"The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else." - Carson McCullers
Since the last election result and the passing of my beloved dog I've been licking my emotional wounds and laying low. Besides focusing my energy on writing and teaching yoga I've implemented a new self-care routine. Yummy matcha green tea has replaced coffee and instead of indulging in sugars and gobbling on carbs I eat mainly healthy fats, proteins and vegetables. I invest in a weekly spa time but the biggest change is spending zero time on social media, with an exception of writing this blog. Caring requires the ability to create a safe physical condition where the mind can rest and the heart can flow with ease. My caring for others is concentrated on the immediate family and community. In turn, their presences offer the care that I need to strengthen my body and soul.
Studies have found that we pay more attention to negative events and comments than the positive ones. Like other human beings I have a tendency to indulge in the inner dialogues that focus on the wrongs in the world. This isn't a bad trait. It's a part of being a caring person who can empathize and feel for oneself and others. We're wired to be sensitive to any perceived threat because we're intelligent. Once an imbalance is perceived we instinctively want to correct it. Caring for oneself and others requires correct actions. To arrive at appropriate actions we need mental focus and emotional stability. The time and energy lost on obsessing over the ills of others weakens the will to discipline ourselves. It's a negative cycle that keeps us on the path of misdirect thinking, wrong action, and poor health.
Throughout last week, I asked the yoga participants to compassionately say no to the thoughts that carried the flavor of expectation and judgement. I invited them to simplify and focus on saying yes to the present feelings in the body. After the Restorative class on Sunday one of my longtime attendees affectively kissed my cheek and held my hands. She proceeded to tell me how much she appreciated the care I've put into my teaching and how the classes were the weekly highlight to her and her friends. In the state of mind that focuses on the wrongs I wouldn't have the emotional availability to feel her care in telling me how right our relationship were. In the caring mode her words and actions soothed my nerves and softened my heart. Expect nothing from no one but be vulnerable enough to let yourself be cared for. Allow the caring you feel to spill over to others, like my beloved yogis.