Self Care is a Generous Act
Story and photography by Susie Ippolito
Susie Ippolito is a makeup artist turned beauty editor, writer and content creator. Connect with her at susieippolito.com.
A generous spirit is a wonderful gift. I find myself drawn to people who go above and beyond to share goodness with the larger world. They keep me inspired and motivated to do more. They also keep me wondering exactly how they do it.
Erica Abdo, owner of Green Beauty Bliss, located in the newly renovated Deitz Lofts building in Syracuse, is one of those people. Erica draws you in with a smile and a warm hug, leaving you inspired to get more peace, more gratitude and more self care. She’ll inspire you to generously share these gifts with the world. She also has a thriving business as a makeup artist and gives organic facials that have earned her a loyal clientele.
Even Erica’s journey as an esthetician and makeup artist is generous in its spirit. “The main thing that makes my soul happy is when I connect with people and help them enhance their way of life and their mindset,” she said.
Erica believes self care is part of maintaining a generous spirit. It’s necessary to pay attention to our own needs in order to be able to generously give to others, she said.
“Giving back to myself and recharging shows that I care for me,” she said. “And that’s important.”
Self care creates kindness
It’s interesting to think about self care as an act of generosity. But the truth is if we generously give ourselves love, care, patience, kindness and compassion, it becomes infinitely easier to give those things to the larger world.
That may sound like a lofty goal that requires hours of meditation and yoga. And, yes, meditation and yoga are two of the most generous gifts you can give yourself, but you don’t have to sit in meditation for 45 minutes a day. Even small shifts in perspective can make a big difference.
Be more patient with yourself and you’ll begin to notice you’re more patient toward others. The same goes for kindness, compassion and all the things we so rarely give to ourselves. Cultivating a generous spirit works in the same way and works best when paired with gratitude and intention.
“Always come back to gratitude,” Erica said. “It is always the answer.”
Gratitude makes it all possible
Erica’s daily meditation practice is a priority in her life. As the owner of a small and thriving business in a new location, she doesn’t have a lot of free time.
“I wake up every morning and say what I am grateful for and I set my intention for the day,” she said. “And, I have to tell you, my days are remarkable.”
Erica keeps her intentions simple: be kind, be patient, be open. Simply stating intentions out loud makes them easier to connect to throughout our day.
“There is something special about vibration and sound,” she explained. “There is something extra special when you speak your words.”
Erica says that “living in the moment” is the key to a generous spirit. Because so much information passes by at any given moment, people don’t often realize the power of being present and aware, she said.
“When we slow down and become present, space and time open up,” she said. “We are able to create moments of generosity throughout our day.”
Writing this column, I get to interview incredibly kind and generous women who seem superhuman in their ability to give. Some of them do volunteer work, some create their own nonprofits and some, like Erica, jump at any opportunity to give. Each one of them says the same thing: “It is in my heart to do it.”
Awareness and self-care practices connect these women to their heart and give them the ability to light up the world with their gifts. Some of them meditate; some are focused on prayer; some find this connection by running or spending time in nature. The common thread between them is they each take time every day to reflect, empty their minds of daily clutter and focus on their own internal experience. This is the ultimate act of self care.
Small shifts create a better world
It’s understandable that not everyone will have time to commit to volunteer work or may not have the resources to donate money to a cause. Often, our most generous aspirations go onto the When-I-Have-Time list.
“There is so much more I want to do,” Erica said, “but it has to be the right time.”
She has full faith that the right opportunity will present itself to her when she’s ready. In the meantime, Erica stays mindful of how she’s able to share her gifts with the world.
“I love teaching people how to fall in love with themselves,” she said, explaining that many people don’t love themselves. “Self care is No. 1 in falling in love with yourself. What you put in your body and on your body matters. Healthy food matters. Water, exercise and doing things that you love to do all matter.”
As we take better care of ourselves, we create positive energy and become compelled to share these good vibes with the rest of the world. Even when we’re super busy, Erica recommends small gestures like leaving positive messages for loved ones on Post-it notes or text message.
“[It’s] an appreciation for who they are and why you are grateful for them,” she said. “Don’t forget about people. We all want to be loved. That’s why we’re all here: to spread love and be our best selves and learn and grow.” SWM
Green Beauty Bliss is located at 225 Wilkinson St. #105a in Syracuse. For more information, visit greenbeautybliss.com.