Self-Care: The Simple Math of "Too"

(Laura Lynn Brown, over at is leading a discussion this summer around self-care - you can find upcoming discussion topics here.  Then add your voice to the conversation in the comments.  This conversation is near and dear to my heart and I'm looking forward to following along and contributing as I am able.  This post is linked with the topic: Self-Care Assess Your Situation. )

Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’ . . . Billy Preston

If I were to sum my self-care situation up in two phrases they would be, “too little” and “too much.”

Too little quiet, solitude, stillness.

Too much laundry, loudness and scattered demands.

Too little money, time, support.

Too much chaos.

“Too little” and “too much.”

Looking closer, however, I notice these two phrases can be further reduced to one word – “too.”

“Too” is, like “also” and “and,” a word of addition; it is yes and inclusion and multiplication.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges and rewards of welcoming two (by which I mean twins) is learning to live in and welcome “too.”  For much of my life I’ve longed for singularity of purpose and identity and now I find myself learning how to embrace the gifts of many and much. 

Yet “too” presupposes the existence of something prior - some thing, some one, to which “too” is added.  I can see now, in learning to live with “too” that it is not my job to prevent “too” or even try to control it, but to tend to the one to which “too” is always being added. 

Self-care is attention to the center, the root, the self onto which all of life is added in varied measures. 

Self-care is not in opposition to “too” but rather presupposes “too.”

Lately, one little line from Billy Preston’s 1974 hit, “Nothing’ from Nothing” has been following me around in my head as I tend to all of the little “too’s” that add up my life these days,

“Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’,
you gotta have somethin’ if you wanna be with me.”

Sometimes it feels like all of the “too’s” in my life leave me with nothin’.  When I am at zero, which I often am, I have nothing to give and all of those too’s just pile up, neither good nor bad, just “too.”  I’m beginning to heed the signs that tell me I’m headed toward nothin', to notice the moments when zero is rapidly approaching.  

At thirty-eight I'm relearning basic addition and subtraction, recalculating the cost of “too” and working to maintain “somethin’” lest we all be left with “nothin’”.  More than ever before I understand that it all begins with one.  


  1. "Self-care is attention to the center, the root, the self onto which all of life is added in varied measures." Wise words, here, Kelly. I think it's funny how we focus on the neighbor in the the verse that says, "Love your neighbor..." and forget the 'as yourself' part.
    It's take are worth it!

  2. HI Kelly,
    I'm seeing self care across so many fields as the key thing for people in the 38-45 age bracket - seriously - we are slowing down to get ourselves sorted.