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Kansas City MO 64131

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SELF CARE

Cindy Maddera

For weeks now, I’d step down a certain way with my right foot and feel like something was poking me in the foot. I would pull my sock off and rub the ball of my foot in search of whatever was sticking me, but I wouldn’t find anything. So then I would check my sock and finally my shoe, not finding any kind of thorn or needle in either. Each time I would shrug and just go on my merry way. Then, the other day I set a timer for five minutes and set myself up in baddhakonasana. And because my brain wanders off the map whenever I hold poses for minutes at a time, I started inspecting the bottoms of my feet. That’s when I discovered a splinter about half a millimeter long buried in the ball of my right foot. I thought “Oh! No wonder I thought something was always poking the bottom of my foot!” So for the rest of the four minutes of my time in baddhakonasana, I picked at my foot until I was finally able to pull out the splinter. I know yoga is all about self discovery and listening to your body, but usually those lessons aren’t so blatantly obvious.

Sometimes I need reminders to take care of my body. Like the time I sliced my wrist open with my toenail when hopping forward to forward fold. I still have a scar that rests lengthwise with one of my brilliant blue veins.  If it were any longer, I’d have to constantly explain that it was unintentional and happened because I forgot to trim my toenails. Taking care of this body just doesn’t come naturally to me. Taking the time to rub lotion into my skin or making sure my toenails can’t be used as weapons or soothing salt baths are all work. That sort of self care takes more effort than sitting quietly with a book and a mug of tea. It also requires me to take off multiple layers of clothing that is currently keeping me from falling over dead from the cold. I mean, you should see my hands right now. They are so dry that even my fingertips are scaly and my phone is having a hard time reading my thumbprint. 

There's this little town north of us called Excelsior Springs and like most towns that end with 'Springs', it is named after mineral springs that are in that area. The ferro-manganese water from one of the springs was discovered to have 'healing powers' and visitors started flocking to the small town to bathe and drink the water. The Hall of Waters was built in the late 30s as a WPA project. At one time, it housed a bottling plant for the different spring waters and bathing pools. Now it is just a municipal building and visitor center. The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs is over a hundred years old and was one of the original national health resorts. It still stands and the spa has a fancy grotto area where you can scrub your body with fancy bath salts and bathe in pools of spring water. I've wanted to go ever since I found out about it so I booked facials for me and Mom there this weekend. Saturday morning we will drive forty five minutes north so that an expert can slather our faces with cleansers and creams. Then we will scrub our skin with fancy bath salts and soak in hot tubes filled with the healing mineral waters of Excelsior Springs. 

I cannot wait and have in fact been dreaming about floating in warm pools of water while stars sparkle above. I am also very much aware that these are things I can do in my very own home. Apparently I need a special occasion and permission to spend money in order to care for this body or do nice things for this body. Which is dumb. I so often forget that the easiest way to be kinder to myself includes some of the simplest tasks.