In a previous blog I wrote about the ‘wear the feedback’ experiment that my very wise and insightful husband developed. This entry follows on from me implementing this experiment…
This week has delivered to me a very valuable lesson, one that I have found quite hard and at times stressful. I practiced saying ‘no’ this week. Without meaning to, or with any particular plan to do so, I found the strength to prioritize tasks that would be the most beneficial to the most number of people, even if this just meant ignoring the washing pile and instead doing something to keep my three year old happy, then in turn I went to yoga class in a better frame of mind, which my students then benefited from.
As good as the outcomes of this little experiment have been, I found the process very hard, especially when it came to deciding to not do something I had previously said I would do, which I did more than once this week. In the past I would have set aside my own wellbeing, ignored stress levels, skipped lunch and crammed too much into one day, this week I decided that I was going to practice what I preach and slow down, listen to my body and take care of my mind, slowing down the week so I could work and live mindfully, present in the moments of the week rather than living in a ‘to do’ list.
What I found most difficult was the dissonance created when I came to the actual point of saying no. There was a struggle and conflict within me, part of me that was horrified that I wasn’t worrying about what the other people might think of me, the judgements they might make about me letting them down. But then the newly rediscovered part of me, the part that is growing stronger ever day, knew that i was doing the right thing, that by looking after myself I was actually also taking care of all of the people who rely on me for genuine love and compassion, not just trivial whims for a cup of tea or seemingly pressing matters of business, but actual needs for compassion and kindness. And this week I was one of the people who needed my compassion and kindness.
I now know that regardless of my actions, people will think what they want about me. If it suits them to be cynical about an act of generosity or suspicious about my happy demeanor, then they will hold those thoughts for as long as it suits them, regardless of my actions. But i also now know that if my intentions are genuinely based in kindness and compassion I am protected from the negative thoughts of others. Those judgements can’t hurt me if I am focussed on the good that I am doing. I still have times of anger and frustration when I am confronted with such negativity (because I am not an enlightened being I continue to suffer in this way just like everyone else until the day I actually ‘get it’ ! ‘sigh’), but those times of suffering are much shorter than they used to be, much less intense and I am finding it easier to respond calmly and with compassion rather than react harshly and in a way that i might regret later.
And so I am guessing that a few people feel let down by me this week, and to those people I would like to say ” it is not without compassion that I am saying no to you, I hope that you will be happy, I hope that you will be healthy and I hope that you will be free from suffering, and it is these thoughts and intentions of kindness that guide my actions”.
And so at the end of this challenging week, i feel less conflicted about the choices I have made, despite a few people feeling disappointed by them, however, very importantly, I am not one of those people.
Compassion is an unending circle of loving kindness that flows through us, through others, and back to us. The take home message is: Love and nurture yourself so that you are healthy and able to love and nurture others. I once came up with a tag line for a business that was aimed at women’s health but the line is modified here to also include men and young people:
Nurture yourself, and your loved ones will flourish.
Allow yourself to be full and happy, please, if not at first for yourself, then begin by doing it for those around you who you love.
With much loving kindness to all
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad