Hello from the glorious Gulf Islands that are kinda heaven on earth?  Days are spent being languid and lazy with lots of beach walks and big lunches, puttering around in the boat, good book reading, forest exploring, and capping it off snuggled in bed at the geriatric hour of 9pm. I am my own big damn hero.

Besides being lucky as hell to have family that lives here, this sweet stint of secluded nature was much, much needed.  There’s this little stress trap I tend to get caught up in, if I’m not careful, where I find myself spending far too much time thinking on the Things That Don’t Really Matter.  The dumb work stuff I don’t have control over, the endless to-do list, the keeping up and the keeping on of all of the superficial things that are sometimes necessary but mostly not because really will I remember any of it when I’m 90?

Also:  this business I’m in has a real cute knack for soul-sucking, what with the whole uncertainty of it all, coupled with the daily ego stabbing that comes with all of the “No”s.  It’s the nature of the beast, and after 30+ years I’m used to it (ish), but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t succeed at wearing me down fairly often.  And the sheer exhaustion of willing myself to keep at it in addition to living with a three year old who likes to wake me up in the middle of the GD night for no apparent reason has me feeling a tick heightened. We all get entrenched in our own self-doubt so easily, trapped in the piling up of tasks, working towards a break that doesn’t come and doesn’t get prioritized.  And so I’ve recently made a vow to stop the madness and get back into the habit of frequent self-care.

You’ve heard of self-care, right?  That thing we’re supposed to do to keep our stress levels in check and soak up some joy?  It’s important. I mean, really important. So I’m a devout believer that in the midst of all of that scheduling should be a firm and non-negotiable slot where we take care of ourselves, however we see fit.

I don’t know what that looks like for you, but for me, it means ignoring my to-do list for a day (that includes exercise, which is always on my list and sort of part of my job, and although it’s good for me, I hate it and it is NOT THE SELF CARE I’M TALKING ABOUT, OK?).  Sometimes it’s a massage or a wander through the mall ALONE where I’m forbidden from buying anything for my kid.  Maybe it’s just a really long nap which I have literally paid to do by hiring childcare and holy man is that the best money ever spent.  And when I’m feeling really fed up at the world, it might sound a little woo-woo, but a quiet forest walk is the perfect way to remind myself of that whole tiny person on a spinning globe in space thing.  Because really, all of these daily stresses and grievances aren’t all that integral to the long run, but whether we’re healthy and happy IS.  Sure, pay your bills, keep your house from turning into a cesspool, make sure your kids are alive etc.  But applying worry and stress to the accomplishing of those things isn’t entirely necessary, right?  All of this worry is eating us all up alive and what a drag to waste so much precious time on it.  What’s that thing they say about worry? “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff”?  Yeah. That.

I know I usually include a recipe in these posts, because I sure do love to feed ya.  But here’s hoping I can feed you a different way this time by offering up some famously good reads I devour regularly that help me get out of my own way, and my own head.  To me, these are the kinds of books I have to mark and underline so I can go back and reread my favourite parts whenever I need to.  All of them help in replenishing the spirit and warming up the heart when it needs it.  And if you have recommendations of your own, please send them my way!  I always need a book to read while I’m ignoring my to-do list.

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle 

Full of amazing tricks to find your center, live in the now, and stop worrying about everything else.  I LOVE THIS BOOK.  He’s also just been a part of a ten part series of episodes on the Super Soul Sundays podcast highlighting each chapter of the book for a more in-depth understanding of the material.

The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

This is an oldie but a goodie all about discovering your own power. Inspiring, full of enlightening ways of thinking about our life and our interactions with the people in it.

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

So many beautiful and unique ways of looking at our experiences, at the pain from our past, and at learning how to love in a more whole and fulfilling way.  Marianne is just one of the best spiritual teachers maybe ever?

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

A necessary read for anybody who labels themselves a perfectionist (hi.) or spends way too much time caring about what other people think.  Plus, Brene is just awesome: honest, passionate, a bit brash, and really authentically herself.

A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi

A more spiritual way of looking at attracting abundance and wealth through the lens of quantum physics. Anytime I come across anyone with a negative relationship with money, I recommend this book, because I’ve been there, and it’s a game-changer.  I mean, its mantra is reason enough to read it: I am Wealth, I am Abundance, I am Joy!

Happy relaxing.


16 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark Novak says:

    YES. That’s it. Just YES.

  2. Eric says:

    I’ve read and re-read Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” more times than I can count. It’s foremost a “writing help” book but it has a lot to say about getting through life in general, and the reminder that no one, really, knows what they’re doing. Good stuff! Good to see another post from ya.

  3. P D Stewart says:

    Thank you for this Jewel.

  4. VERY NICE!!!! Glad to hear from you over here again.. it seems like it’s been such a long time, which makes it even more awesome… Glad life is moving well for you… Yep.. the Kid changes your life, no doubt, but don’t you just love him!!! <: -) Mine are all growed up… My youngest came to visit me a couple of weeks back.. HE's going to be 30… Yeah, now I feel old.. You keep taking care of yourself sweetie.. we'll be here… and don't sweet the recipe… It's really you we want to devour… You bring joy that you do not know, just by being in the world. Be safe… Enjoy your little man, he's going to grow up faster than you can imagine… and I'll be here to love hearing about ever second of it.. Browncoats Untie! or something.. Keep it Shiny


    The Gray Wizard
    (aka: Matthew Romero)

  5. ‘…a firm and non-negotiable slot where we take care of ourselves, however we see fit….’. There’s about a 2ish hour slot of that almost every weekday evening but try as I might, that slot is sadly all too negotiable is seems (yeah ‘adulting’ sucks) and hell, we don’t even have kids!

    Great photo btw!

  6. Michele says:

    PREACH IT, sister!!!!!!

  7. Torie says:

    ‘A Circle of Quiet’ by Madeline L’Engle (first of the Crosswicks Journals)
    ‘A Gift from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    These are the two that pop into my head right away. They are older yet they are in their own small ways, profound , comforting and uplifting.

  8. Tara Seguin says:

    Gulf Island high five! Forest walks are the best.

  9. Donna Gibson says:

    I stumbled across some lectures on YouTube by Andy Stanley. He does it with a religious bent as he’s a minister, but I was able to pick out some really great advice about priorities and making sure I’m ok so I’m whole before trying to help anyone or anything else

  10. Emily says:

    Thank you for this post. It came at the exact time I need to hear it. I am a teacher, a mother of a 7 and 4 year old, and back in grad school….and I’m tired, stressed, and have reached my limit. I am trying to absorb what you are saying, knowing I will go back to my list and stress in a few short minutes…but I have been reminded to at least try some self-care!

  11. Guy Tucker says:

    Anything by John Kabat Zinn. His work has done much to center my thinking.

  12. Charles says:

    Jewel, I have been watching your career for years now and reading almost every thing you have posted on twitter and other social media… don’t take this the wrong way.. I have watched you grow up… And yes I am that old.. uggg. I see that you have a self imposed feverish life that most of us have; and seem to have a gasp on what you refer to as “Self-Care” As a mother you put yourself last.. almost all mothers do. Your child, your family..
    your career, then you… a better order would be. Your Child, yourself, then your family and last career. Yes easier said than done.. Thanks for the list of books.. as I am far from having the right order myself.

  13. John says:

    Read this in River Tam’s voice: She was a Jewel inside, but she forgot who she was. Little soul, got lost in motherhood and business… went for a walk in the woods. She saw the trees and breathed in the air. Then she remembered she was a shiny Jewel.

  14. Katie Hendrickson says:

    This was a really great piece, thank you for writing it, and for the book recommendations. =)

    And on that note, although not technically self-care-related, if you’ve never read anything by Tamora Pierce, you should definitely do so! Her books are thrilling, deep, inspiring, and thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve read nearly all 28(?) of them once, and about half of them twice.

    Have a great day!

  15. Shan Fannin says:

    It is so easy to care for others but ourselves. Only just this year have I decided to be a true friend to myself. I’ve raised a family, cared for ill relatives & husband, homeschooled for 16yrs, etc. This year is about healthier eating, exercise, skin/hair care, stopping negative inner thoughts, and being super dedicated to my new career as a fine artist. I’ll be 50yo in May, and I finally get it. To be happy and truly help others, we need to nurture ourselves. In order to fully give our love, encouragement, and strength to others, we need to fill up our mind/spirit with self care. I finally get it. Sure took me long enough 😉

  16. Lisa says:

    I have to throw We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere out there because as a moms and a woman… it hits home. I bought it because I was curious as to what it might say, but upon reading was blown away. (This is rare for me.)

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