Life is hard work. I’ve read several social media posts today by people who’ve been on a fantastic holiday, had the most amazing time, but have come back so exhausted they need another holiday to recover. Even when we’re having fun it’s hard work!
Life is hard work. There’s the times when we’re not having fun, when work is relentless, homelife feels a bit thankless, there’s life’s sadnesses and sorrows, sickness, bereavement, traumas. Of course work is rewarding too, family life is often joyous, there’s life’s celebrations and gladtimes. Parties are tiring though. It’s hard work being alive.
My holiday has been a bit up and down. Some wonderful things have happened, but also some difficult and upsetting things. However, a holiday from work isn’t a holiday from life. And life is…hard work. This is why we have to be fit and ready for each new day. It occurred to me this evening all we need to do some important stuff to prepare ourselves. We have to look after ourselves. It’s essential. This is what I do:
1) Practise yoga. I love asana yoga and I’ve been practising for several years. It’s a safe haven time for me when I’m practising. Plus I’m stronger, fitter, more flexible. Everyone ought to do yoga, but you don’t necessarily have to bend and stretch and touch your toes to do yoga. Whether it’s the traditional exercise yoga everyone first thinks of, or if it’s service to others yoga, or prayer, devotion and mediation yoga, or reading scripture and wisdom literature yoga…or any combination of these; it can all be yoga. You can therefore practice yoga on an exercise mat, or caring for your friends and family, or sitting quietly listening to the rain on the windowpane, or walking your dog, or reading something that is good. Yoga is for everybody. It’s a discipline though. We have to choose to do it, it won’t just happen on its own.
Yoga means to yoke oneself. I think we need to yoke ourselves to the present moment and connect with our inner selves and with others. When we are fully occupied and concentrating on the present moment, yoked to the present, we are paradoxically liberated, detached from the past and the present. A witness, not a slave. Yoga is to be aware of things within us and around us, but also to be free of these things.
2) Drink water. It’s good for you. You don’t have to go mad with it, but enjoy fresh water.
3) Eat nicely. Enjoy your food. Try to prepare it lovingly and eat it thankfully. Think of all the people who have contributed to bringing the food to your plate. Cooks, shop workers, suppliers, animals. Think of the soil and the sun and the rain. Then eat.
4) Bathe. If you have time, soak in the bath. Try to make time. If you don’t have a bath, find somewhere every now and then when you can immerse yourself in hot water. It’s good for you. Sometimes cold water can be good too. A river, the sea…it’s exhilarating. Hot water is best though. I think so.
5) Sleep. Lie down. Take rest. If you can’t sleep don’t force it. Just close your eyes, breathe deeply and think of someone or something for which you are grateful.
When you wake, it’s a whole new day. You’ll be tired at the end. Go well x