Having just returned from a week in Germany, working on massage, learning, meditating, living at a completely different pace - unplugged, slow, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and reflections.
During and up toward the end of my stay, conversations among the students again and again returned to the following; "I WOULD like it so much to even manage to have some of this stress free time at home - but it is so difficult" . "Or:" I have to finally TRY TO LET GO and allow this feeling of relaxation to LAST. "Or," I MUST do more for me "I MUST!
Robert, our teacher, and Zen Master, in his wonderful German "English" says "Look out how you deal with you. Be careful that you do not set up again under pressure ". The challenge, is not that I must exert myself now to become a better person. I come home and want to change something, I think I might have had the characteristics that thought and behavior patterns with which I have been pressured me, now just trying to let go. All this effort, however, can in turn lead to new fatigue and feeling, not create it the way I liked it!"
The Hawaiians have a very different approach. There is in each of us a built in sense of our own needs! Instead of this feeling of having to constantly put oneself under pressure to perform for the outside; for family, for friends, for work, for others, allow yourself to be more vigilant. Pay more attention to and LISTEN more to your inside. When I do I notice that - my feelings are clear. It's constantly there, that feeling, and it tells me what I need at any given moment. Internal guidance, all you need to do is listen.
When I'm hungry, I eat something. I do not eat too much or too little. I don't overeat, for when I do, I don't feel good. Have you ever been out at a restaurant or in the company of others at a gathering and felt pressure to order or eat more than you feel that you want to? Why? When I'm thirsty, I drink a little. When I am cold, I put on a sweater. Its quite easy actually. And the same is true also in the needs for movement, for peace and for relaxation. I try, and as well you should to to organize my time so that I can follow my needs.
The same actually applies to this recent trip. I took a week away from work, from family, from the pressures and stresses of life. I was away from my cellphone, away from my email. One way to look at it would be "selfish". How can you spend that money for a plane ticket, or how can you go when there is so much work to do. But I realize that I will never have the extra money for the ticket and there will never be a time when there is no work to do, so I just go. And it is that simple. If I wait for outside conditions to be perfect, I will likely be waiting forever.
You are the center of the universe, your universe, ( As I am the center of mine), your events, your breathing, sentient experience, no matter where you are going. Your body, your awareness, each experience, whether you are at work, at a party or alone, unfolds uniquely for YOU. And only you
are responsible for your mood by listening in every moment to that guide inside. Instead of what we usually do which is to be constantly put under pressure to persuade others to think better of you.
It is not about being selfish, it is about taking care of yourself so that you can be a better person, to yourself and for others.
fe"The question for me as I return to "real life, is how easily the good feelings I have when away are erased. The plane lands, the messages on my phone come rolling in, the "while you were away" emergencies...the feeling of panic comes flooding back, and I find myself longing for that solitude again.
"Oh, now the stress starts again and the difficult thing is to keep the relaxation mood now, but I have to try! "Nonsense! If you try to keep something, then it slips out. Try not to even bother. Trying takes much effort. Instead simply allow yourself, to exercise your feeling during the daily working life.
The people around us have their reasons why they think, speak and act as they do so. And often also feel they are under pressure because they fail to feel inside. Then they can not help but try to pass the pressure on us. Therein lies the key for you then: if you realize this, then you should be clear. People may have expectations and wishes for you - but you need not take part. That is their universe unfolding - and intersecting with yours. Don't let them annoy you, don't take it personally. You come to decide what you accept and what you will not. Clarity. Soon, you will notice less and less "compromises", i.e. doing things that you do not really want to do. And THIS is a really great way to learn to relax in the here and now!
When is a NO really a YES ?
So a "NO", saying no to others, is really a "YES" - you are saying YES to yourself. You will see that others will respect this more and more. Its not about being selfish. If you are hungry and you reach for something to eat, is that selfish? You know what you need.....just listen and act accordingly.
This is not an invitation to be a boor - and a selfish lout. This is not saying that you must get everyone to do what you want. Its not about other people, its about becoming attuned to and nurturing your own needs. Tending your own garden. Inso doing you will become a better friend, lover, partner, parent, child, caregiver.
Would you like to be loved? To be accepted the way you are? Here is where you start, with you. because loving you means you accept and expect others to accept you as you are.
On the subject of "Try" -
"I have to change myself, I try to change, but it doesnt last, or its too hard." - again effort! And then you think, "I've tried it, yes, but I have just not made it" - so again you have found here a reason to give up. But honestly, we also do not need to try anything! And why is that?
Replace the word "try" with "practice".
I When I say I practice it, I allow for mistakes. So today, If I find myself back again, under pressure, then I become aware, forgive myself, and keep going. Of course, I want to follow my needs, but I do not always succeed, and that's ok....its a progression, and a balance. But more and more, I try to make sure that I take my own needs into consideration, in ways that really feel good tor me. Listen to that inner voice - make small changes. Practice. Balance.
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.