A fortnight back I attended a 2 day teaching with Rob Bell on all sorts of subjects. I’ll be blogging about it in more detail soon.
One of the issues he raised was a topic Brenda McGraw touched on last week – burnout, rest. And today I want to talk about another aspect of this – taking care of ourselves.
So naturally, there’s only one person I thought to turn to first.
I’m talking of course, about Ferris Bueller. He once said this:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”
A well known quote. And as we’ll see, Ferris nails it completely
Let’s begin with a simple truth about burnout, which is simply this:
How much we value ourselves is linked directly to how burned out we get. (you can tweet that).
People who truly value themselves, generally take more care of themselves than those who don’t. If someone has no self-respect, little self-worth, or even hate themselves, they don’t look after themselves.
If we want to reach our optimum potential, if we want to have inner peace, and all round good health – mind, body and soul – we must take care of ourselves. Not letting ourselves get burned out to begin with.
As ever, this begins with grace. With accepting the fundamental truth:
You are infinitely loved, precious, and valuable as you are, where you are, for who you are, right now. And as you were the day you were born – when you had said and done nothing.
You are unique. You are worth taking care of. No matter what your past, your story, your bad habits, your ‘issues’. You’re a precious gift which deserves to be looked after well.
Receive this truth. Know how amazing and precious you are.
Take care of yourself – because you deserve to be taken care of. And the world needs you to.
To paraphrase Mr Bueller, life in our consumer world is pretty fast. The pressure on us all is to keep going, to work hard, to play hard, to keep up. And if we don’t keep up then we’re made to feel like a failure. Many of us are terrified we’ll be left behind. And we suffer from one of the biggest and most subtle diseases in our culture.
Fear of missing out.
Or, what I like to call, FOMO.
The reality is many of us are afraid of missing out because we’ve grounded our value, identity and security in how successful we & others see us to be, whether we’re married or single, our wealth, our status, our importance, over whether we’ll be remembered. If these don’t work, then we feel we don’t matter – when the truth is we’re infinitely valuable as we are right now.
So we see no alternative but to join in, rush around, pushing ourselves way too far.And rushing around has an impact. What would normally seem rushed or panicky, becomes norm. We lose the ability to truly be at rest.
Which brings me to breathing.
Learning To Breathe
To get the most from our breathing and maintain a healthy pattern, we are meant to breathe from our stomach, at a rate of about 6 or 7 times per minute. However, most Westerners generally breathe from our chest, around 20 times a minute. And that which should be our body on high alert, has become our norm. So we barely notice.
Is it any wonder the number of people suffering from anxiety, stress or high blood pressure is going up?
I’m currently trying to train myself to slow down my breathing, to deepen it. It’s very difficult.
But when I do it, I feel more centred, more peaceful, more in tune with the universe (that’s a scientific thing – we’re all relationships of energy), and the divine.
And, I have more energy.
I’ve begun doing 30 minute walks two or three times a week. Steve Jobs used to go on walks, even have business meetings walking in the woods. Getting fresh air, soaking in the world. And in my experience this gives you inspiration.
Our bodies weren’t designed to work without rest. They weren’t designed with an infinite battery life. Like our smartphones, they need regular charging.
We need one day a week where we lay down the ‘work’ we do the rest of the week – whether that’s our job, our art, or whatever else we pour our energy into the other 6 days – and stop, and drink in the world. Do whatever feeds our soul.
For me, that’s walking. It’s spending time with people I love. It’s practicing slower breathing. Watching a movie. For you, it will be something different.
But to become fully healthy, to achieve our optimum potential, to have life to the full, it’s absolutely necessary.
You and I are precious gifts to the world. You. Me. All of us. We have infinite value and worth, and we are a valuable resource which must be taken care of.
And by stopping, resting, breathing and letting ourselves be put back together, we can pour ourselves fully into the work we were born to do.
It’s time to take Ferris Bueller’s advice. Stop and look around.
Are you with me?
Question For Reflection:
What would it look like for you to slow down & have a healthy rhythm to life?
Let me know in the comments below!
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