I have had extra time lately and have been reading more. I love reading and see it as a privilege to live in such a time with so much available. Some say we are bogged down in data and so many ebooks. However, I think it’s fascinating that people still come up with new books and research.
I personally think it’s important to keep learning and always stay open to new ideas and listen to other views even if it’s ” Not you’re cup of tea ” really. I am not rationalising or subscribing to a craving for knowledge. I am articulating the importance of never thinking we have learned enough. I am turning 50 in a few days and I have spent my forties studying mostly. This has come at a financial cost and also has limited my earning capacity. Still, I am grateful and appreciative for all my opportunities to improve my education and thankful for the lessons its provided.
I often find things that I think are worth sharing and rarely do. However, this self-care wheel I stumbled on is a great way of keeping yourself in check.
I think its beautifully designed and the wheel reminds me of the concept the Buddhist use in terms of the Dharma wheel.
It’s not linear, its a circle and you work on all these aspects at different times. The idea of linear learning when it comes to spirituality or emotional any many another aspect of life is unmanageable. I have often learnt things in my life that seem in reverse. However, when I sit with it and meditate and contemplate on, it was in perfect order. I think our minds like the idea of linear because sits with our logical mind better. Nevertheless, we all know life is not unfailingly logical.
All too often in life, logic fails to help and things happen outside our understanding and control. Grief and loss are a great example of this; it was thought for years that it operated in stages when in reality it oscillates. What I mean is you can feel horrible and happy all in the one day or even ten minutes when you are grieving and nobody knows when it will end. Consequently, this makes you feel on days you are back to where you started when the person or pet passed.
I think self-care is similar, we often feel we have great weeks then we feel like all our hard work has ended up back at the beginning. Especially in term of exercise, and spirituality. One day you think, “I have grown so much in my spiritual life” and the next minute you call inconsiderate drivers F@$#^&* idiots. Likewise, with exercise and diet, we train hard then one week of a cold and bad eating we think we are right back at the beginning.
Of course, it’s not true, you have bad weeks and learning things can be difficult if you start thinking in levels and stages all the time. The secret I have found is to be consistent in just keep the small steps, even when you feel like its all failed. Some tips I have found helpful; if you are trying losing weight have a cheat day once a week. That’s a day when you indulge in some foods you like that are not helpful in losing weight. Likewise in our spiritual practice, sometimes you need to lighten up and not take yourselves so seriously.
If all else fails, go for a walk, sit in the sun for a while. Do what you need to do to get your mind in a better space. Sometimes a cup of tea with a family member or friend helps. Whatever you do, do not give up on your self. Your wellbeing and mental health is your most important asset.
I have written blogs about my mental illness and for those unaware, I have Bipolar type 1. I manage this exceptionally well; due to great support, and excellent mental health professionals. I lead a normal life after years of struggling. This is due to great self-care and a commitment to small victories and persistence. I have had some dark times in my life, however, those have often lead to epiphanies and breakthroughs. Some learning takes years of setbacks and often it feels like we will never improve or even worse we are doomed to stay in the same confusion forever. We all suffer from poor mental health and some like me mental illness. This does not mean it not manageable and it does not mean we fail. It presents some challenges and often causes us to feel like quitting things. However, always remember you must never give up on yourself. You treat yourself like you treat your loved ones. You deserve your love and care and always give yourself grace. Also please remember to offer yourself understanding and space to grow and understand your self better. We are very complicated and paradoxically simplistic.
“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj ~