CHOP YOUR OWN WOOD AND IT WILL WARM YOU TWICE.- Henry Ford – written by mary anne radmacher
Take care of yourself first. Many consider altruism as the hallmark of an elevated soul. Giving primary care to yourself, first, is not only practical, it is essential. Individuals trained in the liturgy of self-sacrifice and denial have difficulty seeing the balance between self-care and self-indulgence. In an objective glance they appear quite different.
Self care tends to the fundamental requirements of a healthy and contented life. A healthy person will choose the comfort and ease of another person over their own, periodically but not consistently. If Daily Bread is a metaphor for all essentials then - If you feed your whole baguette to someone with great frequency – then it is you who becomes a need for someone else to fill. The factor of generosity, so rewarding in a healthy lifestyle, can becom self indulgence. The conventional grasp of this phrase involves one giving too much to themselves. I’m mirroring that understanding here. Suggesting it can be that peculiar thing which masquerades as martyrdom. Generosity turned to indulgently giving too much . Giving to the detriment of one’s own values and needs. “I’ve given so much. How could they treat me this way? I’ve given everything I had. I’m all poured out.” One must ask, “Who is doing the pouring?”
Henry Ford addresses the basic message of self reliance. Providing your own essential needs empowers you to care not only for yourself, but others. Tending watchfully to our requirements builds a resource base that allows for positive, generosity (thus “warming twice.”) Generosity and (re)generative share a latin root, meaning, among other things, magnanimous or to create. Regenerating is restoring what was spent. Generating is the process of creating what previously did not exist. As a generous soul I grasp the impulse to “give it all away.” Consider that baguette. Sourdough starter generously recreates itself as long as a portion is retained upon which the rebuilding is based.