Begin to run the bath. Ignore the rust spots and soap scum, quickly wipe the sides with last night's washcloth and grab the rock you keep on the shelf above the toilet - the rock unearthed from your grandparents' backyard on that day in March six years ago when you knew you'd never see that home of your heart again. Let the rock cover the tiny bits of mildew that won't leave you alone in this house you never thought you'd live in for more than ten years.
Take down the journal filled with five or six pages of dreams you had three years ago. Take down the journal and gather the book of poems and simple black pen. You don't need to find that perfect pen that is lost in the pile of other pens and journals and magazines on the floor beside your bed.
Pour your coffee into your favorite orange mug and scoop the yogurt from the carton into a simple jar. Top with frozen blueberries because you have a handful left you noticed underneath the frozen steaks yesterday.
Reach for the gorgeously named Dandelion Milk bath powder and breathe through the moment you realize the cork is stuck, and you will only get to look longingly at the promise to "soak your worries away," but will instead have to rely on hot water and oatmeal soap.
Slip into the water and marvel at your oversight as it sloshes over the side and wish for just half of a second that your daughter was with you because she'd laugh at the waves your almost forty-year-old body makes as you quickly use your foot to flip the drain to let the gurgling two inches of too much water swirl away.
Sip your coffee as you settle into the warmth and the exhalation of having this sliver of time you've created. Spoon yogurt into your mouth watching the purple blueberry juices dance against the white spoon you decided to buy last week because it felt like such a simple way to say "Yes, I can live this life I imagine for myself."
Open Mary Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud and find yourself beginning a deep, open stretch into noticing and truth as you find your mind, your heart, your hand pulling you toward your own page to write your own words to collect your own evidence of seeing the beauty standing next to, inside, the realness that makes up this moment, this life you've chosen.
Be present to that inevitable inner promise insisting that you will do this again: Eat. Drink. Find yourself reflected in someone else's words. Write your own words in a bathtub each Tuesday morning before diving into work. Write this promise all while knowing you will break it as living fills the space you've created by giving yourself this time just for you.
And even as you know you can't pinky swear that this "moment of exquisite self-care" will happen again next Tuesday or even next month, breathe in the knowing that perhaps this is enough. Perhaps you can simply trust the next moment of mothering yourself will sprout in this space nurtured by the compost created by a moment later today and tomorrow and the day after that. Perhaps today's small act of mothering will help you keep your face toward the sun.
Perhaps reading this aloud to yourself is the only promise you need in this moment on a Tuesday on a day in February as your hand slides across the page.
Self-care doesn't have to be perfect. It can be soap scum and water spilling over the sides and a gorgeous bottle of bath milk that you can't even open.
When you give yourself the gift of even just a few minutes of self-care, of mothering yourself, of listening to your own wisdom, you tend to the you inside who needs to be seen. Each moment of taking care of you becomes the nurturing your soul needs, your soul longs for, so you can show up as you in your daily life. So you can choose love more.
If learning some accessible, simple, and effective self-care moves is calling to you, I hope you'll join me for Water Your Mama Soul. The class is just 10 days long and you need just 10 minutes a day to join us. We start Monday. Learn more and register here.
And here's the part where I say that if you're reading this and you aren't a mama, your kids are grown, the little ones in your life are nieces, nephews, grandkids, or the animals you love and yet the course calls to you, you are invited to come along. For real. Head over to the class page and read the FAQ for more info about why I believe this class is a good fit for any woman feeling called to water her soul, to mother herself. Yes.