"Living against your body clock — as so many of us do — can affect your health and well-being in myriad ways." Olivia Judson, The New York Times - Dec 24, 2009
What gift will you give yourself?
It's the season of Frazzled Women, a friend of mine observed yesterday. And men, too, if Beloved is any measure - he's been running around coordinating a Christmas dinner at a Hartford soup kitchen among a myriad of other things, all while fighting a cold.
And yet, in this darkest part of the year, our mammalian bodies are telling us to sleep, to rest, to slow down and dream. It's this living out of synchrony with our bodies and our environment - our real environment, not the ones we attempt to create for ourselves - that leads to so much chronic sickness, to fatigue, and even to weight gain.
science is only now catching up to what everyone's body instinctively and intuitively knows: living out of harmony with our own intrinsic physical rhythms not only makes us tired and stressed, it makes us fat and sick in the long run.
The gift the Angels urge all of us to give ourselves is love...the kind of Love that gives us the strength to say "no" when pushed to the limit of what we can reasonably accomplish or achieve in one day, one hour or even five minutes; the kind of Love that gives us the ability to close the doors, turn off the phones, the lights and the alarms and allows us time to rest, to sleep, to simply do nothing, even as the silent trees outside my window aren't really doing anything in particular, except Being; the kind of Love that enables us to choose what we put into our bodies with the same tender care or sense of responsibility so many of us shower on those around us.
The point, the Angels say, is that without the experience of true Self-Love, a person will have a very difficult time being truly loving to anyone else. how can you know how to treat your neighbor like yourself, after all, if you've become so used to denying, to denigrating, to punishing your own Self, you've become innured to your own pain? if you don't accept your own needs, it can become difficult to understand anyone else's.
it is in this way that we inflict the numerous thoughtless hurts all of us do. we're so used to treating ourselves badly (or allowing ourselves to be treated badly in the name of whatever virtue we think we're serving) that for the most part, we don't recognize when we're being unkind to others. i have seen time and time again that most people i know don't set out intentionally to do harm or to cause pain - it's that so innured are we all by our own pain, our own calluses and scars and missing pieces, we cannot recognize the suffering we inadvertently cause.
if we want peace for the world, say the Angels, we can begin by making peace with every aspect of our Selves - including our appetites, our hungers and all our physical needs. if we would be healers in the world, begin by loving the individual wounds each of us possess. the more we work to accept - not necessarily to heal - our own woundings, the more aware we become to how our actions and our words affect others.
some people - like mother theresa and nelson mandela - are called to work for peace on a global scale. right now, many people i admire and a few i know personally are preparing to go to one of the most historically war-torn and wounded areas of the world and march for peace. however, peace is not something that can really be imposed from outside. real peace, true peace, the peace that leads to not wanting to harm one's neighbor in the first place, comes in some measure from a deep sense of self-acceptance....of one's WHOLE self, not just the socially acceptable or more readily controllable parts.
the Angels urge all of us to take some time in the midst of the lights and the caroling and the gifting and the gratitude and the chaos to do something kind for yourself that no one else knows to do as well as you. sink and relish and revel in that experience ... give to your Self some of the energy you are doubtlessly expending on everyone and everything else on your lists. throughout the days ahead, be kind and gentle to your Self. listen to the Child who lives in you, and allow her or him to have her holiday, too.
the Angels are all around us and we truly are Loved.
and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.