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Being Kind to Yourself
“I myself stand in need of the arms of my own kindness.”
– Ram Dass
Early on in my daughter Mia’s life, a teacher told me,“You cannot get sick enough to help those who are sick become well.”
Lord knows, my wife and I tried. We often ran ourselves to the point of exhaustion, sickness, and emotional distress as we tried everything in our power to keep our daughter alive, comfortable, and happy.
I’m not sure where the idea that we must suffer to relieve the suffering of others came from but it sucks. We feel guilty. I should have done more. It needs to stop.
Easier said than done. As a parent you will do whatever you can do to bring any relief to your child. What. Ever. It. Takes.
Sleep. Food. Exercise. Job. Spouse. Friends. Fun.
All become secondary in importance when our kids are sick.
And if they’re sick all the time, well, then we are lost.
Two things helped me cope tremendously throughout my daughter’s life.
1. The first was writing. I’ve always loved writing. It feels as natural to me as breathing (see #2). When I’m inspired, words just flow. So I began a blog about Mia’s life. It was intended to be a way of keeping family and friends in the loop because so much was happening and it was impossible to talk about it over and over. The blog turned into a beautiful thing, I’m so glad that I did it.
2. Meditation. I always thought meditation was something I’d like to do, but they don’t exactly teach you these things in school, though they absolutely should! Meditation has countless benefits that scientific research is now proving. I tried it on and off with little success – meaning I didn’t know what I was doing so I gave up. What I learned is that meditation is a “practice.” Which means you need to practice it every day, whether you want to or not. Especially when you don’t want to! Most simply, meditation is being aware of your breath.
Here’s a quick meditation you can do any time, any where:
o First, rate your stress level from 0-10. 0 being you are blissed out to 10 being you are crawling out of your skin in full panic mode. Just make a mental note of where you are. Give it a number.
o Close your eyes (but read this all the way through first!)
o Become aware of your breath.
o Notice your breath coming in through you nose, into your sinuses, down your throat and then filling your lungs.
o Pause a moment.
o Then just let it out naturally. Feel the breath leave your lungs, back up your throat and out your nose.
o Pause a moment and repeat 2 more times.
o Open your eyes.
Feel better? Feel just a little calmer?
Rate your stress on a scale of 0-10 again. Hopefully, you moved down the scale just a little bit.
This is a very simple mediation that you can do in any moment. Meditation is just an awareness of your breath.
When you are aware of your breath, you are living more in the moment and that is what you want to do—in this moment lies all your power. When you begin to live with more present moment awareness, you will be able to help those you love with more clarity and ease.
And they will feel it. And so will you.
Mia’s blog: zingoswest.blogspot.com
My website: noahzingarelli.com