Fearless Friday

This past week, someone asked me to reflect on what exquisite self care feels like. Because that is what they wished for me.

And I have been thinking about this question all week.

At first, I felt defensive, so I have to look a bit closer. A nerve has been exposed.

And here is why.

While I may be building a nest in my backyard (my last post), I have not been building one in my studio.

I rush.  I try to do everything.  Be everything.  I over schedule myself.  I do not allow myself space to be early.  Or space to be late.  I am often "on" when I really need to be "off".  Off the computer.  Off my iPhone.

I multi-task.  I eat lunch as I work.  Pick up a fork...then pick up a paintbrush.

When I am home, a little voice says to me "You are going to read?  Throw a load of wash in. Turn on the dishwasher...get something done."

And none of this is the mindset I want to role model for my son or daughter.  I don't want to teach them that owning my own business means I am constantly doing. Rushing.

For me, exquisite self care is tender and slow.

It is fresh picked wild flowers all over my studio.

It is pauses and deep breaths.  And places to rest.

As I thought more about exquisite self care,  I realized my studio was not set up for it at all.

I spend most of my time in the middle room of my art cottage.   It is a magical little room with a fireplace and low ceilings where people have gathered for over 200 years.

Yet, I had no place to gather.  I had three work desks.  Three.  But no place to rest.  Just places to create.  To make.  To be busy.

So, with the help of my sweetie, we moved the comfy chaise lounge from the very back room into this space.  And moved a large work bench into the back room.

And the change in energy was instant.  I gave myself permission to stop.  To rest.  To take a nap.  And for others to do so too.

See Willy on the couch?  He is so good at resting.

Exquisite self care is present.  It means consciously putting things in their place.   Not spending time each day looking for keys or a cell phone.

So I stopped and consciously put things away.

One of the biggest changes was putting all my art books in this vintage bookcase I bought at an estate sale for $6.  It was a huge move.

Once all my art books were put in this bookcase, then all my art supplies could go on the shelves where my books used to be.

The air in my studio was getting fresher by the second.

I have miles to go as I relearn how to be in this mindset.  I used to be here a bunch.  But not in a really long time.

I wound myself up tight. Now I am unwinding.  Slowly. Right here.  And I want to stay.

Funny, others do too.  My husband has been at my studio more in three days than he was in a month.

I cannot help but notice that the better I take care of myself, exquisite self care, the better everyone feels around me.  They feel welcomed.  And they want to stay.

ps. I have been wanting to write a "fearless Friday" post for weeks.  And I have written five at least.  All are unpublished.  This one felt right.  Anything you want to share?  How are you taking exquisite self care of yourself? What does exquisite self care feel like for you? I would love to hear. xo

And yes.  I know it is Saturday.  But it feels like a Friday.  A fearless one.









  1. says

    Exquisite self care feels like balm for my soul. I do so by going deep within and listening for what my being needs to feel alive, present, engaged, not just in moments of leisure but rather moment to moment. Lovely post and poignant question. :)

    • cattara says

      Majory...so good to hear your voice here. This question has stayed with me. I hope it always does because it changes everything.

  2. says

    WOW! I needed to see this! I feel like you did at the beginning of this post. My studio is so overwhelmingly a mess that it is not place I want to be as much as I want to create! Rest seems a guilty pleasure that I can't indulge in when there is so much to fix! Maybe this will be enough of a nudge to recreate the calm in there that makes it my happy place again!

    • cattara says

      Yes...give yourself a place to rest in your studio. A place to nap or meditate. It feels so good to be there now. And please come back and share how it makes you feel after. You, taking exquisite care of your creative space. And yourself.

  3. says

    Exquisite self-care is mutable...right now it's retreating to my room to check in with your blog, Colleen, after weeks of having my mom under our roof (involved story) and assisting with her care. In my fantasy, it is gathering a small group of kindred women together for a restorative week of community, play, no cooking (take-out or catered meals!), rest and solitude, in a big house near the beach or in the mountains. My friend told me about this group of women who used to do that every year on the vineyard...the art of doing "effortless nothings" for a glorious week...my pal has a house in Truro that would be perfect for this. My farthest out fantasy would be running away, preferably to my beloved Glandore in West Cork, Ireland. But for now I content myself with your words, a good book and my bed! XO

    • cattara says

      Patricia...I have been where you are. Taking exquisite self care of ourselves is even more important when we are caring for others. Especially when they are in our space. I wish you the art of "effortless nothings" sprinkled over your days. Funny, you mention a good book and your bed. That is exactly how I first met you at Squam. You, just trying to unwind in bed with a book and me bursting into your room. Thank goodness you lent me your mega flashlight. I might still be in those dark still woods. I am thinking about all those stars in that New Hampshire night sky....xoxooxox.

      • says

        Have decided to do a quick overnight Saturday for the art fair in June...there's a sweet little b n b and 80 something (!) elderly couple own. Perfectly exquisite self-care I look forward to! XO
        P.S. I'll bring the flashlight in case I run into you in the magical woods!

  4. says

    I only just found this Colleen! Exquisite self-care sounds a long way from where I am. I have that same 'doing' mindset - useful in many ways, but not for 'doing' self-care. I've realised recently that I equate self-care with laziness - nonsense of course - but there's a battle going on within me about that, for sure. I get a group of mums together for a day of play and talking and listening quarterly in Cornwall, a bit like the week that Patricia describes above, which is wonderful. As the 'host' it's not entirely relaxing, but it at least means that I am making something happen for me too which wouldn't otherwise. I shall hold these words of exquisite self-care close and see where they take me xx

    • cattara says

      Pippa, yes self care (exquisite) is so hard and so vital. What a wonderful thing to role model for your children. I always did self care to some extent but I am not sure I thought of it as a delightful teaching moment. I would have enjoyed it even more. So glad you are consciously making this part of your day. Pippa, you are so giving in all you do. That makes this even more important for you. Big hugs.

  5. says

    This is so lovely, your new resting place. Its such a balance to find that sweet spot between inspiration and restoration. The flow is there for us all. Its a moment by moment process of paying attention. Today, my self care was to take my meditation cd to bed with me at 2:30 after spending two hours upside down in the dental chair (also needed self care). I meditated and slept for three hours. My body won't let me overdo anymore, neither will my mind. Self care for me changes daily, but my cornerstones are meditation, infrared sauna, time with the horses, photography, massage, yoga, painting and dance. I think that every moment can be self care when we are truly listening and present to the tasks at hand. I find that the only time I feel 'tired' emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or physically, is when I allow my mind to go outside of now. I know, its all the rage to be 'in the present', but its the key. Always has been. Watch the children, they don't know any different. When my mind steps forward, it makes me feel tired. When I am here, in this minute, I feel even. And sometimes that means its time to take a nap!
    Sending you love dear sister up North.

    • cattara says

      Wind..you are in a very good spot my sweet, sweet friend. Wisdom learned over miles and years. I have so much to learn from you and am grateful you are in my life. You have been on my mind so much lately. So happy you, Cowboy and the horses are firmly rooted in the soil during this crazy weather pattern. Know it is just a matter of time before we meet in person....I cannot wait....