Self Care

I have a confession to make!

I have been a hypocrite. Not intentionally. I could make excuses, but none of them would not be honest. My confession is…………… I have not been doing my homework. I have not been practicing very good self care.

I apologize and confess because I know I have pushed, encouraged and sometimes pleaded with clients to “do their work”, while I had been avoiding my own.

No Mud No Lotus

Improvements in mental, emotional or behavioral patterns come with a little or a lot of discomfort. An expression often heard in Buddhist teachings¬† is “No Mud No Lotus”. The expression points to an understanding that liberation from suffering, the lotus, has to come from mud, the suffering. The lotus has an inter-being relationship with the mud.

Over the past several months’ childhood, memories that brought emotional pain were rising in my mind and heart. Another expression often shared in Buddhist Psychology that relates to self care it “take care of your baby”. Your baby is your pain, your anxiety or depression. My baby was crying, but I ignored her. Even though every day I witness the incredible courage and strength in clients as they “do their work” and make self care a priority in their lives.¬† They press through the discomfort and shed familiar but unskillful thinking patterns, emotional responses, and habituated energies.

Ignoring my baby came to a screeching halt once I arrived in Plum Village Monastery in Thenac, France, June 24, for a Neuroscience of Meditation retreat. The healing was going to commence if I was ready or not!

Self-Care

A sort of internal earthquake erupted when I arrived at Plum Village. I left a small pool of tears in the South of France. I let myself cry and grieve. I talked. I let myself be vulnerable. I let myself feel the pain and terror I knew as a little girl. But, I no longer ignored my baby. I took care of the part of me that felt splintered from the whole. I feel very brave and began engaging in compassionate self care.

I am caring for her still. When I feel a stir of tension I let her know, “I have got you”. I am taking care of myself by having fun. I make fun a priority. I am taking care of myself by cultivating carefree-ness. My central nervous system is settling. I remind my central nervous system to rest and breathe deep.

The needs of my 8-year-old self were not met. But I am meeting them now. Something is starting to trust in a new way. A tightness is unwrapping itself from my core. I am taking care of my baby. I am taking care of myself. I hope you continue to do so as well.

From the bottom of my mending heart, Thank You to every one of my friends, retreat attendees, and clients for demonstrating the myriad of options we have for taking care of our baby and allowing the beautiful lotus to arise from the mud.