Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting Around to Me

There's a whole self-care industry out there, competing for our attention with all the other fads and crazes.  But I'm starting to learn that maybe, just maybe, there's a reason for the pendulum to swing in this direction, in this time in our communal history.  Maybe, just maybe, this whole thing goes a little deeper than hula hoops and pet rocks.  Deeper, even, than body art!

The common analogy that we hear is that of a passenger on an airplane, who is instructed, in the event of an emergency, to put on her own oxygen mask before helping others traveling with her--even her children!

I am coming to the recognition that my plane has been stalling out for years, and that I'm still gasping for air.  I've been rushing around affixing so many masks to the faces of so many others for so long that my breathless and exhausted "emergency" state feels normal.  And what's more, if we listen to the common cultural refrains, this kind of stress is "a woman thing."

Suddenly, my body and my mind are telling me that this is not something I can get away with putting off any longer.  It is time I take what I've heard and read out of my head and into my life.  Though I can spout a good self-care line with the best of them, I seem to have some kind of relaxation disability that has thus far not been accommodated.  And I can't look to others to help me deal with this.  There is no I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) for us stressaholics.  Though a 12-step program might be a good idea. Or here's an idea--relaxation boot camp!

Anyway, for today I am making two self-care commitments.  First, I am going to make every effort to stop "talking trash" to and about myself.  And secondly, I am going to try to stop approaching every task, as my mother says, "like I'm killing snakes."  With all the yoga and meditation I am squeezing into my life, and all the exercise I am doing, these two problem behaviors appear to be part of why I am still so stressed.  Basically, the watchword is self-acceptance, or what Buddhist teacher Pema calls maitri.
Maitri is translated in a lot of ways, maybe most commonly as love, but the way Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche [Chödrön's teacher] translated it was unconditional friendliness and in particular unconditional friendliness to oneself. 
 Doesn't seem like so much to ask.

No comments:

Post a Comment