I was happy to chat it up with a minister and friend I formerly worked with in Youth Ministry about how she finds time for self -care and what it consists of. The moment you interview a minister or anybody who works in ministry the automatic assumption when you ask them about self-care is that they will say prayer, while of course Keisha does include prayer as one of her cornerstones she also shares a few surprising interests that have been giving her joy.
Name: Keisha Agard
Profession: Minister, Chief of Staff/Assistant to the Pastor, Doctoral Student and Artist
Noire Care practice: Silence and solitude, rest, journaling, prayer, fasting and enjoying time with friends and family.
“Selfcare for me is looking in the mirror and being able to enjoy who I am”
How often do you find time to indulge in your care practices? I do some more than others. Prayer and silence and solitude are almost daily. I journal once a week. I also try to work out but my schedule is so hectic that sometimes rest is more important to me. However having fun with friends and family and enjoying a street festival or concert is something I need to do often, it helps me to enjoy who I am.
How did you get started and what has been the biggest challenge?
My initial introduction to self- care was found through the arts. I was an artist before I was called to ministry. I knew what it meant to have to stretch and take care of your body and eat right and knowing that when you sing you have to take care of your voice, you have to get the proper rest, there is so much you have to attend to.
At the beginning of the year I went through a dramatic and traumatic break up and I made a conscious decision to take care or me. I detoxed starting with my eating and getting three colonics and worked to purge and detoxify my life. That helped me to realize how beneficial self- care is because sometimes relationships, work and life have us loosing who we are.
The doctoral program that I’m in led me to exploring “Soul Care.” My soul is the essence of who I am so I know I have to care for it. So what I do for self-care is what I have defined as soul care. Its the silence and solitude aspect and me listening to God. It’s more than just prayer, it’s listening for instruction and direction and hearing what I need to correct as well as being chastised by God. I can say it doesn’t always feel good but it’s like taking medicine when we are sick that doesn’t taste good but it leaves us feeling better.
Did you grow up witnessing your mother, aunties or any women in your life consistently taking time to do something just for them?
My fondest memory as a child is watching my grandmother at night use Crisco Oil to remover her makeup (breaks out in laughter). She had a big can of Crisco, that was her cold cream and she would do that every night. I also remember watching my mom as she prepared for work, the ritual of taking a bath and then massaging cream into her skin, putting on perfume and then makeup. She had a standing beauty parlor appointment and I even remember being a teenager and pimples popping up and my mom saying “you need a facial, come on we are going to get facials.” Self-care was something I definitely witnessed, my grandmother and mother were very put together. They taught me very early that you can’t just walk around any ol’ kind of way.
What would you like for your future daughter, god daughters or nieces to have learned from you in regards to self care? I want them to know self-care begins with your soul. The exterior is such a big deal for everybody, while its wonderful to look great we don’t want to be false advertisements, we want to make sure our insides radiate through to the outside. I want the young ladies in my life to say there is something on the inside of me that forces me to take pride in who I am.
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you? I am really into genealogy ever since I did the Ancestry DNA test. I am getting excited about learning more and more about who I am.