I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Just Be Awesome

How much time do you spend working ON yourself? I'm talking about the time you spend devoting to any activity which nurtures yourself, which helps you get through the trials and tribulations of life, which feeds your soul (creative or otherwise). This could be anything at all - going to the gym, attending a Reiki seminar, going to a therapist, meditating, eating expensive cheese...whatever.

In thinking about the time you spend working on yourself, would you say that the time you're devoting is a LUXURY or an ESSENTIAL BASIC NEED? Something you make the time for just because it's important to you, or something you make the time for because you believe it is linked to your very survival (emotional or otherwise)?

For a long time I believed (and still do to some degree believe) that working on onself was an activity reserved for those who could afford the time and money to spend on this sort of stuff. I mean, how awesome that you can go to seminars and howl at the moon while the rest of us real people are working because we need the money and wiping our kid's nose for 15 hours a day. I'm pretty sure homeless people do not spend time meditating, that people in third world countries who are starving do not attend workshops about healing the mind through massage, that people suffering in chronic pain might not make it to the personal trainer twice a week, that even your average every day man going to work to provide for his family probably doesn't spend a heap of time visualising and reading The Secret. I might be wrong, maybe all these people do these things - but overall, I used to think that spending time on spirituality (in whatever form), self discovery, and dealing with your own "stuff" was an entirely indulgent past time. I mean - honestly - why the hell are you sitting inside listening to someone tell you about manifesting your goals instead of getting your ass into motion and actually MAKING STUFF HAPPEN through sheer effort and hard work?

Why are you meditating on your goals when you could be actually out there making your goals happen? Why are you at the gym when you could be out walking for free? Why are you attending silent retreats instead of just feeling like shit and then moving on? I just never really understood how people found the time and the money for this sort of stuff. Just get ON with it, people. Enough with the talking and the seminars and the bloody self-help books!

But then, of course - life happened to me. In various ways, not all of them good and certainly not all of them rainbows and jelly beans and sunshine. Sometimes, people die. And business gets tough. And your kids irritate you. And you have friends dealing with sad things which make you sad. And your brother goes from being a brother to being an asshole. And you start to feel a little overwhelmed by all the stuff you have happening, not all of it bad. You know - LIFE... just happens sometimes. And so - I discovered that going to the gym was my one-way ticket out of the looney bin - as long as I was 'indulging' in getting exercise, my mood was much better. I suddenly learned that the LESS time one spends on feeding their soul, the MORE one starts to feel as though they have fallen into a black hole. I learned that at least some part of working on oneself is in fact an essential basic need. I believe life is much more about thriving than it is just about mere surviving, and in order to do that I need to "indulge" in a bit of self-care once in a while. Maybe even more often than just once in a while. And maybe it's just a wee bit judgemental of me to think that all the seminars and the books and the meditating is a waste of time.

So ... I've tempered my opinion on this somewhat. I still think that there are too many people out there searching for the spritual holy grail, people who are hoping the next seminar or course or guru will leave them happy, more fulfilled, more relaxed, more accepting of the lot they've been given in life. I still think that it's very, very easy to spend time and money in searching for the root cause of your misery, your lack of success, your...whatever it is you are unhappy with. I also think it's very easy to use that search as an excuse for not getting out there and just getting stuff DONE. It's well and good to blame almost anything - your childhood, your parents, your lack of self control, your messed up psyche, your ex-boyfriends, your fifth grade teacher, your humiliating haircut the night before prom - for your unhappiness. It's MUCH harder to look within, step out of your head and then actually DO the hard yards of healing and the hard yards of WORK which might lead to success and happiness. I recently re-read the book,"Eat, Pray, Love" and in reading it the second time, what really struck me was this: she travelled the world looking for solace, sprituality, and balance. All the travelling, eating, connecting with gurus, meditating, and having wild sex in Bali didn't actually do it for her. She had to experience the pain, live with the pain, hate herself a bit, be royally pissed off a bit...and just keep putting one foot in front of the other until eventually her life got better.

Her year of living abroad, looking for all this stuff? Indulgent luxury of the highest order. But even that didn't really solve a damn thing, did it? She just had to WORK on it.

These days I'm willing to concede that nurturing ourselves, even to a small degree, is an essential part of thriving (which let me assure you is WAY more fun than simply surviving.) At the same time, it's a little too easy to get lost in the nurturing, a little too easy to get caught up in the searching, and a little too easy to play the blame game. Looking after ourselves isn't just a luxury, but nor is it a good excuse for not just living our lives out loud, unapologetically and with great joy and hard work.

By all means, look after yourself. Just don't make it the reason why you're not out there actually being awesome.

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