The Measure We Expect

Dorothy had the yellow brick road. I had a yellow tunnel this Sunday as I went for a walk. It had rained the day before – yellow leaves were still on the trees but a lot had fallen to the trail. All that amazing brightness jolted me awake.

I had been having a busy morning running down a to-do list that was unrealistically too long to accomplish in one day but I was determined.  The dogs needed to go outside so I decided on a quick walk for them to do their business and then back to ‘the list’.  But as I came around a corner and entered that golden tunnel I realized (without having to get all the way to Oz) that right there outside in the sun was where I needed to be.  I took the long loop on the trail and stayed out for an hour.  I enjoyed it so much I went back out that evening on a jog with the dogs – AFTER doing some yard work…which coincidentally was not on my to-do but I added it just so I could be in the fresh air.

And this is my lesson about self-care, in order for it to be effective you really do have to love yourself.  You cannot be Dorothy wandering new lands looking for someone else to give her what her heart needs (spoiler alert – she ‘wakes’ up to be exactly where she wanted). What I mean is you have to feel that love as a dedication or passion waaaaaaay deep down in your heart and soul.  Activate YOUR joy without any obligation.   Sunday, I played outside like I was five years old again because I wanted to and not because I felt I had to.

For many, the very early stages of self-care is to commit to a routine. For many that routine has a beneficial goal but why do we ultimately start it – because we are dissatisfied. We determine we are somehow not fit, in pain, we need some change. And I think that is one fundamental reason why so many fall of the self-care routine wagon. What happens when you feel more satisfied? You’ve lost the intrinsic drive and you might need more negative motivation to get back on the wagon. Definitely we need that initial impetus to grow. We definitely need to develop a commitment to a practice, a custom. But from the very beginning we should also be fostering the seeds of our passion and joy.

^Yes, this is a variation on Matthew 7:2: and the measure you use will be the measure you receive. And also goes along with Ahimsa or non-violence; one of the yoga ‘Yamas’ of conduct. This non-violence means both physical and mental AND this non-violence also means outwardly toward others or inwardly toward yourself. In what ways do you limit the joys you get by your thoughts toward yourself?

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Coro at Unsplash.com

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