I read somewhere yesterday that the person who started travelling to spread Buddhism had experienced his state of enlightenment and felt like everyone should find themselves in that state as well- and here, englightenment meant where one is free from desire and suffering. Yet while I’m Buddhist, I buy only a bit of that. To me, enlightenment is where I feel peaceful at heart and to get myself to that state every once in a while I practise self-care.
In volunteer work or any profession that involves a lot of unconditional giving, there is this term ‘self-care’ where people go through counselling and training, reading self-care guide books to learn the art of caring for yourself while doing what you love which may involve giving to others or a cause you believe in. It is really important because we live for ourselves and no one should have to compromise every bit of their life for someone else, our lives are truly precious.
Today I share with you the story of how I practise self-care.
In Year 2 I was under the most unimaginable stress I had never expected when I was involved in RGOM for the very first time. Then, I was still committing to a few volunteer commitments, trying to keep my grades in check and struggling to find time for my family and myself. Seeing the very distressed state I was in, my mom signed me up for yoga classes with my sister (first step towards self-care). From then I spent Sunday mornings in a very dark dance studio in the community centre with a bunch of aunties and uncles possible twice my age or more on our yoga mats, listening to our teacher and doing sleep-inducing work outs.
After the course ended, it was the end of the year and I started working in macs to save up for my next OM trip. The next year would not only be a new level of stress from school was a Year 3 student, but much more for an OMer working on weekends and doing the crazy thing that OMers do on weekdays. That only went well because of the team that I drew so much energy and understanding from.
And the way I practised self-care then was to spend time out alone because that helped me concentrate solely on what I felt, what I wanted to do and what I needed to think about. When you spend time alone, you realise you don’t have to meet anyone else’s needs but your own. The next year, this year, I changed a job but the same kind of commitments revolved around my school life and here I learned self-care from my family- my mom who sent me to pilates lessons with my sister, my sister who took me out running and chilling every Sunday and my dad who showed me that if balancing his crazy ass work life was possible, balancing mine with my own wants and needs was just as well.
And here I’d like to urge you to find your means towards self care, do the things that make you happy not because it makes anyone else happy once in a while and ask yourself if you’re ok and if you’re not be honest with yourself, and just take a break.