Tracy, my acupuncturist and friend, assigned me some homework after a recent session together. I had expressed a deep exhaustion and also described a plan to her to go back to school to get my masters in psychology. She looked at me in that wise way someone does when they see something clearly about your life that you aren't seeing. I smiled as I connected the dots. "OOOOOH, I'm doing to much. I'm exhausting myself." Tracy nodded. We discussed this idea of a cup of wellbeing. She was going to help me expand the cup and I was going to be mindful about what went into the cup.
She advised me to notice what brings my heart happiness and leaves my spirit feeling fulfilled. Ultimately, her goal for me was to come up with 2-3 criteria or things that could serve as my barometer for involvement in activities.
After thinking about this for some time I came up with these 3 criteria:
1) It has to be family friendly. This means that the timing either has to be fairly flexible (so I can participate with my children between nap-times) or when I have a babysitter/hubby to care for the little ones so that I can do something ALONE.
2) It has to be something that fills me up rather than drains me. For example, social activities can be either draining or enlivening for me depending on the context. Chit chat feels exhausting for me. I like to have a conversation that gets right to the juicy stuff (more how's your marriage than how's the weather.)
3) It has to feel good in my body. I can't know if something feels good unless I am paying attention to my body. This means I have to remember to slow w a a a a y down.
Would you like to figure out how to fill your cup? Try these tips:
1. Allocate twenty minutes of alone time for yourself when you are not feeling rushed. Sit in a comfortable position, and simply tell your body that it can do whatever it wants. You may feel the need to emit a deep sigh, remember a specific memory, feel tense in a certain area, feel relaxed in another area or even burst into tears or feel a deep sense of relief. Whatever your body wants to do, allow it to do it without any restriction. This is you giving yourself the permission and the space for the body to heal and refresh itself. In other words, your body is healing itself simply by knowing itself.
2. Write a journal entry or share in the comments below or here on what you observe when you become aware of your own body. Are certain areas always uncomfortable? If they are, what is the nature of these uncomfortable sensations or what adjectives would you use to describe them? What adjectives would you like to use to describe the sensations in your body in an ideal state?
3. Post an intent on how you plan on incorporating body awareness into your everyday life starting today. (Here's mine: My intent is to do a body awareness check every evening before I go to sleep so I know what my body is trying to tell me.)