“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” Elizabeth Kubler Ross
With so much to do, and a throbbing headache, what does one choose? Of course it depends on circumstances to some degree. You may have someone you must take care of – can you ask for help? You may have a job that calls for you, and only you to be there – never think you are not expendable. If you cancel clients they will see you as flakey – or might they see an example of someone taking care of themselves?
I once interviewed someone for a job while I was lying down! (And I was the practice manager of an integrative medical clinic.) Then I went home. There are as many ways to take care of ourselves as there are to abuse ourselves. This calls for as much creativity as anything else we do.
Not paying attention to what our bodies, or our psyches are telling us, or asking for, is committing personal violence unto oneself. We cannot always go all the way in the moment (like lying in the street, or taking a month off work) but we can always listen and respond as we would to a child in need.
What can you do in this moment? What can you do for the day, this week, this month? What is immediate first aid and what can be done as prevention?
So I have a headache this morning. I take something and lye down and go in an hour late. I will NOT eat anything that I know triggers headaches. I will be patient and kind to myself. I will not ACT like I’m fine and pay in spades later. I will go slow and do less than my normal 110% today. (After all, if I gave 110% other days, I have some comp coming?) I will remain present to myself and notice if I need something more drastic than I first imagined. I know I can tell the truth to those I must, without whining. I can be an example of good self care.
If you work for, or live with people who think you are a wimp if you don’t just drink a cup of coffee, numb out and get on with it, you need to have some deep discussions from a place of strength and compassion (for they must do this to themselves). And if they continue to demand more of you than you can give without hurting yourself, you may need to move on.
And if you are a sensitive person, on any level, just remember: sensitive does not translate into fragile. It is actually a strength, once you understand and properly respect the gift you have been given.
So, how does this relate to Nature, which is what I usually write about? I can make anything relate to nature, since we humans are part of the natural world! What is un-natural is taking part in the skewed business model in this culture that does not recognize a need for self care in terms of illness/prevention, grief, family needs, etc. What is un-natural is not being in touch with our deep selves enough to know what our own needs are and how to fulfill them. No blame here, we are all part of this culture; this culture that is beginning to learn how to function in a healthy manner.
So – go lie down. Go dance and sing. Go call your Mom (or ____) and tell her how much you love her. Make a date with a friend. Go read a book. Go meditate. Go for a walk in Nature. GO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY AND SOUL.
I won’t respect you less in the morning.
photos by Carolyn Ringo