As promised, here’s my update on how I’m doing with taking time for myself during the holidays with my family in Chicago. And you? Let me know below, where it says "no comments", if you have taken a moment for yourself this season and how it went. (The pictures included are examples of colorful decorations in the Chicago area … in our 3 degree weather)
The Report: Okay, my eyelids were drooping mid afternoon from lots of great food and late night conversations. It felt a little awkward to leave the group, but I said to my mom and sister, "Excuse me, but I need to rest my eyes for a bit," and set off to lay down for 30 minutes. I awoke able to take better part in the conversations. If you have family, kids, or other responsibilities, you still get to say, "I need to take a brief break …". Then take it.
The reason for this conversation about taking time for ourselves is not a superficial one. Many of us are good at caring for others, or focusing on everyone else but ourselves. This can be for numerous reasons, but the net result is a type of lie. We serve others as if being cared for is important, yet we don’t live that truth for ourselves. When you care for yourself, or love yourself enough to take a break, a walk, go to the gym, take a nap, a hot bath, or any other form of self care, you are saying you are worthy of love too. From this place you can actually care more full-heartedly for others.
Sometimes this requires that you let go of an old work ethic like, "life must be hard", and "others come before myself", etc. So I offer a suggestion; In the next day or couple of weeks, you promise yourself before you click off this page, that you will do something that would feel self-loving. Decide what it is and do it. Maybe more than once! (Be radical!)
If you can do this, I bet that your quality of life will rise a notch and your January will be a lot easier because you did some self care during the previous weeks of this season. But dont let me put words in your mouth. Give me a report in the comments below. (Where it says "no comment". Your comments are only seen by me, even though it looks like they are public)
Enjoy your time off, regardless of the length!
Here’s to your well being and happy holidays,
Do I sound crazy and unrealisitic to propose that you create some time just for you during this season? I speak of the need for it from very personal experience. I am off to Chicago to be with my family for two weeks, then on to Sedona to co-teach an advanced course with my friend and mentor, Hale Dwoskin (right), director of The Sedona Training Associates. Exciting? You bet.
And yet, so much to do at 2:30 am. It’s late! My eyes are drooping, but no rest for the weary, right? Wrong. What rule book is that written in? Well, I admit I had been following whoever’s rulebook that was, but not for long.
See the thing is, what quality of life do you have if you are always working to check things off the non-ending "to-do" list? So here’s my agreement with myself. Listen carefully, because I propose you do the same.
In the coming two weeks, I will consciously keep my eyes open for moments or more when I can take care of myself. If that means saying to my family, "Excuse me", and escaping to my room to rest or take a walk, then that is what I will do. Now if you have kids or responsibilities, this means you summon up the courage (and self-respect) and ask for support to have a break, no matter how short.
Okay, that’s my proposal. Are you in? Write a comment below if you are willing to join this revolution and take time for yourself in the next couple of weeks. I’d love to know. I will also post a blog about my progress while I am with my family. Above all, be open to the discovery that working hard and non-stop is a habit and in breaking it, you may just find the quality of your life kicks up a very important notch.
Here’s to your time for you.
For your freedom,
Okay, it’s true. I cried in Carnegie Hall. You listen to Peter, Paul and Mary sing Where Have All the Flowers Gone during the holidays with a few thousand people from all around the world singing along and it might stir up some emotions as well. Add a world-class choir (with my friend, Marcela, in it) filling the hall with angelic music. I know it all may sound a bit silly, but let me say more.
In these days of pessimism and people feeling separate from their neighbors, much less other nations, hearing PP&M sing from their hearts about the need to move past war and hatred, somehow you could feel in the hall the great desire for oneness. But more importantly, the hall was actually filled with it, this common sense of a shared experience, a shared destiny.
Mary represented this idea well in one of her songs about walls coming down. The refrain was "If there is any hope for love at all, some walls must fall." So in this holiday time, I wish for each of you, to be able to love others, but most importantly to love yourself. It means some walls must fall. I speak here of the walls within you that developed at some forgotten time, that perceive the world as unsafe, regardless of the fact that in this moment in this chair where you sit, most likely you are safe. With time these walls give rise to armor around the heart, supposedly to keep pain out, but in truth locking pain in.
This armor creates a deep sense of aloneness and loneliness. This can mean in your relationships with your teenagers, your boss, your partner or friend, or even the counterperson in the local store.
So, my dear fellow journeyers during these times of great change, as best you can, consider seeing the depth of separation you feel, and letting it go, if even for this one tender moment. Take a breath, lower your shoulders, and take a break from holding the fortress gates closed protecting the city called "you". It takes a lot of energy to keep them closed. You deserve a rest. This break wont be given by some unknown person you are waiting for in some fantasy who will "save" you from your pain. This lifetime is short. Your break is waiting for you now, this moment.
For loving help in letting go of this habit of "self-protection" and discovering who you are beyond fear, explore this site (See Calendar in the link bar) for when and where we will be offering the chance to learn this simple yet life-saving skill.
For now, I wish you the greatest of holidays and a most rewarding inner peace.
PS: One thing that made the evening so special was sharing it with dear friends. Marcela was on stage in the choir; James, my best buddy; and Helene who many of you know, my senoir associate and dear friend. Thanks for the fun!