I’ve started to take a closer look at self-care and trying to understand what that means for me in terms of embracing my body and mind.
What started to emerge for me as primary is a feeling of compassion for my body-mind, which is a switch from wanting to escape it. When I made the decision to dive deeper into my physical form, I resisted the memories and the sensations. But then, I noticed that compassion was possible and inevitable.
Only a few people in this world felt sincere compassion for me. True compassion requires a kindness that transcends requirements for personal gain. Most relationships are tacit agreements about give and take, but compassion only radiates outward. I reengaged the relationship with my body-mind from a space of compassion and it became easier to explore the memories and the sensations. I discovered that I am a living library.
As I felt compassion catalyze union of spirit and body-mind, I began to have insights about something as basic as food. I used to not care what I ate, but now I am starting to recognize which foods are best for my body. For whatever reason, I can only eat fruits, vegetables, and lean meats – with lots of water and almond milk. And, I learned that I don’t tolerate dairy or bread or nuts. Now my body feels calmer. I rarely feel hungry too. The pain that I used to feel continuously (fybromyalgia) has quieted down. On several days of the week, it feels great to do an intermittent fast – not eat after lunch until the next day, and my mind feels clearer.
I am paying attention to the muscles in my body – are they relaxed or tense? The trauma and PTSD make it very difficult to relax the muscles – the chemistry of fight/flight is deeply programmed into the body, always ready for some threat. I started noticing my shoulders – they were always rising up to my ears! When I practice releasing them and relaxing, I noticed something surprising – the body is actually uncomfortable with relaxing because it feels unsafe. Nevertheless, I persevere and continue to practice releasing tension throughout the day – with all of the uncomfortable feeling this brings up.
The ability to feel compassion for myself has opened new doors for relating to how I can lovingly work with my body to let go, release the trauma, and to integrate spirit. It’s the healthiest relationship I had in my life.
My job search has also gone beyond just looking for a paycheck. As I look for jobs and apply, I try to find something that I would find interesting. I think teaching was quickly very boring and tedious for me, except for the times I was directly interacting with the students. Unfortunately, the way that job is structured now is there is too much overhead – teachers are not expected just to teach but to do many extra things, and the work pace is not sustainable. Besides, the material I taught in high school was at such a basic level that it was boring for me – I began to lose interest, but felt compelled to continue for a paycheck.
Now, I feel differently about my relationship to work – I have to enjoy it and I no longer feel the need to overwork. I would also like to be surrounded by intelligent, creative people who are fun to talk to. In school systems, all you hear is mostly gossip, which I find both boring and draining. I feel relieved that I was laid off because it gave me the opportunity to align my life with something new and different. Of course, I am facing some serious challenges returning to the private sector at my location and the experience gap. But, somehow, I just keep trying and acquiring new skills and applying.
I am noticing positive changes in my worldly life as I bring spirit into the body. I am understanding what I am more holistically. It’s becoming clear that enlightenment without integration with the body-mind is incomplete. Once the being is whole and ran from the vantage point of spirit, the body and the mind follow easily. Then, life is more deeply felt and appreciated, even when situations are uncertain.
I’ve talked to enough people to know that uncertainty and change are frightening. Fear can be paralyzing and a person feels stuck, unable to take key steps to follow one’s dreams, interests, and passions. Often, complacency sets in, and one becomes convinced that it’s not necessary to try harder or to discover, express, and hone the outpouring of our unique being.
Living from spirit makes it easier to be patient while moving in a new direction, to try new things – even unsuccessfully, and to keep adjusting without self-criticism.
I was told by someone recently that I am the most resilient person they have ever met – that I’ve been through so much and still am able to function, explore new pathways, and move toward healing. I hadn’t considered myself resilient. However, now I can see that I kept going where possibly some may have completely collapsed. A hard life is difficult to understand for those who did not have the experiences – even the people closest to me did not understand what I had survived. I came close to collapse many times, but somehow I would pull up.
My children see me model this resilience, as I take steps to make the best of what I am given – right in front of their eyes. They’ve seen me go through rough patches, and then they’ve seen me rise up with even greater strength while also encouraging and guiding them through their struggles.
Self-care is only possible when spirit stops avoiding the body-mind and embraces it with profound love and compassion. The body ceases to be a burden or a chore and is ignited and propelled into a whole new level of discovery and expression. I understand that now….