Ah, Valentine’s Day…and more importantly, a New Moon tomorrow and the Chinese New Year the following day! That’s quite a week!
I talked earlier in January about the Chinese New Year perhaps being a better time to initiate all of your intentions for the year – it naturally has a renewed energy because it occurs with the new moon in Aquarius (rather than some slightly arbitrary Gregorian date in the middle of winter!). Have a read of Models models models for more about that.
This coming Chinese Year is the year of the Earth Dog. We’re almost through the last two ‘fire’ years (what with all of their firey, quick-paced and at times rampant energy), and our next two-year period will be connect us with the earth energy (and possibly the earth itself if you’re happy to take off your shoes! Love a spot of barefoot… : )
The earth energy is about support, and nurturing and this year’s ‘dog’ energy is about being loyal and faithful, as well as connecting to our intuition, and big sloppy kisses. Oh no, I made up that bit about kisses – but why not make sure there are some of those too…?! ; )
Hopefully this year, we’ll see some powerful moves towards healing the actual earth, but what I’m really keen to focus on today is about making a commitment to nurturing and supporting ourselves as a running theme for the year (and if this involves running, then so be it! ; ) And in particular today, it seems appropriate to talk about loving ourselves and some ripe self care…
Meeting our own needs.
Fully loving ourselves…
At least starting with sufficient self love so that we honour our needs and in so doing, nourish ourselves, mentally and spiritually.
Possibly it sounds easier said than done…but being aware of the need in the first instance – acknowledging it in the moment and aiming towards realising it (be it creating some time alone, reading a book, getting to the beach, going out for a walk, drawing, singing, joining a club, any club…but maybe a running one : ) is the initial stage to looking after ourselves.
You see, if we don’t satisfy our very base desires, the energy related to the physical, emotional or spiritual need is not released,. And when it’s not released, when we’re not able to fully express ourselves, creatively and outwardly (and in doing so, nurture ourselves), this energy gets held in our bodies.
But it won’t stay held forever. Energy’s natural inclination is to move. Not remain stuck.
So that ‘stuck’, held energy will find its way out – somehow.
Stuck by any other name
It might be released as frustration or irritability. As stress, or anger, or hunger, or tears or maybe even depression… The energy will find some other form to take, and possibly in some kind of eruption, to free itself; to endeavour to re-calibrate the system.
Clearly this kind of recalibration isn’t the most productive means of harnessing and accessing our energy!
Putting the effort into some creative endeavour is a much more fruitful, and flowing activity all round…
And only when we identify, meet and satisfy our needs can we be in flow with ourselves.
If we repeatedly overrule our needs, suppress them, quash them or just plain fail to recognise that they exist, and the associated energy will continue to build…and build. Blocking the flow, and further blocking the flow and causing more and more disharmony in the system.
At some point – when the flow has been curtailed repeatedly over and over – the unexpressed energy, the disharmony in the system, will eventually find another, internal, way to express itself….the disharmony, will turn to unease, which in turn will develop into dis-ease, and into a certain kind of disease…
Personal responsibility to self care
We are the only person who truly knows what we need. We cannot expect, and we certainly can’t demand someone else to provide it for us.
It sounds very selfish – me, me, me?!? It’s not like that, turning our attention to our needs doesn’t mean that we get / expect our own way, the whole time…! More, it’s about taking personal responsibility for our own fulfilment, so that we can, literally, be filled up fully so that we can go out into the world and be our best selves. The light, humorous, excited, enthusiastic, easy, imaginative, purposeful, fun and playful selves that we can be.
So, meeting our own needs – and first! (First, ladies. That’s before everyone else, for the record…) – is in fact the very opposite to being selfish.
In fact it’s the contrary to being selfish, because only when we are fully filled with love ourselves, can we be of our greatest service towards others. Only then. Afterwards. Second.
So how do we get to a place where we’re meeting our needs first?
It can be as simple as acknowledging that we need something to eat. Something nourishing and wholesome. And doing something about it.
Or knowing that we need to create some time to get for a run, or for a swim, or a coffee with a girlfriend, or to go to our yoga class. And doing something about it.
Or that we need someone else to walk the dog, if just for today, so that we can get on with that piece of work, uninterrupted… And you guessed it – listening to the need and then taking action.
Or to go dancing, or to stop for a moment to listen to the bird song…or to get intimate with our partner.
Or to take a fully rejuvenating break from our work, to go outside when the sun’s shining, and to feel the warmth on our face, to breathe in the fresh air and allow ourselves to be enveloped in the nature’s wonderful, healing, lifting effects…
It can be something really and truly simple that can create a change for us. To fill us up…
Right here, right now
And we get there by being present, and then honouring what comes up in the moment. It doesn’t mean being whimsical, flippant, fickle or bloody-minded. Being present means forging a connection to ourselves in the absence of distractions.
It means creating quiet around us for long enough (before another electronic device catches our attention), so that our mind can settle…to allow our thoughts can come up. This way we can recognise them as distinct thoughts, and know that they serve some function….
This may be either to listen to them (and then honour them! To do something about the thought!). Or the purpose they serve may be for you to know that it’s time to ditch them; that they are not in your best interest!
Connecting to them in the first instance is imperative…otherwise, you’ll never know if they’re worth keeping or not – and you’ll just keep having the same old thoughts regardless…(going round and round in the same perpetual cycles…of stress, or irritability; meeting the same hurdles over and over).
Being present means having sufficient quiet around us that we can explore our body. Move into the space…move out of our normal patterns and into a different shape just because we can. Just because in doing so, we really do shake things up. We start to ask different questions about ourselves (can we really get there / reach there / open there / move there…?!?), and in the questioning we start to focus on something different.
When we move we start to connect with ourselves in a different way, and on moving in a different way, into a different space, and on focussing on something different…the angst, the aggy, the narky, the moody, the irritated, the short, the sharp….the emotional stuff will let go. It just will. You will feel different as a result, and ‘the stuff’ will just, well, shift…
There is no one else who can do this for us
There is no one else who can do this for us, there is no one else responsible for creating our own sense of self-satisfaction. There is no one else whose job it is to love us first. It’s our job, and only our job. In requesting – demanding!? – these from someone else, we are asking them to put themselves on the back burner…. And that’s a game that is never going to be sustainable.
Honouring our self in the way that fills our being with that fabulous sense of satisfaction, allows each of us to move with a sense of flow, both literally as well as mentally…
Travelling through life in connection to ourselves, allows us to better know how to negotiate the ups and downs, the ‘what’s important’ and ‘what can I change and what isn’t my responsibility to change?’…’what do I need to let go of and accept, today?’.
Honouring our own space, our own requirements, our own needs with self love, self care and ultimately, self respect.
Here’s to a spot of earthen puppy-love this year : )