“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” (Rumi). How often do we get in our own way when it comes to taking care of ourselves? Last time you had an opportunity to take a break or have some fun, what did you notice about your self-talk? Did you think that you were too busy, or did you feel guilty about taking some time off from your responsibilities? And then how often do we close ourselves off to love that is offered by another? Are we afraid? According to Steve Chandler, fear isn’t anything, it is just the absence of love. Let’s open our hearts to love ourselves and accept love from others. Let’s get our of our way. And take some time off!
I am on my way to Kennebunkport, Maine where I will presenting a plenary session at the New England Holistic Nursing Conference. My theme is about co-creating the future of nursing, holistically, and I am excited about it. I have been looking over my presentation and a quote by Steve Chandler really sticks out for me: “Darkness isn’t anything. It is the absence of light. Light is something! You can bring the light and there is no darkness. In just the same way, fear isn’t anything. Fear is merely the absence of love. If you can bring enough love, there is no more fear.” This goes along with the quote from Rumi: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Love has the power to heal. If we love others, and love ourselves, we are healers and the healed. We just need to get out of our own way and let the love and healing in. The same can be said about our profession, our workplace and our families. We can co-create our futures holistically by being open to the love we already have.
I had a great time last night on RN.FM Blog Talk Radio, talking with Keith, Kevin and Elizabeth about the upcoming Rejuvenation Collaboration IV. I will be keynoting the event on October 21. It’s a wonderful online event that is FREE for caregivers and others who want to learn about how to get out of their own way and take better care of themselves. When Keith asked me last night if I had one tip for starting the day out right and positively, I immediately responded with, WAKE UP SMILING! Our emotions follow our body language, and even if it hurts, smile anyway! It really does make a big difference in your attitude for the day.
I have been invited to teach some young women, seniors in high school, about public speaking tonight and about stress management tomorrow night. I must say, I am excited about this! At first I thought of it as one more thing to do, but now I can see that sharing with other people is exciting and just feels good. I have been cheerful about it and my creativity is flowing. I am really looking forward to this! And I can see first hand that caring for others like this is good for my health and reduces stress. Although sometimes it increases stress because I might have a lot on my plate. I encourage you to share your knowledge, gifts and talents with others to improve your own well-being. Sure it’s risky but get over your fear and I think you will find it’s a great way to care for others and care for yourself. So go ahead; Share and Care!
“You wanna fly, you got to give up what weighs you down.” This quote by Toni Morrison got me to thinking about healthy habits. If I want to create health and wellness, I need to take a look at what is keeping me unhealthy. Adding a new treatment or drug to my already existing treatments and drugs and poor eating habits and lack of exercise just adds one more thing to fuss over. Identifying the source of my discomfort is a better approach, before I start throwing all kinds of treatments at it. Simplify. Certainly butterflies cannot fly until they shed the remains of the chrysalis that protected them while they transformed. We all build up a lifetime of habits. Each habit served a purpose and we can be thankful but move on and leave it behind. Simplify.
Last Saturday my husband and I went shopping in the morning and planned to do some housework in the afternoon. When we got home from shopping, I decided to meditate before housework and my husband decided to take a nap. Well my 30-minute meditation turned into a 2 and a half hour nap! Wow! But my husband topped it by sleeping for 5 hours! And what was interesting is that when we woke up our first reaction was feeling “guilty” for “wasting” our Saturday. We are so very conditioned to think and feel that we have to do something productive all the time. Obviously, we needed some rest and self-care time. Why the guilt? Well, that was our first knee-jerk reaction, but then we changed our viewpoint and decided it was a great way to spend a Saturday. And it was certainly better then housework. So if you’re tired, release the guilt, don’t talk about what you “should” do, just … take a nap!!
I just started reading Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson and discovered a wonderful quote by Erica Jong: “Love is everything it’s cracked up to be… It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, your risk is even greater.” This reminded me of the quote by Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Like the picture on this post, love often asks us to go “out on a limb” to truly blossom.
Stress is created by fear. We are often afraid to share our true feelings, speak our truth or make radical changes because we don’t want to be hurt. This avoidance of risk is natural, and the way we protect ourselves emotionally, spiritually and physically. But I guess there just has to come a day when it’s worth the risk to confront our fear. For many years I focused on making sure everyone was happy, not making waves, and protecting myself and loved ones from harm. I was afraid to speak my truth and definitely hated confrontation. I finally learned that the fear of confrontation was more stressful than the actual confrontation. And I felt great after the confrontation. As Susan Jeffers says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Words to live by. It seems to me that love waits on the other side of fear. Walk (or run) through the fear and love is discovered. And love is sweet medicine for stress and pain.
I am in Philadelphia at the National Speakers Association convention and heard Scott Christopher talk about levity. He is a great, funny, engaging speaker. What really hit home for me was when he talked about how important it was to treat our family and friends the way we treat our co-workers. I agree, and research backs this up. Sometimes we give our “best” to our co-workers. They love us, and we are successful. Then we get home and leave our best at work. We don’t give our family our best because we are tired or burnt out. Who is getting our authentic self? I suggest that our “best” is our authentic self. And shouldn’t we be giving that authenticity to everyone? I read an article a couple years ago that said people who are authentic at work and after work are the happiest and most successful, because they are who they are wherever they are. It’s a freeing way to live. Thanks to Scott for reminding me of this principle of authenticity. Do you want to know the secret to a happy, successful life at home and at work? Be yourself.
Tony Robbins said, “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” So true. I know that when I withhold forgiveness I am only hurting myself. When I forgive someone, I imagine it might help them to heal, but the healing most definitely goes on inside of me. Holding onto hate and anger and judgment causes a cascade of stress biochemicals to launch in my body, triggering the stress response and causing high blood pressure, high blood sugar, lowered immunity, etc. Holding onto anger and judgment clutters up our lives. Forgiveness on the other hand has the opposite effect, eliciting the relaxation response and freeing up space in our mind and body. I am not suggesting you have to actually TALK to the person you are judging.Although that might be ideal, it is not always possible. Perhaps you could just get a blank piece of paper and write your words of forgiveness there. See how you fell after writing it all down. Then burn it if you like.
Is there someone you need to forgive? How about forgiving yourself first? I know you will feel better.
In The Time Warrior Steve Chandler quotes Shri Ravishankar Jee:
Sound when stretched is music.
Movement when stretched is dance.
Mind when stretched is meditation.
Life when stretched is celebration.
I like to live in my comfort zone. The only problem is, I can’t really experience growth in my comfort zone. I know that when I stretch outside my comfort zone, I grow. I also know that when I stay in my comfort zone and continue to do what I’ve been doing, this lack of stretching adds to stress. I have a misguided idea that if I just stay still, wrapped in my cocoon, I will be safe. But after awhile, the cocoon feels like a prison and doesn’t feel safe at all. Lack of stretching also adds to stiffness and low flexibility. So when opportunities arise, I am not ready and not fit for the challenge. And I live in fear. So here’s a challenge: Every morning when you wake up, STRETCH. Use the stretch as a metaphor for getting outside your comfort zone, into the zone of growth and creation. I start my day every day with a smile before I get out of bed. I’m going to add a nice long stretch to that, and see what happens.