Gabrielle Elise Jimenez
Every morning I pull a different card from one of my many random boxes of Goddess, Fairy, Shaman, Healer, Angel, or Star Child cards. I don’t set an intention or ask a question prior to choosing a card, I simply accept whichever one I end up with.
Back when I was very young, I read my horoscope daily and followed it as though it was speaking directly to me, somehow knowing what lay ahead. I have always been one to follow some sign that spoke to me, inspired me, guided me, or validated my thoughts and feelings. In my most difficult of times, which I had many, it was these daily readings that provided me with direction, motivating me to move forward with hope and positivity that things would turn around.
Today’s reading said, “sit in quiet reflection.”
Quiet Reflection: “It is taking a moment to look back and think about your experience of the day and be curious about how you feel and think. Taking a moment like this might reveal greater awareness of feelings, of longings, or possibly even appreciation.”
As I read this, I realized that I do this daily, and it is also a part of my self-care ritual.
I wasn’t always consistent with self-care, which backfired on me. Working in end-of-life care, watching so many people say goodbye to people they love and adding the difficulties associated with working during COVID, took its toll on me. Rather than honoring my body, I instead crawled under the blankets every night after work, hiding until I had to get up and do it all over again the next day. My energy was low, I became more emotional than usual, and I didn’t want to see anyone or do anything.
Not caring for myself created doubt in my head about my ability to continue doing this work. I wondered if perhaps I had finally reached that point where I was unable to give my heart the way I had before, and no longer offer the kind of support patients and families need and deserve during the most difficult time of their lives. I doubted myself and I did not like it.
I remember very well, the day I realized I needed to change my attitude, my way of being and the way I cared for myself. I had gone to see a patient in a facility where we had several other patients. As I started to walk in the door, one of the nurses I work with, walked out. We started to talk, and she admitted to me how hard it has been for her to work during COVID. She admitted that her heart felt like it was running out of space. I told her I knew exactly how she felt, and we cried together… and we hugged (yes, we hugged during COVID… it was a necessity!!!). That was the last day I stopped not putting myself first and started taking better care of my body, my mind, and my spirit.
Every day, sometimes several times a day, I sit in quiet reflection. It is not always about my patients, the people they love or the experiences I witness… but I do that often as well. Sometimes I just sit for a moment and go back to the times I remember feeling brave, strong, confident, and happy… because that fills me up. Sometimes I go back to a time I didn’t feel those things and I am reminded how proud I am of myself, for overcoming so much. My life, obstacles and all, has become what it is, and I am where I am, because of it all. I reflect back to all the times, good and bad, because it offers me the fuel I need to keep moving forward, to strive for better, to become someone I am proud of, and that my grandchildren will be proud of.
Each night before I go to bed I reflect on the day, and if there was a death, if I held someone who sobbed in my arms, if I had to prepare someone to say goodbye… I honor them because they deserve it. I feel so much gratitude for being able to do this work, for the trust they have in me to be there at the bedside guiding and supporting them. I reflect on the work I did that day. I hold gentle space in my heart for all I share time with. And I honor myself… hugging myself tightly, and I whisper… you did good today, sleep well… and we will do it again tomorrow.
Whether you pick a daily card from a deck that promises guidance and support, whether you read your horoscope, meditate, chant, breathe, walk or sit in quiet reflection… honor yourself, the work you do, the work you’ve done and care for yourself well because you deserve it. For me, I will continue to sit in quiet reflection because it comforts me.