The Empty Basket

The Empty Basket

"You can't give from an empty basket." Someone shared that insight with me recently and I thought it would be a good jumping off point for this post.

Depending on where you are in the world as you read this, many of us are in the middle of the Winter season. We're settling in to shorter days and long nights. We're making plans to travel for the holidays or are busily preparing home and hearth for the arrival of friends and family.

It's natural to feel stressed at the thought that there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done we feel we need to do. In this time of abundance, our plates are literally and metaphorically, full. With so much going on, we often neglect the one thing we need most to help us manage the momentum of our lives: Self-care.

Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, I'm here to remind you why this is so important.

Most of us wouldn't hesitate to go the extra mile for someone in need, even when it feels like our own lives are at the bursting point. We feel we just can't turn down that party invitation or the promise of overtime (and a little extra in our paychecks). There's always another task, another meeting, something more we feel we need to do ... and therein lies the problem. We think we can't slow down, but that simply isn't true. Not only can we, its vital to our physical, mental, psychological and spiritual health that we do, and do it regularly. Sadly, we recharge our phones more often than we stop to recharge ourselves.

Self-care isn't selfish. You aren't letting anyone down if you take a few minutes out of your day to recharge. I mean that sincerely. People who love you not only want you to do this but they'll actively encourage it. (Those who don't are probably feeling as worn-out as you are; hopefully, they'll learn from your example.) It seems difficult at first, but self-care habits can be developed over time. Simple things like a regular yoga practice, meditation, walking in nature or sound healing. Just a few minutes each day, but the benefits are long-lasting.

So here's what I'd like you to do. Turn off your phone (yes, really), your monitor or whatever other electronic device that might be a distraction. Don't worry! Whatever it is will wait. Next, close your eyes and take a few long, slow, deep breaths. Imagine you are bringing renewed energy to your body and strengthening your spirit. Make each breath one of gratitude for your body, your mind, and your life. Remind yourself that you are a divine being; that grace is your natural state; and anything worrisome is a creation of your mind.

Do this for a few minutes every day, and remember two things. 1. There's no "right" way to meditate. Make space for peace in whatever way you wish. 2. If you ever begin to feel anxious about taking time out of your day to recharge, just remind yourself: "I'm filling my basket."

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