19 November 2012

Mindful Self Care

We live in a society of instant gratification, fast foods and speed dialing. If we think about it, what are we actually hurrying to? Where are we trying to go in such a hurry? As morbid as it sounds, we are essentially speeding towards death, the final destination. But life is not about the destination, life is about the journey. You cannot enjoy the journey if you don’t take the time to stop and experience it.

In working with women and men going through difficult life transitions, they too continued on the proverbial treadmill called life until something caused them to stop. I am here to tell you, you don’t want to wait for a life transition or setback to happen in order to take a mental and spiritual time out. When clients and students seek me out, they are in crisis mode. They were going along on their treadmill called life, speeding faster and faster until something stopped working for them. Perhaps it was a job loss, a health challenge or the illness or sudden death of a loved one. Whatever the crisis, it forced them to stop.

I teach women how to stop before the crisis strikes; so that when it does strike – and believe me, it will – they are better prepared to take care of themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you intentionally and mindfully stop for self care, you will have spiritual practices in place when your transitional moment does come. I have discovered in my own journey of pain and grief, that it is not enough to know what to do because when the crisis hits, you immediately reverted back to what you have always done – whether it worked or not.

Yes, we have read all the self help books, listened to all the personal development audios and attended all the self growth lectures and workshops. So we know what to do to take care of ourselves. But as the proverb goes, to know and not to do is not to know! You don’t really know how to practice self care of you don’t do self care. Taking care of yourself must be a selfish practice. If you have ever flown in an airplane, then you know the flight instructions say in case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first, then help your dependents. You cannot give what you do not have. When you are overly busy and overly tired, how much of you is left for your loved ones? Not much!

So, I invite you to cultivate the practice of taking a present moment time out every day. No, you don’t have to join an ashram or go sit in a temple – unless you want to! Simply take a time out during your daily water moments. You have water moments each and every day. You shower, you wash, you pee, you flush, you wash your hands, you water plants, you use water to cook and clean. Whenever you encounter water in your day, stop; take three deep, abdominal breaths and say, “Thank you, Mother Earth, for this water I am blessed to use!” Then, resume your day. This takes all of three minutes and it is three minutes you are fully present in the moment as you honor one of our most sacred resources in gratitude. It is a simple meditation and a simple way to cultivate a spiritual practice of present moment self care.

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