the next few minutes.
Life is not meant for that kind of living,
even though there are stages of life that can stretch for a long time living this way.
Try to reach out today.
Call a friend and be really honest about where you are.
Try something new….a new skill, a new recipe, a new route to the same old places….
this will help you get unstuck and begin to build a live that is about
THRIVING and ENJOYING
rather than surviving and enduring.
You are SO STRONG and you are so great at surviving and enduring, friend……
but everyone who loves you wants more for you than that.
YOUR SOUL wants more than that too…..you know that, right?
You can do this….
there are so many smiles and laughs and new friendships and new adventures ahead for you.
Your best years have not even been lived yet…
you have so much to look forward to.
Decide to LIVE BIG!
You are so very loved.”