How we think about concepts determines how they are shaped in our experiences. With that in mind, how do we think about care? What is care? This article is one of three articles of a collaboration detailing ideas of care from Regina Gee, Sayr Motz, & Shivangi Tiwari. Continue reading to learn how Regina Gee thinks of care and what it looks like in her life.

Regina is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Coach (IHWC) with the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine where she also received a Wellness & Lifestyle Series certification. Regina earned her bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh where she also minored in Religious Studies and Chemistry. Additionally, she has completed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training and studied abroad in Uttarakhand, India.

Regina is interested in questions of wholeness, care, and insight. Her goal is to find resonance, to live experiences that are deep, full, and reverberating.  She has a gift for building bridges and navigating complexity. She is interested in the connections between inner and outer worlds and what it means to live well; questions of spiritual care (encouraging the vital and sacred) are close to her center. Currently, she is using these skills to help people create meaningful behavior change, aligning their lives and their values, for grounded wellbeing. Her current offerings include one on one coaching sessions, wellness articles, and social media content. You can find her on Instagram @wellspring_coaching or contact her at

What is care?

The dictionary defines care as: the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something. I believe care is a word that is big enough to hold our longings for a world characterized by love, connection, and belonging; I think of care as an invitation for a certain way of being in the world that is deeply respectful to ourselves and to all of our relations. Care is the practice of stewardship, skilled mastery, and respect that allows for wellbeing, wholeness, and connection. 

I grew up in the Episcopal Church and exist in a family constellation with many christian family members. Having this background has allowed me to see the ways christian perspectives are woven into identities from the individual to the societal level, and often subconsciously. Identifying the way these views shape our realities allows us to shape a world that isn’t confined in dogma or uses thoughts of god to further oppressive systems.

 My deeper thinking about care began with Ellen Davis’s concept of skilled mastery. Ellen talks about the word ‘dominion’ in Genesis 1:26-28. Traditionally, these verses were called the dominion verses but are being reimagined as the stewardship verses. Ellen talks about how dominion can also (or instead) be translated as skilled mastery. This difference in translation makes it so that God’s instruction to humans isn’t to dominate the earth, but rather to be skilled masters, which Ellen says suggests more of a craft, an art of being human. If we understand God’s intentions for humans to be caretakers instead of domineerers, we unlock a way of being in the world that is characterized by love instead of control. Transforming dominion into skilled mastery is an invitation to be closer to God in a different way than oppressive systems of the past and present. 

Recently I was reading Ivan M. Granger’s commentary on a poem by Rabindranath Tagore. In his commentary he writes, “The gardener does not actually make the seeds grow and flower. The gardener just prepares the environment but it is the divine spark of life ‘hidden in the heart of all things’ that nourishes seeds into sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.’” Care is preparing and tending the environment so that life can take root and greater things can shine through us. It is holding space for the hidden heart of all things. This alacrity and ease towards life is different then the white knuckled grip of having to control all of creation. In fact, believing we have to control the world is in itself a form of functional atheism which leaves no room for mystery. 

To me, skilled mastery is fostering comprehensive knowledge of ourselves and our relationships, allowing us to love ourselves and each other well. It is tending to our garden bed instead of trying to force the plants to grow. Skilled mastery means to cherish (protecting and caring for lovingly); it is an art full of grace and mystery. Care is stewardship as opposed to dominion – cherishing vs controlling – and can hold all our longing for love and connection. 

“What I care about is that we stop venerating the spirit of dominance and instead elevate the soul of caring.” Elizabeth Lesser 

What does care look like in your life?

Living care is about connection and holding space, for yourself and others. Practicing care is how I show and feel love. Care is the connection pulsing through my life, that living & breathing animating force that situates the seed of self in the ecosystems of my world. I am able to practice care when I listen. Thich Nhat Hahn writes, “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.” Care in my life looks like learning how to love well. 

I demonstrate my self-love (care) by tending to my physical, mental, and emotional needs. I do this by listening to what I need and then respecting that need and providing it. I remind myself that as an adult, I am my own caretaker – I have the responsibility, and the opportunity, to take really good care of this being. In recent history, this has included giving myself permission to rest as long and as often as I need (and I have been blown away by how visceral and accessible the experience of a rested body is). Practicing skilled mastery for this body, this mind, this heart, this spirit  is how I am able to be a good steward and in so doing create space for my biggest, most beautiful, and most true life to exist. Some of the tangible things I do to take care of myself include: taking a break instead of forcing myself to work, eating nutritious foods (local vegetables, adequate protein), reading a book, feeling the sun, being clear about work boundaries, and taking deliberate deep breaths, dancing, and walking barefoot on grass. 

Care and love for others is a string woven through my professional, personal, and family worlds. Care in my professional life as a wellness coach is in the form of non-judgemental presence, having the courage to walk alongside, active listening, patience, trust, acceptance, and non-striving. Paying attention and truly seeing people is transformative, and this type of care is one of my gifts to the people I work with. In my personal relationships I utilize many of the same practices of love while also allowing more of myself to be seen and known. Care is connected with authenticity – a relationship where I believe love finds some roots. Cynthia Bourgeaoult talks about how the heart is an organ of perception for the divine; if God’s instructions for humans is to be good stewards of creation, I believe we do so through honing our hearts and growing our capacity for love and connection. I am a good steward of myself and others when I love well, paying attention to the particular ways my loved ones show up and need to be seen and known. 

“If we are stretching to live wiser and not just smarter, we will aspire to learn what love means.” Krista Tippett

How might ideas of care help to build a better world?

If we are to care for one another instead of control, we need ways of thinking about care that are not characterized by dominance. Brené Brown writes that dominance is a type of status that is coerced through aggression and intimidation, and it plays a significant role in hubris. A better world requires a different type of status, a wiser way of relating to each other. 

When I think about what a better world would be like, what I can imagine is a world driven by an ethic of care – an antidote to the disconnection, polarization, and hate permeating our worlds. An ‘ethic’ is a set of moral principles. Creating an ethic of care can start with reimagining “having dominion over creation” in Genesis to instead be “practicing skilled mastery with creation.” 

An ethic of care would include principles like: 

  • Learning to love ourselves and each other well – being good stewards 
  • Elevating the soul of caring over the spirit of dominance (readying the garden vs making the seeds grow) 
  • Practicing skilled mastery & prioritizing self-care 
  • Honing our hearts for connection and love
  • Respecting the sovereignty of every individual 
  • Recognizing the strings connecting us all 
  • Working to meet our needs 

Care is a virtue that allows us to love and connect with ourselves and each other in a way that honors and empowers us. I believe being well is directly related to cherishing; in other words, I know that loving, caring, and protecting what matters in ourselves and our world is how we become well and whole humans. Practicing care is a spiritual practice that allows us to step out of our small selves and into a larger ecosystem. Parker Palmer writes, “The master metaphor of our era does not come from agriculture – it comes from manufacturing. We do not believe that we ‘grow’ our lives – we believe that we ‘make them.’” Ideas of care are rooted in a master metaphor of agriculture and allow us to live out a wiser and more grounded metaphor. 

“It is a relief to claim our love of each other and take that on as an adventure, a calling. It is a pleasure to wonder at the mystery we are and find delight in the vastness of reality that is embedded in our beings.” Krista Tippett

What is care? Where do you turn to learn more about care?

I learn more about care from people like Krista Tippett, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Lesser, Parker Palmer, and Sue Monk Kidd. I find that the people who are trying to answer questions about wisdom, love, and meaning are the teachers who help me understand how to be in the world in a way that holds space for an ethic of care, stewardship, and skilled mastery to persist instead of dominion and control. Recently, I am learning that I am included in this list of people and I make the most sense about care through listening to my own needs. Cultivating my ability to understand who I am and practicing my ability to be a good steward over the being I know best out of anyone allows the seeds in my garden to grow and 

Specifically, here are resources that have taught me about care:

  • Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett 
  • Atlas of the Heart Brené Brown 
  • When the Heart Waits Sue Monk Kidd 
  • Cassandra Speaks Elizabeth Lesser 
  • The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho 
  • How To Do The Work by Nicole LePera