It is a little past noon as I write this. I’m sitting in Urban Joe’s, a quaint coffee shop in West Allis, Wisconsin where I live. Curtis, a very charming and congenial young man is working with his wife Danielle. It would seem to be the prefect Monday, with one exception – Las Vegas.
Last night was the deadliest shooting in US history. 58 innocent people lost their lives. People on the television as well as in the coffee shop are musing as to what the motive may be and how could this even happen. Questions you may be asking yourself.
Routinely I am asked if the world seems to be getting worse. We hear about terror attacks across the globe and right next door. The level of divide between people seems to be growing.
To me the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I believe, sadly, this sort of violence has been around nearly as long as mankind has. If we review the pages of history we can easily find examples of that. What has changed is the ‘closeness’ of the world. We can hear what happened across the globe seconds after it has transpired. We also hear about every incident. News that used to be relegated to the town it occurred in can now be viewed online by someone half way around the world.
There are two things I would like point out at this time. First is not to give in to the going of fear being pushed on us by the media. Let us not start treating each other with harshness based on judgements we have come to from world events. When we hear about certain groups of people perpetrating crimes it is easy to fall victim to the temptations to pass that judgement on to others who may belong to that group. The only way for us to overcome the social challenges that face us is through treating each other with love, respect and compassion. An “eye for an eye” mentality can only lead us to a blind world.
While we are on the subject of solutions, let us explore how we can help ourselves not feel overwhelmed by all the negative news we are exposed to. This is something I first wrote about in 2012 and several times sense. I refer to a story shared by one of my favorite philosophers, Mr. Fred Rodgers. He once shared a story of asking his mom about the negative news on the television. His mom gave him advice I think we could all use today. She told him, quite simply, “Look for the helpers.”
In the wake up both this tragic event, the recent hurricanes and earthquakes we have seen a flood of people rushing to help from across countries, to across the globe. These heroic efforts can get lost in the deluge of reporting on the Loss of property, lives and love for our fellow humanity. I encourage you to dig deep and read a few of these. See even in the darkest hours of humanity there are always beacons of light. Stay in love and light my friends.
This is a picture of me on the flight to Las Vegas this past December. I took my lady there for her birthday. Even on vacation my mind looks for ideas for improving the quality of my life that I can share with others, including you who are reading this at the moment.
Here is the idea that came to me in this particular situation. If you have ever been on an airplane you have received the safety talk. This consists of direction on complicated matters such as how to fasten a seat belt, or notice where a sign that says ‘exit’ is located. I have heard this educational talk many times and can almost give it myself.
One of the last things they talk about is what to do in the event of a ‘water landing’ which sounds very much like crash to me. In discussing how to put on the oxygen mask that will fall from the ceiling they make it very clear “you must put your mask on before attempting to place one a child.”
This addressed an issue that can sometimes be difficult for a lot of people, including myself. Those who really care about the well-being of others can often do so to the detriment of themselves. When we do not take care of ourselves we end up not having as much, or being able to give our best to others. I use the analogy of trying to fill a glass from an empty pitcher, just doesn’t work. The reason they tell you to put your mask on before attending to children is that you can only help them if you are alive to do so.
Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it serves a point. Always remember to take care of yourself. Only by being your best, can you give your best to others.
If you will excuse me that picture inspired me to take care of myself by getting some rest.
As you are reading this i will be in sunny Las Vegas. In doing so I am taking a break from being a Postal worker, a DJ, a bartender and to most extent an author and blog writer. In past posts I have stressed the importance of taking a rest and the ability it provides us.
In today’s world the importance of self care is often overlooked. There are commercials about getting ahead in business, in finance, in taking care of your loved ones and many others. These are for sure all important, but everything you do, including taking care of others can be done better when you take care of yourself. As I often say an empty pitcher can never fill anyone’s cup.
When taking care of yourself you need to provide yourself the undivided attention you would for a family member or important client. I have friends who have diligently carved out time for themselves and tell me they still feel stressed and overwhelmed. On occasion we will all feel these feelings, that is just a part of life. Here is what is important – when you take time for yourself, make sure you are really devoting that time to yourself.
These next few examples may sound silly to some, but they really have happened. I know of a friend who interrupts his meditation when he hears his text message alerts go off. People use their visualization time to plan and think about that nights dinner. This is really not our fault. Today we try to accomplish 25 hours of work into one day. Sleeping? Only if there is time for that. Trust me, I am as guilty as anyone of this. If we are wise enough to take this time to recharge let us use it wisely.
There are a few steps you can take that can greatly increase the success of your recharging time. One, let others know not to disturb you. This is especially effective if you have a routine time of day you set aside to take care of the important person in the mirror. Tell the kids every day from 6-6:30 is “mommy time”. Also dispose of any guilt associated with taking this time. Remember by taking care of yourself you will be better to help assist the needs of others and do so with less stress and more effectiveness. It is really a win/win situation. Next, turn off all devices. Put your phone on silent. You deserve this time. Finally, look into some clearing exercises that help you empty your mind before you begin. Simply paying attention to your breathing and focusing on that can work. Another fun and easy way to approach this is purchasing CDs that guide you through this meditation. All you do is relax, push play and you are on your way. This can be especially helpful for people just beginning. Another perk is usually they last 30 minutes to an hour so when the cd ends, your time is up. One of my favorite site is brain sync they have several different choices depending on what you are after.
The point here is to start the new year devoting time to the most important person in your life, you. Improved mental and physical well-being will increase your productivity and reduce your stress allowing you to be better at life and enjoy it more. Feel free to share how you set aside time and what you do to recharge your batteries in the comments below. Also feel free to share this post.