Quick stop on the way to Stanford...
October is flying by. Already half way through. I feel like I'm chasing myself. It's a feeling that I know many of you share. How to balance all our responsibilities and still nurture ourselves? It's a question that I find myself asking more often.
October is filled with two major trips, one to the medical center at Stanford. Have I mentioned California is a big state? Stanford is about five hours away from home. During the trip I will meet with my cardiac and neurology teams. A week after Stanford, I will leave for a week long trip back East to DC. The trip is already packed with visits to NIH, my old doctors, meeting business contacts and handling some media. On the trip, I'm trying to sneak in visits to as many friends and family as I can. I never lose weight on these trips, I'm very well fed! I promise a full report on the entire trip, the media opportunities and all the delicious meals in the coming weeks.
Which gets me to the point of this post. Women are so good at taking care of others that we forget that nurturing our-self is the most important job. The consequences can be severe when we don't: mental health issues can arise, in my case my health can take a turn and we can just feel tapped-out, that we have nothing left to offer the beautiful ones we love most.
I have been leading a faith sharing group at my parish and within that group one of the participants teases me that I can't possibly have health struggles because "I'm Radiant". He means that with so much love and support. I'm coming each week to give them the best two hours of my day (or sometimes the best two hours of my week.)
I have explained that they are one of my weekly priorities and they are getting the best of me for that day. After each session, I go home, wash my face, put on pjs and climb into bed. Did I mention its was Noon? I don't pick up the Beauties from school, I don't make dinner, I rest for what's left of the day.
Now here's the critical take away from this choice. My Beauties and Jeff are not getting the best of me on Friday. I have chosen with intention; to freely give my energy, my sparkle and my love to others. Friday is for this group, in return my family get a wife/mother who naps and watches Netflix from bed.
Now some of you will disagree with this choice. Shouldn't my best energy always be for my family first?
In my heart the answer is well... No.
This post isn't just about my health, it is about all of you beautiful working moms who struggle with balance. Sometimes you have to feed yourself first. For me it's getting to run this group, a space where I grow in my faith life, and improve my facilitating skills. It is because of my interactions with others that all of the aspects of my life bloom. This service for others, places the focus away from my health woes. I get to focus on my talents for philosophy/theology and public speaking; I get to work on my gifts and in the process I'm feeding myself.
When I feed myself; and give myself permission to grow and shine; I'm also making myself better for people who love and count on me. Investing in yourself is never selfish as long as you balance all aspects of your life. When my schedule is filled with more choices away from my family. When all of my choices are about me and not considering my family. That is when I'm out of sorts.
You should schedule that cut/color, manicure or dinner with your girlfriends, train for that marathon, attend that conference for professional development. My friend Jess called me to talk about a professional conference she is attending. Jess felt like it would be great for me; she also shared, it was the first time she was attending because it always fell on her youngest daughter's birthday. This year it wasn't, so she was finally able to go. What I love about her friendship is she is unabashed at saying she loves to work, but never at the expense of her family. She gets it! Balance. Choices.
For me or others with chronic health issues, it goes even deeper. I never know how much energy I have till I'm flat on my back, with my body reminding me that it is in fact the one in charge of running this rodeo. That reality adds an extra level of complexity to balancing choices, to make sure that I'm doing what is best for everyone. A sick Kathryn only adds pressure to an already taxed body and it puts undo pressure on Jeffrey and the Beauties. So when it's ever avoidable, I'm not going to put my body to work when it needs rest. But, often it is impossible to know ahead of time, where that limit line is...
So we make the best choices we can each day on how we spread our radiance, hoping we shine enough for the ones we love, before the tank runs dry. Some days we choose well. Some days we may fail. Each day is a new day to get it right.
Radiance is the sun-shining out of you. It's your ability to share your love, your talents, your truth with not only your family but the world. The world never has too much radiance, too much joy or too many beacons of light.
So as my friend Satnam says, "Keep shining brightly."
Namaste my fellow Pilgrims.
The Divine in me is honored to bow to the Divine in you. Always...
Photo Credit: PilgrimageGal
Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on
or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence...and I'm always glad to meet another traveler. xo