In this extract from our Autumn 2018 issue, the acclaimed wellness coach Alison Canavan shares her advice on the true importance of self-care. She says, “when we show up, wake up, give back and make a difference, it accelerates our collective healing.”
The Care Behind Self-Care
Showing up for ourselves and our planet
by Alison Canavan
The conversation around self-care has been lengthy. At times, you would be forgiven for feeling like it has tipped over into narcissism. As human beings, the ego tends to take over sometimes and this can lead to an inflated sense of self. However, showing up for yourself in an authentic way means becoming aware that with our world the way it is at the moment, we simply don’t have time for everyone to work through all their problems fully before showing up for each other and the planet.
We live in a world of instant gratification and social media fame, leading us to think that there’s no point in doing anything that might matter unless it’s on a grand scale. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, when we show up, wake up, give back and make a difference, it accelerates our collective healing, and that is certainly something this world needs right now. Let me put it like this: if you work on your own self-improvement and you are a little bit less messed up than you were yesterday, and your friend does the same, and she’s a little bit less messed up, and then your neighbour does the same, all of these little bits help to raise the collective consciousness as a whole.
So just what does it mean when I say ‘showing up for yourself’? Very simply, it means doing the work and facing the parts of yourself you would rather ignore. This can be done through meditation, mindfulness techniques, journaling or any other way that helps you to dig deep, feel and, in turn, heal. For generations in Ireland, we have lifted the rug and swept our problems underneath, hoping that no one would ever lift that rug and release them. What we fail to understand is that we pass those unhealed traumas onto the next generation and the generation after that.
I believe we are living in traumatised times and the planet as a whole is pretty traumatised. However, I have great hope in humanity. If we truly want to feel at peace in this world, we need to go within and work from there. We can certainly get temporary reprieve from numbing ourselves when we feel uncomfortable with things like alcohol, drugs, medication, shopping, gambling and our phones, to name a few. But these temporary fixes keep us stuck as an individual and as a collective. Maybe we are feeling uncomfortable because we know the world is suffering and needs action?
We need to stop waiting for someone else to reclaim our communities. We need to reconnect with people in real life, not just on social media. When we do the work, we become more conscious and aware of waste too. Our oceans are at risk as a result of our instant gratification lifestyle. Slowing down, which is essential for human beings, enables us to live more in the present, making better choices each day like carrying reusable coffee cups, shopping bags and water bottles with us.
Remember that the world was never changed by the masses, but by the few who decided to wake up and make their lives matter. Could you be one of those people too?