When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectation that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
Last week I got sick. The kind of sickness that knocks you out and you sleep for 3 days straight. I am convinced that I fell ill because I was not getting the message that I needed to clearly embody a new me this year. If I was not going to slow down on my own to reflect and create a new Mantra or way of being for 2018 the universe was prepared to take me out for a few days and it did.
I was simply doing what we all do in this modern society, I was “having it all”. Everything I was doing I gleefully signed up to do. I just did not want to miss anything. So on Thursday morning I woke up at 5 am drove across town to teach a yoga class and then taught a few private clients then headed back across town to pick my up kids. I dropped my son off at Magic Mountain with friends and went straight to an active sweaty Yoga practice of my own, After that I taught another yoga class and then headed back to Magic Mountain where we ran around riding roller coasters and eating fast food. That evening after a full day at Magic Mountain I ran the kids home and finally taught my last Yoga Class of the day at 7:30 pm. Home by 9 and sick by midnight.
Sounds Great Right? Well… yes and no. Whats missing? Down time, quiet restful time, real sit down meals, nourishment, self care, self love. I make so many excuses to avoid self care and I consistently ask myself, why? I know that without self care I can’t care for others, I know that I am a happier and healthier human being when I include self-care into my daily practice. Why the resistance?
The first day of my illness, I suffered in and out of restless sleep on my couch, I had a headache where I could not see light or hear sound without shooting pain through my brain and the sensation in my gut that I was going to vomit. My mind and gut were screaming out to be noticed.
The second day I found my way into my yoga space where I wrapped my eyes in cloth to protect them from any light and practiced every single restorative pose I could think of while administering self Reiki. And guess what… I started to feel better.
I am a yoga teacher and a Reiki practitioner! I have the tools to care for myself. I have the knowledge to ease the pain. Why did I not do this day one?
And here lies the mystery.
My best guess is that I resist self care because I have not physically embodied self-love.
On paper I do all the things self conscious people do. I practice yoga (sometimes with kids in the room and often with music playing), I meditate ( sometimes in my car before school pick up). Often (not always) I do these things so that I can check them off my to-do list. When I practice this way these activities exist outside of myself. These practices become a fix for what I am not accepting about my self. My body feels better and my mind grows quieter and this practice will remain my reality on many days. In fact its better than nothing. In this context, this is not self love or self care, this is maintenance. I am not reaping the full benefit of my practice on a daily basis because I am not permitting myself to really absorb and internalize the experience. I am making excuses. More often than not, I am holding my practice outside of myself.
I fear stepping into my own self and acknowledging that I am worthy of all of the gifts I have been provided in this life and with these gifts come responsibility. I selfishly allow myself to break down so that I don’t need to connect or even admit my need for connection with other human beings. That in order to be with other human beings I must take the time to first love myself.
I am not talking about the “love” word we throw around that can often be confused with friendship, fondness or even lust. I am talking about that deep love that you feel heavy in your gut. That all embodying love that engulfs you like a warm embrace. That love that reminds you that nothing else matters. That fundamentally the energy that moves and creates life in the tiniest of hydrogen atoms in our bodies is magical and indescribable, that is Love.
I am Love.