As you all know, I’m a big proponent of soulcare. Our culture rushes us around, demands that we consumeconsumeconsume, and then burns us out. In the midst of that we struggle to give ourselves adequate soulcare. To eat well. To do yoga. To hire a therapist, or a life coach, or a Reiki practitioner. All of this is important, and as a care-provider, I value those things.
And somehow…it’s not enough.
When my children were infants and toddlers, motherhood didn’t come easy to me. I struggled. And P.S. I had a chronic migraines. All the save-the-world energy of my youth seemed to dry up. It was all I could do to keep my head above water. I started offering soulcare at Magpie Girl because I need soulcare. As a former mentor of mine used to say “You only preach the sermons you need to hear.”
Now that the kids are older (10, 12) and my migraines are in remission (huzzah!) I’m feel a new sermon comin’ on. It’s called “Where Soulcare and Worldcare Meet.” I was ruminating on it when my fellow-coach, Jen Louden wrote this here:
“For a long time, I’ve been part of a sub-culture that believes if you raise your consciousness and do good stuff like buy quinoa in bulk and shine light to others during hard times, that will be enough to change the world.
I say that’s crucial, that’s glorious,
and that’s not enough”.
To this I say “Amen.”
We are enough. and We can offer more.
We have to take care of yourselves. and We must work for the behalf of others.
We struggle. and We are abundantly blessed.
“Where soulcare and worldcare meet.” I’m not sure what this turn of phrase will mean for my work, or my world. But I know it has captured my heart. To that end I’m turning to other wise souls — women I trust and who are asking the same sort of questions. This week Heather Plett of Sophia Leadership steps Behind the Mic to talk about where she finds guidance to balance soulcare and worldcare in her life. Heather, step right up…
Where Soulcare and Worldcare Meet
with Heather Plett
Q: We all want and need to take care of ourselves. And we can all see the needs of the larger world around us. What are your tips for making space for both soulcare and worldcare in our lives?
I was at “the top of my game” in the Fall of 2000. I had risen through the ranks in my career to a director position in the federal government. I had a young and talented team working for me and we had just entered the busiest time of the year. I was thriving on the demands of a busy, productive life.
I was looking after everyone’s else’s needs, and I was doing it well. Not only did I have a team looking to me for direction, but I had two small children and was pregnant with our third. I knew that I was needed and it felt good. I was a master in worldcare. The fact that I was nearing burnout barely registered as I competently juggled all the balls I had to keep in the air.
Suddenly, though, a routine ultrasound showed problems with my pregnancy and my world (and worldcare) came to a grounding halt. After failed surgery, I landed in a hospital bed and was told “If you want this baby to survive, you will move as little as possible for the next few months.”
That was not good news. How could my daughters survive without Mom in the house? How could my team make it through the most hectic season of the year without their leader?
For the first few days, I fought to stay in control. I tried to manage my team from my hospital bed, and gave direction about what should happen for my daughters in my absence. I wasn’t ready to let go.
Gradually, though, I had to let control slip from my fingers. My mom took my daughters to the farm where they thrived under her nurturing, my team rallied and started making decisions without me, stuff got done, and life moved on.
For me, though, stuck in that hospital bed, it felt like some giant hand had reached down into my life and hit the pause button. I could do none of the things I was so competent at, and I was left with only two choices. I could resist it and sit there in misery, or accept it and find the value in a break from my life.
I chose the latter – for my baby’s sake and for my own. Gradually, I turned that hospital room into my own personal retreat centre. I hung cards and my daughters’ artwork on the wall, I borrowed a friend’s stereo and listened to peaceful music, I invited a massage therapist friend in to give me a massage, I wrote endlessly in my journal, and I spent long hours in rejuvenating conversations with dear friends and family.
As I look back on it now, that three week period in the hospital was one of the most transformative times of my life. My spirituality deepened, I learned what it meant to approach live with greater mindfulness, I deepened my relationship with my husband, friends, and family, and I began a rather faltering meditation practice. Though I had no idea how much I needed it, retreating from my life quite possibly saved my life.
When my son Matthew died, at the end of those three weeks, I was spiritually prepared to let him go. It was excruciatingly painful, but I was at peace. His short life inside my womb had transformed me in such profound ways, I couldn’t imagine how he could have impacted me more had he lived.
Now, ten years later, my son continues to serve as my spiritual director. I’ve gotten much better at realizing when I need to step away from worldcare to focus on soulcare, and when that need arises, one of my first destinations is to Matthew’s grave. I retreat once again from the world, I sit in silence in the graveyard, and I invite the Sacred to replenish my soul.
When I emerge from my retreat – whether it’s the same day or a week later – I am once again ready to offer whatever acts of service the world requires of me.
How do you balance soulcare and worldcare? Does one feed the other in your life? How have you made room for both? We’d love to hear your comments, because “there ain’t nowhere to go but together.”
Heather Plett is a writer, speaker, and leadership consultant. She can be found at here . Lately, she has been exploring the question “what could happen for the world if we all learned to trust our feminine wisdom more?” She blogs on this subject at Sophia Leadership, and will soon be releasing a unique e-book in which she has invited people from all over the world to explore the question with her.
To read all Magpie Girl’s interviews in the Behind the Mic series, click here. Thanks for being here today.