Did you know that the taking care of yourself is actually good for others too? This holiday season give yourself the gift that will also be for everyone else- taking better care of you!
Taking good care of yourself sounds simple, but it’s certainly not easy. As a mom I know firsthand some of the challenges in taking better care of you. I used to think that putting my family first meant putting myself last. It wasn’t until I got really serious about prioritizing my health, happiness and self connection that I realized what was good for me was actually good for my family too. Over the next month in this season of giving we will look at a few of the ways that taking care of you will be better, and a real gift, for others in your life too.
I know life get’s busy, full of responsibilities, and it’s easy to put aspirations on hold, move personal ambitions to the back burner, leave talents unpursued, and the stones of ideas unturned. There seems to always be something or someone else that's more important. Sometimes we even have a conscious (or unconscious) belief that spending time and energy on our own dreams is frivolous or selfish. We may believe that we are unworthy. We may shrink in fear or insecurity asking ourselves who am I to be pursuing my passions? We may even mistake the idea that having gratitude for all that we already have means that wanting more is a way of seeming, or being, ungrateful. By wanting more I’m not referring to material gain, but wanting to BE more. Often this desire to BE more is coming up from that place that exists deep inside of all of us where our true potential resides.
We may know the value of a healthy diet, exercise, and a good night's sleep- but what about the value of living a life that we love? A life that feels aligned with our inner call to BE more? What is the price we pay for playing it safe and small?
What if Edison had decided that studying electricity was too impractical? What if Hippocrates worried he would seem dreamy or offensive and never shared his theories of modern medicine? What if Anne Frank never recorded her thoughts and hopes because she deemed it worthless? The truth is that every great mind that has shaped the world as we know it started with the nagging pull of curiosity and the rush of desire to grow. If the inspired souls throughout history ignored or denied their call to greatness where would we be now?
The yogi’s have a name for the path we follow in order to fulfill our true potential and our life’s purpose. This concept is called Dharma and it also means duty or law. From this perspective it’s not a far leap to believe that it’s actually our obligation as humans to go after our dreams and live our deepest desires. When we practice uniting body, mind, and spirit through breath ( as we do in yoga) we start to slow down enough to notice these deeper yearnings of our souls. When living our Dharma , we experience greater health, vibrancy, inner and outer connectivity, and satisfaction in opening to our capacity to serve the world.
So what if your dream of starting a business, creating art, or going back to school won’t revolutionize our society- what impact will it have on your small but precious piece of history? When we actively embrace , and then slowly move towards becoming who we were put on this planet to be -we are not only coming home to our own inherent gifts, but we are also reminding others to do the same.
As spiritual teacher and writer Marianne Williamson says:
“We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”
In other words, when we make it a priority to tap into and explore our inherent longings and potential- however unrealistic, far fetched, or impossible they may seem- we are not only taking better care of ourselves and our birthright, but we are helping others to do exactly the same.
So this holiday season give yourself the gift of coming out of hiding. Share the dreams and visions you have been keeping tucked away. If you're not sure yet what they are- start to get curious about what they may be! Do it for yourself, to expand your capacity and experience for greater vitality, joy and contentment. Do it for your family and friends. Do it for your neighbors, your co-workers, and the kid who mows your lawn. You never know what future musician, president, environmentalist, or teacher your bravery will inspire. What will allowing your light to shine ignite first in you , and then in turn illuminate in others?
Here are three ways to give the gift of prioritizing YOU:
Start a dream, idea, or vision journal. Record your hopes and wishes. Writing them down makes them more real, and is often the first step in manifesting your ideas into reality.
Share your yearnings with a loved one. Find a friend or family member who will willingly lend an open, non- judgmental ear. Tell them about your desires, and ask them to also share with you. When was the last time you talked about what you want the next phase of your life and evolution to be?
- Set aside some time ( limited time? 5 minutes will do) daily or weekly to just be. Set a reminder in your calendar now! You can come to the mat, sit in silence, enjoy nature, or just remember to breathe. Giving yourself your full attention naturally brings to the surface the truths that might be hidden, buried, forgotten, or discarded over time.
Feel like doing some Yoga? Here is a class all about Dharma