As human beings, our day-to-day lives involve actions that put us in a variety of circumstances. The instinctive need for preservation stimulates these activities and consequently, determines as it directs us to providing essential attention towards how we should nurture and take care of ourselves. This consciousness on wellbeing and self-care has long been recognized across eras—though articulated in so many ways and viewed through different perspectives. It compels us to search within and know oneself before we take on the task of giving and receiving care. Our beings have been compartmentalized comprising one whole—consisting of our corporeal, spiritual, and mental faculties—yet the tedious but imperative act of self-care is not segregated but rather intertwined. In effect, our concept of wellbeing should seamlessly keep us healthy in mind, body, and soul.
From a philosophical concept to a radical collective action to a mindful session of healing, the more important point of discussion has transitioned—from the literal pampering of oneself as a form of escape to the nurturing of connections and interactions within one’s own community—the path towards true self-care has indeed become multi-action, multi-directional, and multi-scalar.
cover photo source: asweatlife.com
The great Athenian philosopher Socrates has endlessly been quoted for his ideas on the self and for his conviction in declaring that “one’s true self is not to be identified with what we own, with our social status, our reputation, or even with our body”—and to him, “our true self is our soul”. He challenges us to constantly reexamine ourselves guided by the question: “how should I live (and improve) my life?”. This for him is an essential step before we could continue on to practicing self-care when he said that “…once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves, but otherwise we never shall”.
sources: academyofideas.com, mashable.com
One of the significant leaders of the Black Panther Party, Ericka Huggins is an educator, a poet, and a human rights activist who has courageously fought for the emotional and physical wellbeing not only of men and women but equally notable, that of the youth. She is well-known for inspiring action and transformation resulting to impactful social change. Famous for her poetry and other writings, she has greatly chronicled her life in prison and incarceration as associated with her strong voice on issues affecting herself and the community at large—regardless of age, culture, race, or gender. Ericka’s biggest contribution in the field of education was in her development of an innovative curriculum which served those with emotional, cognitive and physical disabilities as well as incarcerated youth. She continues to promote and pursue her causes expanding from mere personal wellbeing to a global movement for social transformation and change.
Well-respected for her essays, Audre Lorde’s book A Burst of Light revolves around the key theme: Self-Care where she redefines this ancient concept attributed to the Greeks and which clearly stated her belief that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. Her reflections mirrored her personal battle against cancer and serves as a continuation of her quest for survival and self-determination—strongly shared and experienced by a majority of the Black women who fight for and struggle with these on a daily basis. More than just a creative form of literature, her writings inspire many to find the connection between introspection—self-realization, reflection, internalization—and its opposite pole which deals with the life beyond oneself. Truly moving, Audre influences and inspires to emulate and exercise her brand of self-care—that which aspires ‘to create a livable future for generations following us’.
Pritzker Prize awardee and Mexican architect Luis Barragán is an emotional architect. His body of work demonstrates his deep reverence for tranquility and self-expression as much as his architecture imbibes the modern and traditional undertones of his time. As an expression of his poetic imagination, he created masterpieces that promote self-care. He considered his house as a refuge—”an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience”. As soulful as his (building and landscape) architecture, Luis Barragán lived a life imbued with his concepts of serenity, intimacy, amazement, silence—blended with inspiration, magic, enchantment, mystery, and beauty. His legacy lives on as evidenced by Casa Luis Barragán—his house and studio which has now become a museum—is testament to his manifesto that “Architecture aren’t just for designing physical environments to be dwellings. It should challenge spaces to transform one’s understanding of self and wellbeing”.
Declaring that “anyone who’s interested in making change in the world, also has to learn how to take care of herself, himself, theirselves”, Angela Davis’ pro-action echoed her call for activists to practice radical self-care. Her progressive view provides activists with a holistic approach which includes “ways of acknowledging and hopefully also moving beyond trauma”—as a technique in self-care. Fighting for her cultural concerns, she recognizes that the Black community has long endured and battled with torture, slavery, and violence but more positively, they have immensely contributed to the celebration of art, music, and beauty. To her, self-care is not merely, literally, and simply taking care of oneself—it in fact, should be acknowledge connections and relations toward reaching collective liberation and freedom as a people.
As a pioneer in the field of crystal healing, Katrina Raphaell is the best-selling author of books that form part of the Crystalline Trilogy: Crystal Healing, Crystal Enlightenment, and Crystal Transmission—her works which revolutionized the concept of crystal therapy over four decades ago. Her trilogy also exposed the fundamental ideas of crystal energy as much as it shared knowledge on how to harness the power of crystals—its aspects of color, light, beauty, and geometry—for the purpose of therapy and the promotion of its awareness. She introduced and created a new modality in the way crystals were used as healing agents. While the tradition of crystal therapy is ancient, the New Age movement advocated the widespread beliefs on the metaphysical properties of stones and minerals in the quest for transformation and healing. As an advanced artform of healing, the role played by crystals as the catalyst to aid us in ‘balancing all aspects of our being’.