Kristin Hanggi wrote in a mass email I received today: How I create is a way I demonstrate self-love to myself.

This is the new year and a time that requires some examination, where and I and where do I want to go? Am I careful with you? Am I careful with me? What sort of energy am I releasing into the world? Maybe not so obviously, all of these questions are connected. If I am not careful with you, the energy I emit is a drain on us all, which will take me nowhere I’d like to go. I’d be actively impacting the world around me in a negative fashion.

Now, the only difficult question, from which I’ve historically turned my head, is if I’m careful with me. My focus points for the year address this deficiency. I never considered the connections until I read that we aren’t truly capable of caring for others without caring for ourselves. See, I used to think the crushing expectations I place on my own shoulders are are only for me. I used to think that if caring for you comes at the expense of my own well-being, that is an acceptable cost.

I’ve been wrong about that perspective. Expectations are expectations, and emptiness is always communicated. If I’m struggling to breathe, how can I help you breathe? If I’m smushed under the weight of my own burdens, how can I help to carry yours?

So I’m paying attention to the way I speak to me as an act of love. I’m watching my mouth when I talk about me as an act of love. And now, reading that Hanggi quote, I’m examining my spirit as I write this, considering the past effects on my heart anytime I build. Maybe I only think I need time away (that I call “down time”) – and maybe I’ve been wrong about that, too.

There’s no question time away from some things is valuable, we all need rest days, sometimes rest weeks, but what are those things? What if I’ve been taking the time away from the very things that give to me, that act as an infusion of life? Do I really need time down from that? If creation is an act of self-love, is down time choosing not to love?

It’s just a small sentence in a daily email that I very often quickly, mindlessly skim, but it asks so many important questions. And it’s entirely possible that the answer to the question “Do I really need time down from that?” is yes. Maybe we need time down from even the most wonderful, most energizing, things. But how will we know if we don’t ask???