The Care and Keeping of Karen Delaney

Photo by Karen Delaney, 




"One of my favorite self care moves is sitting down with some hot tea poured into a favorite mug while wearing a pair of knitted gloves that a loved one made for me."







We're kicking off a Week of Care and Keeping in celebration of The Care and Keeping of Creative Souls: A Manual, which hits the postal system on Friday, 11.25.11. I invited a few of the creative souls who pioneered this conversation with me in live workshops (and first edition manuals) to share some of their experiences, as well as some of their own Care and Keeping moves. Today we have with us the fabulous Karen Delaney:

When I first heard Jen Lee was doing a Care and Keeping of the Creative Soul class at Squam Art Workshops in 2010 my first thought was, What kind of class is this? It didn't sound like I would learn any "art" techniques or walk away with a piece of work I created.  It only took a moment longer for that deeper voice inside to say, YES, you need this class. This was the voice of my intuition, my gut, the part of me that really knows what's needed and when I listen I end up right where I am supposed to be. In this case it was Jen Lee's class.
I walked away from that class with more than I could have imagined--most importantly the permission to stop whatever you are doing and take a breath, to tend to youself and your needs, to re-fill your well.  If you are not coming from a full place when giving or creating you can become depleted very quickly. This was just what I needed to hear as I was currently in a place where I had given so much and was in real need of re-filling my well. 


The Care and Keeping Manual has suggestions that cover the caring of mind body and soul in a clear way that is easy to follow, you just have to give yourself that self care moment or hour or day/s, whatever is needed to get yourself back to full. One of my favorite chapters  is "A Good,Hearty Meal". Preparing a meal filled with loving intentions for myself and others feeds my soul. I have made Jen's Magic Chocolate Chip Cookies on more than one occasion and there are never any left at the end of the night.  Another big one for me was, "Give the Gift of Being Seen".  I was so good at seeing others but really struggled with lettting myself be seen. I found out being seen is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and others.  When you share your story and it resonates with someone else it brings about that feeling of connection that I feel is needed in the world right now. Knowing we are not alone is so important.
When I am taking good care of myself I notice my steps are lighter, I am more grounded and actually feel like I am standing straighter, my mood is even and I smile more. The opposite is true when I am not taking good care, I feel physically heavier, spend more time in that head space, slouch over, my jaw gets tense and Watch Out, because I can blow my lid any minute.  These are my cues that I haven't been taking good care of myself. Once you learn your cues it gets easier to see when you need that self care moment.  One of my  favorite self care moves is sitting down with some hot tea poured into a favorite mug while wearing a pair of knitted gloves that a loved one made for me. I am both tactile and visual so these things combined comfort me, and it only takes a few minutes to give myself some care.
Karen Delaney is is a healer, through words and images, who is known for her empathy and her ability to deeply listen. She is a highly sensitive person, which she used to regard as a curse, but understands now is a gift, as is she.