Recently I have been thinking about self-care and change. In particular, I have found myself constantly returning to something a therapist said to me long ago: How one takes care of a plant or animal is a reflection, in part, of how one takes care of one’s self.
This thought came to mind after an old friend called to say that her cat was in the hospital. Apparently, the four footed mischief-maker had swallowed a string that had entwined itself around some internal organs.
As she told me about the incident, and the fact that he’d been showing symptoms that something was wrong for a few days, I could hear the amount of guilt, judgment, and blame she was inflicting upon herself. Between tears, she wondered out loud if things would have been better for her feline friend had she’d taken him in to the vet a day or two sooner. At the time, she told me she’d hoped that whatever was bothering the little guy would pass and he’d be back to his normal hellion self.
Only he didn’t get better. He continued to get worse. And as he got worse, he attempted to get her attention every way he could – getting so bold as to pee in her spot in the bed. In his own way, the little guy did everything he could to get her to stop and pay attention to the fact that something was wrong. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until his behavior became very unlike him that she did begin to pay attention.
All of this of course, has me thinking about other things that happen in our lives in an attempt to alert us to the fact that something isn’t right, that something isn’t balanced. Perhaps these signals could be within an intimate relationship, where a change in dynamics is a sign that something might be a miss at a fundamental level? Maybe there are road blocks within your professional life around an upcoming or proposed endeavor? Or perhaps you may be experiencing tightness or resistance within your physical body and asana practice informing you that something may be out of alignment?
Whatever the signal happens to be, wherever it happens to present itself within your life, can you take a moment to pause and really pay attention to/address the concern? Its often said that hindsight is 20/20, however, just like my friend’s cat, I feel that the universe is always attempting to send us clues – like sign posts – informing us of the surrounding terrain.
Take a few moments to sit in a tall and comfortable seat, with your hands in Tattva Mudra (extended four fingers, closed together with the thumb crossing the palm to the outside edge of the pinky finger). This mudra is intended to help us connect to our highest Self – a self that is always able to navigate the signs sent my the universe.
Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. With every inhalation ask, “Where can I begin to take better care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually?” With every exhalation, listen to the response – not the one that comes from the thinking mind, but instead the one that comes from your highest Self.