Taking care of ourselves is not the same as only caring about ourselves.
By starting every day doing something for ourselves, creating something from within ourselves, we can give freely of ourselves for the remainder of the day without regret. Approaching our day like this, front-loading it with time to meditate, time to move, and time to do creative work is not selfishness. In fact, it is anti-selfishness.
If we want to live lives of service, whether to our families or our communities, setting time aside each day for self-care and creative work is absolutely necessary. We can not be our best selves for others if we do not take care of ourselves first. This means taking care of our minds, bodies, and spirits in order to be effective vessels of kindness and change.
There are only so many hours in the day and, so long as we are sincere and willing, the hours do not discriminate. By starting the day with mindfulness, with a movement practice, and with creative expression, however, we guarantee that these things do not get swept aside by our other priorities as the day goes on. If we wait until later to take care of ourselves, later may never come.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.
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