This was written in December 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.

Okay, funny title, right? But here’s what I mean–self-care is not a to-do list of stuff, achieved or looked at in a factory assembly line fashion (i.e., bun, condiments, burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, bun, voila! self-care has been achieved!).

Some people might look at that and go, “Well, that’s great, but I’m not really experiencing issues with self-care. I get plenty of sleep, exercise, I get time to myself, so if this course is working on self-care, I don’t really need anything in that department.” Others may think, “I’ve tried those ‘self-care plans’ before. I’ve read those books. I know, I know, I just need to be accountable. I just need to get off my duff and do it. Nothing new, here.”

As I work with coaching clients, I am not crafting it like a hamburger. Checklists that maintain accountability are a piece of the process, but they’re only secondary. I’m starting with the type of self-care that is about things like knowing that your life is fully in integrity.

Think of a time when you’ve encountered a difficult situation–perhaps, for instance, a time when you had conflict with a friend but no one was talking about it. Perhaps you felt icky and out of integrity because you knew you wanted to say something, but you were still working up the courage. Think of how much energy that ick feeling took–and think of how great it felt, how much lighter it was, when you finally did clean things up with that person.

In my coaching practice, looking at personal integrity and how to clean up situations where you don’t feel in integrity with others (because of withholds) or with yourself (because you know you have big dreams that you’ve been putting off) is part of self-care.

I remember how it felt before I found my life’s work–my attempts at self-care were that I’d decide that I was going to do yoga every day, or perhaps meditate, or whatever happened to inspire me in that moment, convincing me that I’d be “better if…”. It was great to take on that practice in that moment…but then it wouldn’t last. Why? Or sometimes I’d be really great at my to-do list, and yet I’d still feel empty and unfulfilled. Why?

From my perspective, I had that experience because there are other parts of self-care that were neglected. Self-care is so much more than eating our vegetables. It’s about integrity, personal choice, noticing, acknowledging, making conscious decisions.

My coaching work is about creating real, lasting change that is about a journey, not a to-do list of items to tick off.

I’m also really excited to announce that I have a few confirmed interviews:

Matthew and Terces Engelhart are co-founders of Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco and authors of Sacred Commerce, The Abounding River Personal Logbook, and Plenty of Time: A 366 Day Creative Planner. These two souls are committed to abundance and gratitude and all that it can bring into your life, and I’m really excited to see what they share.

Yvonne & Rich Dutra St.John, co-founders of Challenge Day and authors of Be the Hero. Challenge Day has been featured several times on the Oprah Winfrey Show and a new reality tv show on their work will be produced by MTV in the coming months.

Christine Mason Miller: Artist, Writer, Philosopher. She’s the shining creative writer behind the book Ordinary Sparkling Moments and her work has been picked up and distributed throughout many galleries and stores. She is an artist who has truly shown that through dedication and hard work, artists do not need to “starve.”