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On Pouring When the Container is Full

He’s generous.

That’s what I finally landed on as I ruminated on the character of John Snell. He gives freely of his time, effort, and knowledge. It doesn’t end there. He’s quick to offer his big smile (often it comes with a chuckle), his affection, and a willingness to understand. He is intentional about putting money into the local economy.

We know each other well. I was employed by him for more than ten years, building a company that started in his home. That business was a multinational enterprise with annual sales in the millions by the time it was sold.

John works hard and he’s smart. He also actively cares about his family, community, and friends. He consistently strives to make the world a better place—busily churning out both words and deeds. It’s no wonder he was once named Citizen of the Year!

So what about taking care of that big body and spirit he walks around in? I asked him about that. Here’s John’s contribution to my self-care series.

What are the healthiest things you consistently do?

I walk nearly every day and take a twenty to thirty-minute nap after lunch. I eat fairly well and cook most of the food we eat using as many local, organic ingredients as possible. I also love to just hang out around “nature” (funny how that seems to differentiate people as non-natural!), because I am constantly renewed and enlivened by the world we live in, no matter the season or the weather. I love to work hard, whether physically or otherwise, and love to see the results of those efforts; I have, over the years, thankfully learned to be not quite as obsessive about working as I used to be.

When thinking things through: Better alone, or the more the merrier?

Definitely alone, though usually after conversations with or listening to others. I find walking the best time for me to think. The pace is perfect and the scenery slowly changing allows my thoughts to come and go. Usually by the time I get back to the beginning, I’m in a different place and from there things usually look better.

Who is on your side?

Certainly my family, immediate and greater, and a handful of close friends. That said, I also feel like I have a wealth of friendships I can draw on anytime I need a bit more of anything. What would we do without each other?!

Do you have spiritual practices? What are they?

No formal practices. Prior to Covid I loved weekly yoga sessions and hope to get back to that as I often ended up in places I don’t usually get to otherwise. But walks in the woods or along country roads is where I go to “church.” I feel like I live in heaven, truly, so much of the time.

When all else fails, I

. . . trust in life, that being stuck will lead to being unstuck. Sometimes when I’m really lost, I go out with my camera and see what I’m missing—somehow looking through the lens at these small rectangular views of life makes it possible to see the bigger picture again. I know I’ve not been deeply “tested” for a long time, however, so to a great extent I live in privilege. I feel so often like I need absolutely nothing and so can give away myself to my community in ways that are an honor.

Susan McDowell is a life coach based in Central Vermont.
Are you ready to build self-care into your days, or to align your giving with your values? Get in touch!

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