If I revisit the times when I felt depleted, burnt out and overwhelmed in my life, I can also see that those times correspond to a lack of deep connection with my purpose, including my values and what I truly think is important in my life.
Burnout, exhaustion, fatigue, depression among others, knock at many of our doors throughout our lives, and if we choose the profession to stand before others to teach our skills and knowledge we need to be the best version of ourselves to do it well. So it’s important to have the tools to help us maintain our equanimity and also to help us regain our balance when we fall down.
We are all teachers in some way either formally or informally. Serving as leaders and role models to our children, students, co-workers and even friends and life partners. We have to consistently step up and be the best version of ourselves day after day. This is not always attainable as naturally we fall prey to our human condition of suffering in one form or another.
Two darts of suffering
Buddha explained how we experience the pain and suffering of the initial thought or bodily sensation then we deepen this initial hurt and pain with the second dart, with how we react to the first dart (also known as arrow). ”When an untaught worldling is touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, ……….He thus experiences two kinds of feelings, a bodily and a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart and, following the first piercing, he is hit by a second dart…..”.
Each day we are faced with so many opportunities and challenges to make wise and wholesome choices, to support our physical, mental and emotional bodies to uplift our consciousness. By holding our deep purpose close to our hearts we can stay connected to each moment, to make the right choices to live authentically as best as we know how.
Purposeful & connective living
When I begin to lose clarity on what is important to me, lose my awareness, I can disconnect from my authentic self and get caught up in my own story or others stories. This loss of connection and awareness with self can lead me out of present moment mindfulness, into varying layers of mindlessness, accordingly unwise and unhelpful choices seem to arise more readily.
By determining the tools and resources to support ourselves each day we can maintain our internal equilibrium and over time practice our ability to bring us back to this state (more easily and quickly), as defined by you and your purpose, when you are beginning to stray and move into unwise and unhealthy choices.
Start with purposefulness & connection
To regain the even ground, perhaps for some of us even, we need to make a real effort to claw back to balance, we need a starting point. Purposefulness and connection for me begins with CARE, my own personal C.A.R.E. philosophy: Connection, Awareness, Reflection and Expansion, an acronym I developed over ten years ago, to support myself and others in identifying and then realising how best they can live the life they want. I often refer back to my “big picture’ philosophy as a guiding light when equanimity and clarity are fading.
Let’s explore each of the four elements in my C.A.R.E. philosophy: Connection, Awareness, Reflection and then moving into Expansion, with a spacious and expansive mindset to be creative, with an open and willing heart and mind in each moment.
Connection with self, others & nature through various practices help us to embrace more fully this world and its experiences.
We can look at this connection also from a gross physical perspective through to a more subtle energetic practice. What are your daily tools and resources that support and nourish you at a deep level? Is it the physical practice of asanas, tai chi, walking, gardening etc? Or the more subtle practices of pranayama, breath work, relaxation techniques and the various forms of formal and informal meditation practice?
Swami Vivekananda states: ”Each man must begin where he stands, must learn to control the things closest to him”. That is from the body, to the mind, to the most subtle one’s prana (the vital force) we must begin to gain and maintain healthy lifestyles: physically, mentally & emotionally.
Additionally Ayurveda (the pure knowledge of life) the world’s oldest system of healthcare, offers much insight into how to achieve perfect health for our entire being. By working with the laws of nature and keeping a close connection with nature rather than against it, Ayurveda offers common sense preventive medicine tips for all of us.
Read on at …..Part 2/2
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