She writes, “The self-care paradigm often sees us as getting stressed and then going to self-care in moments of heightened stress, rather than integrating things for our joy and restful well-being along the way. In my head, I see self-keeping similar to how I see my indoor garden. The plants need sunshine and water consistently. Sure, I can let them wilt a bit but it takes them longer to bounce back when I finally give them what they need. If I take care of them a little each day, they thrive. We're like that too, I think. I keep myself as whole as I can by trying to integrate a daily spiritual practice into my mornings, where I reclaim the earliest point of the day as something holding rest for me rather than the beginning of another long day.”
Over the past two years I have slowly built up a small indoor garden. Waking up and taking care of these plants by meeting their different, individual needs has been an everyday ritual that helps me feel grounded. I have been working on practicing this course’s lessons on rest and joy in the midst of finals, work, and family commitments. I am passionate about dismantling systems of oppression and as someone who is recovering from burnout, I need to continue to practice self-keeping to achieve liberation, justice, and healing for all. Cultivating practices in my life, like my garden care ritual, is a wonderful start. On that note, here is a drawing of Kombucha (my aloe!) that was joyful for me to create!
Madelyn Koff is a recent McGill graduate from Vermont. She is passionate about social justice and baking chocolate tarts.