Save yourself

I would like to speak to the care and keeping of you, especially if you had previously decided to pick up the call, in some way, of the care and keeping of the people of Earth.  

I wish to remind you, as a friend did to me not too long ago, of the laminated instructions you find in the seat in front of you while experiencing air travel. You know, when the flight attendant gets up and explains that if you are riding with a child, or panicky adult, you should put on your mask first before helping him or her.  

This may be the best analogy for the weeks, or years - depending on your commitment level, to come. We must all take care of ourselves first, so that we are ready and able to care for others. 

Protection comes in many forms, but the most important is the protection of your own heart and health - leaving room, of course for healthy growth and thoughtful introspection. And by “health“, I mean that of the body, spirit, finances and in relationships.

Let’s start with physical health, what is the first thing soldiers do when preparing for battle? Condition themselves. We must work towards health. 

Now, I don’t know if you’ve had a good look at me, but I definitely don’t mean we all have to have a model’s build or a weight lifters muscles, but we do need to remember to make good food and exercise a part of our daily habits. 

As for the spirit and heart, please understand that personally, I do not stand near defeatist thoughts - I believe them to be cowardice, or perhaps laziness, in the disguise of pessimism. I do believe in framing and calculating success in a way that is acceptable to my determination level. If you are to participate, you must do the same.

Make a goal for yourself, and when you reach it, stop and celebrate. The celebration is the most important - do not let anything steal your joy from you. 

Further, you must remember that, “Those who are being saved, will not always participate in their own saving”. Do not fault them for that. Also, do not engage with defeatists, or slanderers, attitudes are sometimes as catching as the plague, after all. Think about it, how often have you really felt better after these altercations?

And whoever or whatever your idea of connection to a greater power, sit with that, and honor it daily. Whether through meditation, reading of sacred texts, being in the natural world or going to an organized faith, we must have that quiet time to connect with that which is not us.

Most importantly, do not judge yourself. Some of the greatest of heroes of history at one time or another, stopped to say, “’What the hell am I doing?’ Or ‘Who the hell cares but me?’”. Hear it, feel it, give yourself a limited time to dwell with it and then move on. None of us have time to waste in the desert of self doubt.

Finances, this can be incredibly hard especially if you are living in the world right now. All I can say is prepare, and keep your future and that of your family in front of you with regards to that. Financial pain is the most draining of all. Do not ship wreck yourself, while trying to save the drowning.    

And finally relationships, this may be the hardest of all to bear, but please understand that you may lose some, if you haven’t already. Take solace in the fact that if they would leave you for wanting to make yourself and your world better, chances are, they were never really with you in the first place.    

Yet do know, that any relationship takes a great deal of watering and fertilizing to keep healthy. Take account of your relationships, and bare homage to those you wish to keep. The world will not slip away while you have lunch with a friend, make love to your partner or read a book to your children.     

Besides, why save a world that is lonely for you? We must hold onto joy with both hands in order to remain effective, and nothing to us humans brings us more joy than each other.     

So below you will find examples of how to ensure your sanity while tackling the insane notions of the world. I sincerely hope that you find them helpful, that you will add to them regularly, and share more with me and others. In times such as these, we could all use a little help in the care and keeping of ourselves.    

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Positively evaluate progress on a daily basis
  • Sleep
  • Protect your time - it is okay to say, “No, thank you, I don’t have time for that.”
  • Laugh and smile as often as possible
  • If you feel you need it, do not be afraid to seek outside help
  • Honor your feelings
  • Take long hot baths
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Be open to change or differing opinions - you don’t have to try and change anyone
  • Be silly with your kids
  • Fresh air, flowers and sunshine can renew any spirit
  • Take a brisk walk or jog
  • Schedule social gatherings
  • Daydream
  • Be creative - paint, draw, make a recipe, dance - whatever fuels your soul

Come on, keep ‘em coming. Add your ideas in the comments below.  And remember, you are a part of this Earth and ecosystem, protecting yourself so that you can protect it is perhaps the most important thing that we can do.

Cherri Foytlin is an oil worker's wife, mother of six, Louisiana resident and journalist whose family has been deeply impacted by the BP Oil Disaster and consequential moratorium on deep water drilling. She co-founded Gulf Change, blogs for, and walked to Washington D.C. from New Orleans (1,243 miles) to call for action to stop the BP oil disaster.  She has been a constant voice, speaking out to the Obama Administration's Gulf Oil Spill Commission, and in countless forms of media.  Cherri will continue her fight for the industries, people, culture and wildlife of south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast "until we are made whole again."