Mar 13, 2009

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Love The One You’re With — That’d Be You


Most of us have a hard time giving to ourselves.  It is easy for me to bend over backwards to do a favor for someone else but when it comes time for me to ask for a favor all the little voices go off in my head “your being selfish, you don’t deserve this, there is so much to do” and on and on.

But the bottom line is if I am not feeding my soul and taking care of me everything I try to do, everything I think I need to do is just not getting done.

So, I am proud to say that I am selfish.  I have come to appreciate the importance of pampering myself.  Not necessarily over indulging but choosing to do what I do because it makes me feel good.  Now I am not advocating hedonism.  Rather it is a simple concept of something called enlightened self interest.  I try in everything I undertake to understand what is in it for me.  It doesn’t need to be financial; it doesn’t need to be big.  I just need to know what the pay off is.  Am I looking for acknowledgement, to hone a skill, to pay the rent?   Knowing the pay off helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel.  So, if things seem to be getting get mundane I can do a quick inventory to see if my sol is being properly fed and cared for.   By doing this I can ensure that what I do does not feel like a burden or obligation.

        There is after all some logic to the safety spiel stewardesses go through at the start of a flight.  To me the most important take away is not where the exits are or where the safety lights lead to, rather it is the simple instruction, “Before helping someone on with their oxygen mask, make sure yours is securely fastened.”

          In the face of the current economic crisis this adage is something that should be on everyone’s mind.  Before reaching out with a helping hand for someone else, do a quick inventory to ensure your own house is in order.  I can’t tell you the number of men who I have dealt with in my men’s’ organization, MDI, who fail to take head of that.  After all, the benefit of helping others is that it allows you to continue to deny the level of your own personal crisis.  And of course it is always easier to offer advice than accept it.

          In the karmic universe, I had to have this lesson shoved down my throat.  I still grudgingly accept assistance from others, preferring to soldier on and struggle with what used to be simple tasks in the face of my impaired mobility and balance when it would be so much more efficient to let someone carry a package for me or drop me off at the entrance to a theatre.  But I am learning.   One of my great pleasures these days is a weekly yoga/Thai massage session.  It is nice to be pampered.  And although I know it is bad for me I cherish the opportunity to sit on my porch and smoke a cigar it is a kin to me taking some time to meditate.  I suggest everyone find an endeavor that allows them to put real time on hold.  If you are going to play golf, shut off the cell phone and leave the blackberry in the car, give yourself the gift on no distractions.  And do so unapologetically.  You’ll be glad you did…. once you past the guilt.

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