It's been a busy start to the year. I've been running Mindfulness courses non-stop, mainly Mindfulness for Cancer. I am privileged to work with such amazing, beautiful people. I am humbled by the strength and courage of all the participants on my courses.
I try to give my all and make every effort to be totally present in my sessions. I share my own experiences, I show my vulnerability because I want everyone to see that I am just human, that I am no different than them. It is important to me that each participant feels we are all connected and that we all struggle at times. None of us is immune to difficulty, challenge and suffering in life, it is all part of being human.
I have noticed that I can sometimes feel totally drained after one of my group sessions. It's not a physical tiredness, it's much more about being emotionally exhausted.
Caring for Yourself
When we care for others, we can forget to care for ourselves. And we can think that taking care of ourselves as selfish and certainly not a priority. However, if we don't take care of ourselves then we are less able to care for our loved ones, we are less able to do our work and help others.
This week I've struggled, even had to fight with many of my own emotions. And I've sat in silent contemplative meditation, reflecting on particular questions, to see what might come to the surface.
What is the point of fighting, what's the point of pushing yourself to keep going when the mind and the body are both saying "time out"? There is no point, we have to stop, we must listen and give up the struggle. We should listen to the signals our body is giving us.
Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves first, sometimes we have to place ourselves in the centre of our own life. If we don't, then we are no good to anyone, especially to those we are trying to help.
“Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our lives as it is.” - Tara Brach
So I gave up tonight, I have been totally unproductive and there's no guilt. What is the point of taking time out and then feeling guilty? If we decide to let things go, to stop the struggle and give ourselves what we need, then we need to drop the guilt too.
This is the point I guess, sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to do nothing, to stop doing and just "be" for a while. Give ourselves permission to stop trying to avoid the need to slow down, to let whatever needs to pass, to just pass.
We are not used to being, we are taught to be productive, to keep "doing" and if we are not careful we burn out.
If we learn to listen to the mind and body, then we can learn to take care of ourselves before it becomes too much. Pay attention to the signs, learn to give yourself what you need and remember you are worth it!