For Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys, becoming mom to sons Egypt, 6, and Genesis, 21 months, helped her learn to take time for herself in order to best care for others.
“It definitely has given me a whole new perspective,” The Voice coach said on stage during the Brooklyn leg of WME’s Together conference, a national tour moderated by Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, on Monday. “I’m overly accommodating, like sickeningly so. I’m becoming better at that.”
When Walsh offered the metaphor that taking care of yourself is crucial in the same way that donning your own oxygen mask is imperative before helping others on a plane, Keys laughed in agreement.
“That’s my favorite thing they say on the plane,” she said. “Like, ‘You don’t do that, you don’t secure your own mask? What’s the matter with you?’ And somehow I do that same thing.”
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Keys explained that she needed a personal overhaul in order to become a more mindful mother and artist.
“I needed to clear the negative space, the negative people in my space… [which] probably should’ve happened years ago,” she says. “But now, there’s even more of a reason. My purpose is so much bigger, it’s so much bigger than me.”
So now, having “never quite committed to the ‘mental’ before,” Keys meditates daily.
“It’s been really important for me,” she says of her practice. “I started time and time [again], tried it, fell asleep. But now it’s a need. It’s a yearning, a desire.”
Her time alone has become non-negotiable.
“Some days I have 15 minutes, some days I have 40 minutes, some days I have five minutes where I have to take that time, because if I don’t I literally feel off,” she says. “And I can tell the difference in the choices that I’m making… my center is off. I feel shaken a bit more, but when I do it I feel sturdy.”