May 3 – “Turn The Boat Around”

I was so happy to start my course on Mindfulness Meditation today.  The instructor, Dr. Jaak Reichmann has helped so many people in Barrie to better handle the stresses of life through disciplines of mindfulness.  I really wanted to see what he had to offer and am grateful to be a part of this class. 

It was awesome. I loved it.  But here’s the problem….

I fell asleep.  No, seriously, I fell asleep.

Dr. Reichmann was doing a guided meditation in which he invited us to close our eyes and focus on our breathing.  I closed my eyes, focused on my breathing, and the next thing I know I was slumped in my chair, breathing so deeply it could be mistaken for snoring. 

So the question is, what did I learn today?  I learned that I’m tired.  It’s not what I expected to learn, but maybe its an important lesson nonetheless.  One of the goals of a sabbatical is “rest”.  I need to rest.  And part of learning to rest, is learning the art of self-care.    

One of my favourite passages in the Bible takes place when Jesus is in a boat with his disciples. He rounds the corner of a peninsula and sees a beach packed with people. They are all wanting his time and attention. Jesus realized that he was not ready for the crowds, and he asked the disciples to turn the boat around.  They did.  And Jesus went to another shore where he spent time alone, recharging his batteries. Only then did he return to the crowds.

We all need to know when it’s time to “turn the boat around.”  We need to recognize signs of our own exhaustion and fatigue and give ourselves permission to take a time-out. The crowd will always be there, but don’t they deserve the best that you have to offer? You can’t be the best, without taking moments to take care of your own needs.

Someone once said that “self-care is not selfish.  For no one can serve from an empty vessel”.

There are times when we all need to “turn the boat around”. So why don’t we?  Because we think those on the shore will be mad at us, or resent us.   Or maybe we think that those on shore have needs more important than our own.

Guess what?  They don’t. 

We all owe it to ourselves to live our lives from a place of peace and balance.  To get there, we have to be little selfish from time to time, and carve out moments and experiences to do whatever it is that brings those qualities to life within us (AND NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!!!!)  Remember, how you treat yourself is how you are inviting the world to treat you.

Today was a lesson about mindfulness AND a lesson about self-care.  What a great day.  Once again I am grateful for these sabbatical weeks to “turn my boat around”.