Laura, my dear soul sister and the coordinator of this blog emailed me asking if I would contribute to the diversity of voices responding to the prompt, “When we act as the Divine Feminine.” Specifically, she asked me to speak to the statement, “When we act as the Divine Feminine we take care of ourselves.” Before I could even gather my thoughts about how I would meaningfully share my experience around the basic need of taking care of oneself, a quote following Laura’s email signature block caught my attention:
“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
This quote from Parker Palmer encapsulates the intense and unyielding lesson I have learned (and keep learning) from living with a chronic illness for the past 7 years. For me, self-care is not a luxury or something I try to fit in when my schedule allows. Taking care of myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally is imperative if I want to have any quality of life at all.
I am naturally a giver, a rescuer. My friend Rachel and I joke that I came into this world with too many empathy receptors. I can feel the heartbeat of the world without effort. As my Hebrew name Khaya points to, I am a lover of life. For most of my life these innate qualities and their expression in the world lacked discernment. They took over and while doing great good for those around me and my community, they took a tremendous toll on me and helped prepare the ground for illness.
When we act as the Divine Feminine we take care of ourselves. Parker Palmer’s message and my lived experience of it, is the foundation for living out my calling and of just pure beingness. It is elementary, basic, a “no-brainer.” But, we live in a culture that tends not to support self-care and “good stewardship” of ourselves. I now know that I act as the Divine Feminine when I consciously decide not to be a victim of the prevailing cultural norms of self-deprecation, non-reciprocal relationships, and confusing mindless entertainment with my body and spirit’s need to be nourished.
When we act as the Divine Feminine we take care of ourselves. By inviting the Divine Feminine into our lives in this way we also allow others the space and inspiration to do the same in their lives. We help shift the energy from taxing and depleting to nourishing and healing. Parker Palmer’s message reminded me of a poem I found in a Jewish High Holiday prayer book when I was in my late teens. The short poem read something like, “God gave me the gift of life. What is my gift back to God?” My answer: radical self-care and stewardship of my gifted life.