“If you do not know how to take care of yourself, and the violence in you, then you will not be able to take care of others. You must have love and patience before you can truly listen to your partner or child. If you are irritated you cannot listen. You have to know how to breathe mindfully, embrace your irritation and transform it. Offer ONLY understanding and compassion to your partner or child – This is the true practice of love. ” Thich Nhat Hanh.
In order to properly care for ourselves we need to take time to look within mindfully and compassionately, to understand who we are, how we feel, and what we truly need. This can be done in small doses to fit your busy schedule. Seek to give yourself anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour if possible each day, at a time when you feel refreshed and free from distractions. If you are tired or distracted your practice will not be as effective for you.
I suggest either time early in the morning when you are rested, and free from distractions, before you begin your preparations for the day. If morning is not good for you, perhaps you can take time on your lunch, or another time, when the environment is appropriate for your needs. Any time that works for you, is best. The point is to take time for deep inner reflection.
The benefits of taking this time for yourself are many, and will add exponentially to your fulfillment and understanding of yourself so that you can live your life to your fullest and highest potential.
Taking time to deeply understand yourself will add to your joy and peace for example, and help you to live life on your own terms. You can be better prepaired to both set and reach your desired goals. You will delve into your subconscious and better understand your true purpose in life, helping you to reach deeply meaningful insights into your life. Another excellent goal is to find and eliminate any self-sabotaging beliefs and habits. As you progress you will also reach greater understanding of others within your sphere of experience.
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” — Lao Tzu
Even though we are all very busy trying to get everything done in our lives, I promise you, that if you will take the time to really nurture yourself , the benefits will far out way any sacrifice made to carve out some time for you.
“If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” Thich Nhat Hanh
To help you reach your inner peace, I suggest meditation. One way is to begin by focusing on your breathing. Gently look within. Observe the thoughts that step forward for your attention. Simply acknowledge them, and let them speak to you. Try not to judge your thoughts or feelings. Allow them to have a voice. Consider if the feelings and thoughts you experience are beneficial to you, or non beneficial? Non beneficial thoughts and feelings need time and attention to transform them into beneficial energies. Think of a Mother with a crying child, how she gently holds and comforts the baby, soothing away the fears and frustrations, as she finds the source of the child’s needs. Comfort the hurting energies within you as well. Ask yourself what you need to live a happier, more peaceful and fulfilled life. Listen to your inner voice.
Naturally if your inner voice is telling you things that are harmful to you or others, I suggest getting a therapist to guide you through learning to heal the hurting and angry parts within you, until inner peace and healing can be reached.
If you cannot afford a therapist Dr. Pete Gerlach found on Youtube has an excellent series of videos and a self-help website that is wonderful to help anyone with a broken past suffering from abuse. If you are needing help to heal from psychological wounds, may I suggest this web site: http://sfhelp.org/gwc/IF/ifs.htm. Pete Gerlach’s work helps you to Break the Abusive Cycle and heal from psychological wounds.
Thich Nhat Hanh has many wonderful books available online or in any book store. I have found both his books and Gerald Jampolsky’s to be extremely helpful in healing wounds from my own painful past. Thich Nhat Hanh also offers many healing meditations to help you with this process. If you have a meditation center or church group you can attend for guidance; or have another author you prefer, as always use what is most beneficial and helpful for you.
“Forgiveness is an inner correction that lightens the heart. It is for our peace of mind first. Being at peace, we will now have peace to give to others, and this is the most permanent and valuable gift we can possibly give.”
— Gerald Jampolsky
Other things that can be helpful if meditation is not your thing, can be going for a walk and contemplating your life, your experiences, your needs, and ways you think of to meet those needs. Sometimes talking with a close and trusted friend, family member or therapist is needed. I have also found writing in a journal or writing poetry to be helpful. You know yourself better than anyone else, listen to your inner warrior to find the path to your best inner therapy work. The goal is better understanding of yourself, your needs, and how to meet them. When we truly understand ourselves, we will begin to better understand others, and how we can best relate to them, and live peacefully with them.
“Your body is your first home. Breathing in, I arrive in my body. Breathing out, I am home.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Welcome home to yourself. Let your time be sacred and healing. Consider things that are not serving you, and simply, and courageously let them go. Look to see what pain or sadness, joy or peace you feel right now. Why do you feel this way? What do you wish to change, or do differently to add more peace and joy to your life?
May your journey be blessed with the warmth of love, the comfort of kindness, the light of truth and the joy of freedom!