.Burdens & The Energizer Bunny.

I spent half the day at a local Sauna and Spa. You know why? Because I wanted to. I enjoy life at its fullest these days. You know why? Because I want to and I only have this one shot. I was once told by a friend, “Each of us are living in the midst of a trial, have just emerged from one, or are heading toward another” which is true. This quote leads me to yet another often-quoted truth, “Be kind to everyone you meet. You never know what battle they are fighting.” Just be nice; it is not that difficult. I actually want to approach this essay from a slightly different angle and with a question. Life is not easy and with all the weight and burden that each of us carries, why would we ever choose to intentionally carry more?

Epiphany while floating naked in the outdoor sauna pool

I thought about possible things that weigh down our lives and hearts: loss, illness, divorce, death, financial stuff, worry, politics, religion, grief, guilt, traumatic events, tension in marriage or relationships. These are all things we carry on our shoulders. Many of these burdens are created by ourselves but others are inevitable and entirely outside our realm of control. Regardless of their origin, we carry them – each of us, on a daily basis.

Stress is bad

I read this amazing book a couple of weeks ago. A survey has been mentioned when children were asked, “If you were granted one wish about your parents, what would it be?” The kids’ number one wish was that their parents were less tired and less stressed.

Again, life is not easy. It never has been and never promised to be. In our new society defined by instantaneous social sharing, not only do we carry the weight of our own issues we also carry the weight of others. My best friend’s mother passed away one year ago and through text messages and social media, I was alerted to it almost instantly. A tragedy, and still so unreal, thousands of kilometers away, involving a family not my own even though we are very close. This huge sadness….. a weight…. was felt in my family. One second, one phone call, one wrong move, and our life can change drastically and forever.

Thoughts on Stuff

Since I am close to moving again, I get this feeling that every increased possession adds increased anxiety onto my life. Why would we choose to make life more difficult? Don’t add more stuff to your life. To me, it seems like many of us choose to do that exact thing simply by carrying excess possessions in our homes and lives. I live very simply with little possessions and I love it this way. Why? Because I feel excess possessions take up residence in my home and in my mind. They require maintenance, care, and attention. Every item I own must be handled and at some point, discarded and add obligation, weight, and responsibility.

Thoughts on self-care

Today, at the Spa I was reminded again how important self-love and self-care is. The wellness world loves to spoon-feed us ways to “better” ourselves like a baby curious and willing to explore and try new foods. Do this, don’t do that. Buy this, you need that. Preach, preach, preach. Add more of this, cut out that. It is all hot tips, must-have products that are useless. The wellness industry leans, perhaps, a little pretentious, along with capitalizing off of our insecurities with giant Dollar/Euro [insert any currency] signs in its eyes, to sell as much cheap stuff as possible. Don’t get me wrong; there are some really great products you can find while digging through the supplement and celery juice isles but you don’t really need much. (says the holistic nutritionist). Self-care is so much simpler. Start with this: Stop this tendency to keep going and going much like that pink Energizer bunny in sunglasses that bangs its oversized drum forever. His battery will die eventually, too.

Taking care of myself today worked wonders for my mind, body, and soul, and when practiced on a regular basis, can help me get back to go-go-go-going with a calmer and more centered headspace. For some, self-care may be Zen: walking the Camino, meditation, Reiki, Feng Shui, ideas surrounding identity, self-worth and hard emotions or other spiritual practices. For others, it is very necessary self-indulgence: reading, massages, mani-pedis, acupuncture or a glass of wine (or two) in the evening. Or as simple as treating yourself to ice cream.

With all this being said, how are you feeling? How do you know when it is time to amp it up a little more frequently in the name of sanity? Because remember, with all the weight and burden that each of us already carry in life, why would we ever choose to intentionally carry more? Stop being a Debbie Downer and unburden your life in the areas you can control. In doing so, you will find more freedom and capacity to navigate the problems and burdens that are outside of it. How about putting yourself first for once?

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