The warmth of the sun mixed with the cool morning air awakened my senses. With each stroke, I felt drops of salt water cooling my already warming skin. The bay was calm, now, and the breeze was at our backs allowing for a fairly easy cruise across to the cove. The cove water was calm and calming with egrets, osprey and red-winged black birds flitting about or hanging out near their nests. The birds were very often the lone of it’s type near the nest, with the mate or other birds not far away. They seemed to all live together easily, not bothering each other. They didn’t interfere in each other’s rituals, go anywhere near their nest and seemed almost cordial to other, or in deference at times. They aren’t natural predators of each other so their instincts seemed to say, “we can live together in this cove, accepting each other and not forcing our ways onto each other.” That stuck with me.

There were times of chatter among the three of us, and times when we were each alone with our own thoughts, feelings, observations, etc. There were times when my thoughts were deep, trying to get clearer on things that are bothering me. There were times when the only thought I had was about the bird flying overhead, or the next stroke of the oar and how much power I needed or wanted it to have. Being in the moment, the quiet and the stillness of the morning, allows for much thinking, observing, clarifying.

There were many other things for me to attend to that going out for a couple of hour kayak trip was a true luxury. There are some people who I would venture would have forgone the morning to run errands, complete some of the work that is needed to get done or even spend the morning weeding the vegetable garden since if feels as if they grow back in a day! Get some of the stuff done that may be weighing on shoulders. I knew I needed to care for me and not worry about all the other stuff, knowing in my heart it will all get done.

Self-care. This morning was about self-care. The sun, the salt, the exercise, the company, all good for my soul, my heart, my body and yes, my mind. A morning like this allows me to almost “check in” with each part of me (soul, heart, body and mind) and work to align it more.

There is nothing better for my soul than time with a girlfriend. And there I was kayaking with one of my very best friends. It allows for sharing, laughing, and helping each other. It allows for shared experiences, and teaching each other. I learned that the bird really is called the Red-winged Black bird. And it is beautiful!

The sheer movement of kayaking is great exercise. My entire body gets a workout, using my legs, arms, core, back to cut through the windswept waves as we crossed the bay to get back. The wind had picked up, the boat traffic as well so the water was choppy, with a lot of rocking and rolling going on! Once sitting in the car, I could feel how my muscles were used, a great way to start a day.

Being in the great expanse of the water, under a beautiful blue sky and bright sun with very little to distract you really opens my heart. I could feel it fill with love and appreciation for the great outdoors. I could feel it hurt and break a little as I thought about a situation. I could feel it move into fight or flight for a few minutes as the waves grew and the wind hit me in the face heading back. My heart was full with love for the friends I was with, the opportunity to spend a morning like this and the sheer beauty of nature.

My mind began as muddled mess, with a number of thoughts around a few situations haunting me and taking up too much space and time in my life. As I meandered alone through some of the corners of the cove I began to find some clarity and ways for me to move forward. I spent some time having a conversation in my head that helped me to sort out some feelings, some reactions and some actions.

As I got into my car to head home a few hours later, I smiled. I felt love for me, for the strength of the water, for the warmth of the sun, and the time with my friend. This is self care for me. This is self love for me. This was what I needed for a few hours to really be able to move ahead and give to others.

Whatever, at the moment, is your go to for self care and self love, do it. The energy you will feel afterward is so worth it, as are you!



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