I believe learning to love is a work in progress. I am also learning that in order to really love I have to love myself first. In the past few months I have spent a lot of time in solitude and it is amazing, but it can also get lonely. However, during this time I have been learning about myself. That is something I never did. I am learning what works for me and what gives me the most peace and fulfillment. I have realized that taking time to just care for myself first will also help me to find joy in what needs to be done. Whether that be exercising, doing loads of laundry, ironing, caring for my pets, paying bills, grocery shopping, helping my daughter with her school work or cooking good meals, etc… I think sometimes when life is beating us down we have to step away and recharge and however we do that is up to us. I have talked to so many people that are worn out and they say they don’t have time to practice a lot of self-care. They work too much, eat on the run, and just live too busy while they aren’t really living. I specifically spoke with someone last week about this. She just bought a huge farm and is continually buying horses to care for yet doesn’t take time to care for herself like she needs to. I actually think she gets envious of people who do take/make time to do that. I don’t understand why people try to have more and bigger and better and make themselves slaves to it. Time is passing them by and they live joyless, stressful lives. People choose how they spend their time. They choose to put themselves on the back burner and the results of that is fruitless living. I believe now more than ever that we choose what we do, what we allow to consume us, who we spend our time with/who we care enough about to spend time with, how much we work, how big our house is, how many bills we have, etc.. So many people are quick to give any excuse about anything, but in reality we don’t have to. We can choose differently. We are creatures of habit and we get comfortable with routine, habits, lifestyles, relationships that aren’t good for us, even our own pain, the past, etc….I am so thankful for where I am today and how I am learning the power of choice. When you realize you have an Inner Guide and you slow down long enough to listen you can rid your life of things that are killing your Spirit. You can find balance and renewed strength and energy. You can actually “feel” again and be in tune to what is happening around you and how you should respond to things. You will feel compelled to reach out and make a difference however your talents will lead you. I love to encourage people (especially my family), I love to cook, bake, and send cards to people just out of the blue, I love to write inspirational poetry and express myself through writing, etc..Nothing gives me more joy than to practice self-care and then extend that care to others. I am a work in progress and it is exciting to know there’s something bigger than myself that is helping me be all that I can be one step at a time/one day at a time. I really believe that is how we need to love…to love ourselves first and then others. Some people may say that sounds selfish, but if God is love and He lives in me with His Spirit then me loving myself first is in actuality loving Him first. Life gets a whole new meaning when you practice self-care. Here are a few examples: take a walk (alone), pet a cat, read a good book in quiet, take a relaxing bath, get a pedicure (you deserve it) just do it!!, color/paint, go to the library, look at a mountain, turn off electronic devices/unplug, listen to the rain, breathe, just rest your whole being. There are many more things to do to nourish our souls/practice self-care, but it’s up to us to take the initiative. I am not perfect in this either I am learning, but I have found I am at my very best when I have put myself first. I am a work in progress and so is love.