Friday, November 4, 2011

You’re Grounded!


Thoughts from my student, Susan, about the importance of self-care.

I fondly remember that corner. I was sent there as a child, not often, but often enough to know when I was in trouble with my parents. Followed by being sent to the corner they yelled, "You’re grounded!" However, to my parents’ dismay, they started to see that I enjoyed participating in this pre-grounding ritual. Slightly to the right of the corner was a small window that framed the front door. My parents noticed me gazing out the window after being sent to the infamous corner. They saw how I enjoyed the solitude with being in this small secluded space, admiring the beauty of the sun, trees, the finely landscaped front yard. It was perhaps a temporary effective tool of discipline, but more importantly, it helped me feel balanced and at home with myself being sent to this corner. It was a time for reflection. Needless to say my parents were perplexed. This was supposed to be a place of punishment, not a refuge. That was when my days of being sent to the corner ended.

Twenty-something years later I’m pondering the same concept and how little we take time to ground ourselves and take care of ourselves. With being a healer, I have been advised countless times about the importance of self-care. I thought I was doing enough, well apparantly not. I have been doing a lot of work on many energetic and physical levels. Integrating transitions in my life, healing my own blockages, taking care of my body, and working in other people’s energetic fields through my job in physical therapy was taking a toll on me. I am learning first hand that when we don’t make space to ground ourselves in self-care, then God is going to make that space for you whether you like it or not.

Oftentimes it occurs by a external factor such as acquiring a severe illness or getting physically hurt at work. Some people may push their bodies to the limits so that they end up having a mental or physical crisis requiring hospitalization. It makes sense, though. Our society repeatedly tells us to work harder and even play harder when we have that rare chance to enjoy our time off. I pondered on how often I was using my free time for self-care. Even when I was committing to self-care, was it true self-care? How often are we mindlessly placing ourselves in front of the television or browsing facebook? On the other spectrum, are we utilizing our limited free time from work with constantly being in motion in the form of activities with friends, clubs, and organizations? We can call it hanging out or having fun, but is it really self-care? These things aren’t inherently bad. It’s the attachment and how often we do those things. I am learning what may be seemingly beneficial in the short term may not be in the long term. It’s the balance that matters.

I was quite resistant to my situation. My ego desired for me to be at work. I didn’t recognize right away why God put this circumstance into my lap. Once I finally let go, had a conversation with God, and allowed myself to relax, I soon began to realize what self-care really meant to me. My ego was using the concept of self-care as something to "get through and be done with" instead of an enjoyable necessity. After being educated on various forms of self care and being an educator of it myself, I always took it as something I just needed to do in order to keep providing more for others. It was something that had to be done, but with a slightly skewed negative attachment to it. I never considered asking myself if I truly wanted to accept it as a necessity, a good thing, until now. No wonder my body was burned out and tired. Yet another trick of the ego cleverly disguised in different clothing.

I see people get burned out every day, overextending themselves instead of taking time for rest and reflection. I even noticed it in myself from time to time. Although I may have realized when I needed some extra time for morning meditation or yoga, I didn’t do it consistently enough to sustain myself. I found joy in my spiritual grounding practices, but didn’t make enough time to find joy in it consistently. God has certainly put me in a corner for grounding. However, it wasn’t for punishment at all. He did it so that I could see the reflection of myself in that little window, so that I could see just how big and wonderful I really am. But first, I can only continue to do that if I take care of myself.

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.
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