Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength
It was the second year of graduate school, and I was four months into a grueling regimen of eight-hour per day reading sessions—a grueling regimen for which I sacrificed meals, fresh air, exercise, sleep, and friendships. I had grown accustomed to ignoring my body and its basic needs in order to stuff my mind with as much knowledge as possible. But that day, as I finished a lunch break and mounted the stairs of the library for the second half of my daily reading session, I sensed a nudge from God: “go get a massage.” Though my back ached and exhaustion had already set in, I resisted. Surely, I didn’t have time or money for something as frivolous as a massage. After a short wrestle with these thoughts, I decided to do it (having learned from experience the folly of ignoring such nudges). To my surprise, as the masseuse pressed her hands against my tense shoulders, I began to cry—long, heaving sobs. That such a small moment of care elicited tears that woke me up to the self-destructive nature of my attempt to be a disembodied mind for the duration of my exam year. I realized that I could not ignore my body, let alone soul. For my mind to function, I needed my whole self to be well. I needed to live wholeheartedly.