Self-care is a fairly new concept in our culture. Most of us have been brought up with the belief in putting others before ourselves, which may explain the epidemic of chronic tiredness we all live with. Meeting our children’s needs frequently means keeping going when all we want is sleep, but, hopefully, this doesn’t happen too often; we have family routines which generally makes ‘me time’ predictable, and isn’t the same as our cultures belief in putting others first. Selflessness was often described as a virtue when I was growing up, helping lay a foundation for an abusive man to take advantage of my lack of understanding. The truth, I have learned, is we can only give to others from our excess – we can help someone move house when we have the energy and resources to do so; we can lend money to a friend if we have extra; we can listen to a friends troubles when we feel at peace. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish; it is essential to living a healthy life. Reclaiming ourselves from Domestic Abuse is a life long commitment in developing self-love. For me. Mindfulness Practice took a central place in my own self-care. Here is a list of its benefits.
Mindfulness Practice is a form of meditation which has been practiced here in the West for much of the last century. More recently it has been adopted in business, education and health settings, because it helps us drop the cacophony in our minds, and come to rest in the present moment.
So, what do we need for this practice? We need only our breath, and a place to sit; a chair, or on the floor, whichever is most comfortable. What do we do? We follow our breath, gently paying attention to how it feels, and how it feels in the body. We are not trying to silence the mind. Here is a simple guide for you to follow – don’t get too caught up with your posture, just make sure you are comfortable and your spine is straight.
Timing ourselves when we practice on our own needs an alarm of some sort. Most mobile phones have them, and there are Apps you can download from iTunes. This Mindfulness Bell Bar app is free to download to your laptop/desktop.
You may find a Body Scan is more to your liking; this is both mindful and relaxes the whole body, and is best done lying down. After a period of mindfulness, allow yourself to sit quietly for a few moments, and when you are ready allow your body to stretch gently to waken up properly. Notice any changes in your body. I hope you notice a mind which is somewhat quieter, and your body feels a little more calm.
Guided meditations are available on YouTube. Here is Breathing Meditation by renowned teacher Jack Kornfield, and here is Jon Kabbat-Zinn discussing Mindfulness for Beginners. Try this YouTube guided Body Scan from Mark Williams book Mindfulness, or this Body Scan from Jon Kabat-Zinn ‘s book the Mindful Way Through Depression. Both books include a CD of guided meditations.
I came across both of these books in a hospital setting. Previously I found the writings of Thich Nath Hahn, Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield accessible.
Remember this is a practice, a training in quieting the mind, and opening up space within.
I leave you with this quote from American Buddhist Nun Pema Chödrön
I do hope this has been helpful; if you have any questions please do get in touch. If you liked this post please sign up for notifications, and please do share.
Sending out peace to you.