For the lunation beginning with this weekend’s new moon in Taurus, I’ve decided to focus on one theme for us all. Below you’ll find a shared horoscope for The Collective.
But I want to preface this offering with a gentle disclaimer: This is not a call-out or a judgement. I’m not putting anyone (or anything) on blast. I’m not passive-aggressively directing this at anyone in particular. Not you, not myself, not anyone else. This is an observation and an invitation. I welcome you to explore with me if you’re called to do so.
Okay. We good? Let’s do this.
The concept of self care is just about everywhere right now. And while I’m honestly not into the term itself, I both a.) can’t think of a better one, and b.) am pretty into the concept of intentionally caring for our own needs.
Lately I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts online about self care, a growing number of which try to define what it is or isn’t. A common theme I’ve observed centers around the idea that self-care is more than “just taking a bath.”
And while I understand the sentiment, something about this attempt to define and draw boundaries around how we offer ourselves real care doesn’t sit well with me. I’ll admit that I’m biased when it comes to bath time (full-disclosure: the first draft of this was written while in the tub), but my unease goes beyond my bias. Self care may be more than “just” taking a bath, but since when is the act of care “just” anything?
I get it. Baths aren’t usually a productive space. But why does our own care have to be tied back into the ways we are productive? Is it possible that seeing our own self care as a means to being more of anything misses the point?
The bath is where some of us have found solace or healing in our bodies. It might be the only space where we can go to feel safely held by water. It might be where that connection to water allows us to receive our own intuitive wisdom. It might be where we find presence. It might be where we can dream or imagine. It might be where we read or listen to music or scroll through Instagram or watch movies on laptops we’ve propped on overturned laundry baskets. Maybe it’s where absolutely nothing happens at all... And isn’t it beautiful that there’s a place in our lives where nothing can still happen?
Or maybe you hate taking baths. That’s fine. This isn’t about bath time. Not really. But you know that.
This is about seeing the judgement in the “it’s more than just...” statements as more internalized gunk that doesn’t belong to us. It’s those weird, invasive bits of dominant culture that seep right into our own personal narratives and the narratives of the movements that were intended to push back against oppressive beliefs and systems. Hidden under the surface of many of our self care practices are the “If I do this I can be a better mother/activist/artist/friend/employee/elder/whatever.”
Maybe self care has nothing to do with being a better anything. Maybe it’s simply about being here, now, with yourself. The benefits happen anyway, but maybe those other benefits are not the purpose of that self-directed care.
We’re all in this together, and being in a collective means that we get to trust each other to find our own, meaningful care. You don’t owe anyone anything from caring for yourself, and the way you care for yourself might not align with commonly accepted methods.
My point is: Self care doesn’t need to be preparation for more doing.
Self care is not something that requires justification or moral value.
Self care happens or it doesn’t. It doesn’t have to be productive or pretty or shareable. It just needs to be restorative for you if/when it does happen, however that looks. And if it doesn’t happen as often as you think it “should,” self care also exists in the act of not beating yourself up over it.
I invite you to not worry about definitions. I invite each of us to resist creating another space in our lives we get to feel guilty or judgmental about. The beauty of self care is that the benefits naturally flow beyond ourselves, but we each deserve the time even if that wasn’t the case.
Expectations are a barrier to being present because we get stuck thinking about how the thing we’re doing now might pay off later. I’m inviting each of us to ditch the expectations surrounding our own self care. Maybe self care will pay off later. And maybe not. I invite you to consider that maybe future payoff isn’t the point.
I invite you to allow yourself regular, in-the-moment space to exist as you are. This practice might involve:
Taking a bath (duh)
Going for a walk
Drinking a glass of wine and reading a book
Calling a friend
Writing a letter
Seeing your therapist
Staring out the window
Smoking weed and doing yoga
Watching (or rewatching) a show or movie you love
Reading tarot or other divination
Making love with yourself or others
Going for a float or getting a massage
Getting a check-up at the doctor
Having a snack
… Or countless other things. I could go on for hours with examples, but the takeaway is this: Care for yourself because you want to and it feels good, and do it in a way that is truly restorative to you. That may look like what other people do, or it may not. I invite you to indulge your inner-Taurus and allow pleasure guide you.
Until next time,