”Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life – that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health. ... And reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great.” Seneca, Moral Letter to Lucilius, VIII
With this reading I am reminded of the concept of "self-care", that we should take care of ourselves in order to be able to care for others. Over the years the habit of putting myself last has taken over, not a practice that was forced on me but one that came as a result of habit. The years of mothering, working outside of the home and the "tyranny of the urgent and most strident need" have taken their toll on the good habit of self-care.
Even though I no longer have children home or even any pets demanding care, I still have to convince myself that it is okay to take time to pamper, or do anything for my own self-benefit. I think this is not just a female affliction but is a side effect of anyone who has had to make others a priority over the years. We have a list of to dos and priorities, and, more often than not, self-care is the principle that takes the largest hit.
Now that I am an "empty nester" I struggle with being able to take the time for self-care and constantly have to remind myself that I cannot give to my husband, family or employer if I don't take the time to nourish myself first. Nourish, not only physically but also intellectually and spiritually, with taking time for reading, studying, listening to music and also relaxation.
In our society we are presented with two examples of the "good life", one is so lazily self-indulgent and the other one is so filled with business for others. I need to find balance somewhere in the middle of both of these "good lives", nourishing my body but never neglecting to nourish my mind and soul with knowledge, wisdom and beauty.