Look in your pantry or food cabinet. If you are not close to yours, visualize it. Look past the rice and pasta sauce and cereal. Move over the peanut butter and can of beans. Look in the waaaay back corner. There it is.
A cute little mason jar sealed with some blue or red gingham patterned fabric screwed on with the lid. It’s filled with some delicious jam from grandma or your neighbor or the farmers market, made with love out of homegrown fruit like blackberries or plums or apricots.
You know that it’s delicious and you love that it came from someone nice, and once it’s gone, it’s gone! And so it sits there. Hibernating in the back of the pantry, waiting to be united with a lovely piece of toast, while the lesser jams from the big box supermarket gets all of the attention. Poor, poor fancy jam.
So what does this have to do with self-care, you may ask? Well, let me answer your question with some more questions.
How often do you feel like you are enjoying life in the present moment? That you appreciate how well your body is functioning or looking right now? That you are savoring each year and each phase of life?
It is SO easy to get caught up with all of the things wrong with our bodies. While I do stand on my soapbox about tuning into what your body needs, we also need to be tuning in to what we can already do. With most of our ailments and chronic pain, we can still do A LOT and could probably be having a lot more fun with how healthy we actually are.
With my clients, I use massage to take their bodies through various stretches along with focused muscle work. When stretched therapeutically, my clients are amazed at how flexible they actually are and how much better they feel when those limits are tested.
Lately, I’ve been upping my yoga practice and testing some of my limits with some more advanced poses. I hardly ever do this. For me, my personal yoga practice is pretty chill. But I’ve been having a lot of fun with seeing how strong I really am. It’s empowering and motivates me to keep challenging myself.
The days we have to be fit and active, even though there are varying levels of what that looks like based on what phase of life we are in, should be savored and enjoyed.
Use your body up. Eat the fancy jam! Don’t keep it stuffed up in a pantry where its deliciousness and glory are only dreamed of.
I know that we all have different issues and limitations and stories around those issues and limitations, but I invite you to tell a different story. Take care of yourself. Tune in regularly to what you need.
And then go! Jump in! (As demonstrated above by my friends and me this weekend at the lake.) Take advantage of the hard work that you do to take care of yourself.
And when the jam is gone, make some more, buy another jar, or try a new flavor. There is always more. Or as the old saying goes, “There is always more jam in the pantry.” Ok, I just made that up. But I think I’m going to make it a thing. Feel free to use it.
I realize that this is a silly metaphor. But I hope it helps articulate what I mean. As you work towards your self-improvement goals, like healing chronic pain or improving your physical condition, don’t forget to acknowledge and love and savor what you have going on. Use it up while you can and use self-care to keep you in check. There is always more jam in the pantry.