How live-streaming helped me live again

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Covid-19 has taken a huge toll on me, not physically but, mentally. After cresting the half-century mark last year, I am blessed to be able to say I had never struggled with anxiety or depression. What I would have first described as a distraction slowly burrowed into my brain and riddled me with emotions and a sadness I had never had to deal with before. Having been an extrovert by day and introvert by night, I became overwhelmed by the isolation that came with being advised to stay at home and only go out in public when necessary.

Looking back on the past few months, I should have known I had been affected more than I care to admit. The things I loved to do in my spare time became a burden and I forgot the pleasure I felt when I cooked a wonderful meal for myself or sat down at my computer and let words cascade down from the heavens to help me write the novel I am working on that has been untouched since March. The passion I once had for my hobbies became non-existent and that made my sadness feel even more powerful.

But life has a way of kicking us in the pants and it chooses interesting ways to send us compelling messages that cannot be ignored. I spent forty minutes watching a live stream on Patreon by someone I greatly admire. During his video, he emphasized how important it is to put ourselves first and to take time each day to do small things that bring us back to ourselves. His message couldn’t have been louder or clearer. I had been so focused on things that had nothing to do with me that I had all but forgotten to focus on myself and the things that are important to ME.

I have not posted on my blog since April 27th. It pains me to say that. This space has always been my sacred space. This space has let me be myself and free the words that want to be freed whenever I feel the desire to let them loose. But those words have been muted by the blanket of stress I have let weigh me down. NO MORE! Today I take back my power. Today I let the words oppress my thoughts and unleash themselves. Today I will create a spectacular meal for myself because I am the number one thing in my life. If I don’t take care of myself, how will I ever have the energy to take care of anyone else? Thank you, Jamie Lambert. Your words did not fall on deaf ears.

 

If I lived in Boston, I would say Buddha is ‘wicked smaht’

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I’m sure we can all recall the many times in our childhood we were told to treat people the way we would like to be treated.   Do unto others.  It made a great deal of sense, it still does, and made us all (hopefully) more socially responsible and more polite human beings.

But somewhere along the path of treating others with respect and courtesy we may have drained our personal well of kindness and empathy and saved very little compassion for ourselves.  We spend so much time worrying about how we treat others that we fail to treat ourselves with the same dignity that we would impart to a stranger.

buddha

(image credit)

 It is instinctual to be concerned for others, to help those who need our help, but how often do we reflect on our own needs and drink from our own well of compassion?  We need our own help just as much as others may count on us for support.  There is a vast difference between wallowing in self-pity and allowing yourself a few moments to feel the pain of what is bothering you, to process it and to understand that giving yourself time to heal is, not just okay but, a necessity.

We need to do unto ourselves and give the same common courtesy to ourselves that we were taught to give others.  To do anything less would be a grave injustice. As Buddha so wisely says, it would make us incomplete.  Denying ourselves that level of self-compassion makes us unworthy of being able to understand the message behind the emotion and renders us unable to truly share the gift of empathy.

It is better to give than to receive.  But it is acceptable and necessary to give to ourselves as well as give to others.  Compassion is not something you can only share with those around you.  Compassion is meant to encompass everyone, including you.