Restoring Our Selves
Such a strange time we live in. Feels like dis-ease is off the charts in every area of life. I am not talking about a pandemic, though the consequences of it have certainly had an effect on people’s overall well being. That’s not what I am here to focus on today. I actually want to talk about self-care. Not the way you typically think of self-care. This is not a blog about bubble baths and candles. This is something very different. A bubble bath can help for a few hours, but rather than needing an escape to a hot bath, I want to talk about the kind of self care that reduces the need to escape to a hot bath. A nice bath should be something one can enjoy, not a desperate escape from reality in an attempt at self care. It’s no wonder that those who are burnt out scoff at the idea of a hot bath so often. I imagine they are thinking “yeah right” Or “uh-huh, and when do you propose I find time for THAT?”. In order to create an atmosphere for ourselves that allows us to maintain an environment of daily self care, we need to look at what is causing all this turmoil and anxiety in society. We want a cure, not a band-aid.
According to Anodea Judith and Suzanne Vega, all humans have 7 basic rights. When those rights are violated, we become injured and broken by way of energy imbalance, in our Chakras. True self care isn’t about a bath, or a candle, or any other ritual. Self care is about creating an environment for oneself that allows us to meet these 7 basic needs as a rule for living our best life. When you create a healthy, balanced environment for yourself, you no longer find yourself needing to escape and can focus on living your best life. So, maybe a bath is where you find peace. Wonderful. Then lets find a way to fit it into your life regularly, so that you don’t have to seek it out in a state of disfunction or overwhelm. So that you can really enjoy it, rather than spend your time thinking that it will be over too soon and you will have to go back to the stressors and chaos of life.
There are some really great things about the times we live in, too. One of those things is science. It is no longer “crazy talk” to speak of the energy that lives in us, around us, and in every living thing. We ARE energy. Science has given us indisputable evidence that every living thing is created and sustained by energy. And when that energy is not properly balanced, it can create a whole host of issues for us to try to resolve.
One of my favorite books of all time is “The Sevenfold Journey” by Anodea Judith and Selene Vega. This book helps us understand how energy and the Chakras work. The authors do an excellent job of simplifying the information to laymen’s terms, and provide us with a wonderful array of tools for helping us to get those Chakras balanced. That is the self care I speak of today. I want us to explore the idea that self care is a way of life that we create for ourselves, not a band aid of a routine for a little bit of reprieve from our chaotic and hectic lives, but a healthy, self care filled way of living, that doesn’t require escape from.
We live in such a crazy, fast paced, unempathetic and harsh world. Needs and wants have become enmeshed with each other as we struggle to climb to social ladder and keep up with the “Joneses”. We live in a society that says “more, more, more”. More money, more stuff, more extra curriculars, more stimulation. More, more, more. So how do we separate the needs from the wants? Most of us have no idea what we actually need at any given time. So let’s just start there. What do we need? As human beings, what do we NEED in order to maintain a comfortable and well balanced life that we don’t need to escape from?
Well, according to this book, “The Sevenfold Journey” human beings have seven basic rights, or needs, in order to maintain a healthy energy balance. When our Chakras are out of balance, we experience all kinds of ailments, from physical, to emotional and spiritual. Those basic needs correspond with our 7 Chakras and when a need is unmet, the corresponding Chakra will suffer imbalance. Given the state of our society today, and that everyone seems to be struggling with some kind of ailment, whether it be physical, spiritual, emotional, or all three, this seems like a pertinent topic for the day. Let’s take a look at them, shall we, and discuss how we are able to separate them from the chaos of our current environment.
“The right to have“. The right to have corresponds with our first Chakra. This is the basic concept that we have a right to be here. Just simply to be alive. This implies that we have a right to the basic things required to sustain life. Food, clothing, shelter, warmth, medical care, healthy environment, and physical touch. If/when we are denied these basic survival tools, our right to be here becomes challenged, and it can affect us for the rest of our lives if not addressed and healed. Our society has done some crazy things that inhibit this right. Food has been dumbed down and mass produced. How can we be healthy if our very nourishment is toxic? How many homeless are out there? How many without medical care? How many choosing between warmth and food? Clearly we need some work in this department.
Society challenges our right to have. Society has a warped perspective on the right to have. Have more. More, more, more. But in the process, we lose touch with the NEEDS among the “haves”. Poverty is out of control. Homelessness is rampant. People starve while others throw away good food. Technology and constant busyness have all but eliminated human contact. Do you know your neighbor? That is quickly becoming a thing of the past. We have gotten so worldly in our mindset, that we are forgetting about the communities that we live in.
The second basic human right listed in this book is “the right to feel“. When someone tells us that our emotions aren’t valid, that affects the right to feel. When someone is told to “stop their crying” or that they don’t have anything to be upset about, it eliminates the right to feel. People will often attempt to validate others by relating with their feelings, while following up with a “but”. Just in case you haven’t heard yet, the word “but” nullifies everything said before it when it comes to validation. “That sucks but… (just get over it)”. “That must really hurt but… (I am sure it will be ok in the long run”). “Oh, I bet that was so scary, but…(it turned out fine)”. When we follow up validation with the word but, we basically invalidate the validation.
The third right the authors list, is the “right to act“. This right is restricted daily. By abusive and controlling family members and partners, by society, by coworkers and bosses. Our actions are limited. When our right to act is taken from us, it creates an energy imbalance in our third chakra and takes a big toll on our ability to use our personal power. When we are expected to be blindly obedient to any force, it infringes on our right to act. Maybe we need a daily stretching or meditation routine. Maybe we need to reserve time for prayer. Maybe we need to get out in nature. Do you need to restore balance with a need to act? How can you incorporate it in your daily or weekly routine?
The fourth right, corresponding of course, with the fourth Chakra, is “the right to love and be loved“. There are a hundred ways that society has placed boundaries on our right to love. The very subject alone brings to mind several current political hot topics. I don’t care to indulge too much in politics here. Lets just agree that on a global scale, the right to love without judgement is being challenged through all sorts of forces. When the right to love and be loved is challenged, it causes us to question our right to be loved and close ourselves off to genuine love or manifest it in unhealthy patterns and behaviors.
The fifth right discussed in the book is “the right to speak and hear truth“. Where do I even start? Such a strange and troubling time we live in. Most agree that it is very difficult to discern the truth today, among all the warped versions of events and blatant lies that we are being told. The right to speak and be heard is clearly being challenged on at very least, a national level. I would venture a guess that it is a global scale, but I don’t know that for sure. How can we possibly advocate for our needs if we shut down our voice after not being given the right to speak or be heard? Clearly one can see how this would cause problems for a person, or a society as a whole.
The sixth right, in conjunction with the 6th Chakra, is “the right to see“. This is about perception. When we are told that what we perceive is not real, we question our right to see. It causes us to suffer very real effects that shut down our ability to see on a spiritual level. If I were looking for an example, I have to look no further than the majority of the headlines these days. Everyone seems to be conflicted about what is real, and they are hellbent on proving that you are wrong if you don’t see the same version of “real” that they see. Clearly our society is struggling in this area too.
And that brings us to chakra 7. “The right to know“. This includes the right to information, truth, education, and knowledge. Including religious freedom and not pushing our beliefs on others. People have a right to search for answers themselves, and to force any belief system on someone is an infringement on their right to knowledge and will have a detrimental effect on the seventh chakra. And, it will likely fail, because people tend to reject what is forced on them, even when/if it is good for them.
Each of these Chakras, or energy centers, grows and develops through our youth. Should we have a right violated while the corresponding chakra was developing, we will find magnified issues in these areas, that are much harder to resolve. As we can clearly see with a quick look around us, most of these rights are either missing from society, or being infringed upon by people trying to control others. Other people changing their behavior will not create a balanced and stable life. I hesitate to call it a “happy” life, though that is what so many are seeking. I think “happy” life is a misnomer. Is happy real? Yes, of course, but real life comes with pain and grief. Real life has suffering. The difference between a stable life, and one that needs a great deal of healing yet, is that when you finally find that peaceful stability, you understand that feelings come and go. Pain comes and goes. But there is a peace that you will get through it. That this too will pass. That it is not the end of the world or some big dramatic event, its just life being life, and it will get better eventually. We can’t be happy all the time. Lets aim for stable and well balanced, so that we can get through the harder times with grace and the peace of knowing it will be ok.
So how? How do we create a life that allows for sustainable peace? It is clear that society has decided we need to live another way. I thought it was impossible to reject what society was offering, until a few years ago when a tragedy hit unexpectedly. I was so MAD! I basically gave up. I spent two weeks in a sulky, childish tantrum. I was downright ugly with my pity party. And then I pulled myself together. Turns out that what I learned through this suffering, was that the world doesn’t notice my absence. It doesn’t sound like a good thing, but it was so incredibly freeing. I realized that I can slow it down. That I can say no when I need to. I learned that I don’t have to conform to societies standards and definitions of what is “right and good”. I learned I could embrace what was meant for me, even if that means embracing the term “eccentric”. But I suppose I still haven’t told you how I changed things.
I found that the occasional bubble bath was not restoring my soul the way that people sounded like it “should”. I am close with my creator and I know I have a good purpose here on Earth. I have a purpose, I have a healthy spiritual relationship, but I was constantly running on empty.
I have driven the same vehicle for 15 years now. It is a fabulous little car, and I have had to put very little into maintaining it. It is dependable, cheap, and always gets me where I am going. It is paid off, permanently registered, and auto insurance is very inexpensive through an excellent carrier. Why on earth would I buy a new car? People ask me all the time why I still drive that old thing. (For the record, its not THAT old, and it looks and runs great for its age). I could go out and find a shiny new, or even new to me car. That would be fun and all, until I had to pay for it. Years of payments. Years of high insurance rates. Years of expensive registration costs. No thanks. I prefer my dependable, cheap, little car. If I were to choose the route of buying a shiny car to keep up with peoples expectations of me, I would literally have to go out and get a job. As if I have time for that. I am building a ranch, a business, writing a book, keeping a blog, and caring for my home, family, and handful of pets. This is the life I choose. I could have less pets, and a nicer car, but that is not what would bring me peace and joy. I could ditch the ranch dream and move into a city apartment, that would make life easier, but I wouldn’t be more content or happier. Creating a life that we can maintain with stability and peace means that we must prioritize what is important to us, and let the rest go if it doesn’t flow with our needs. It means saying no sometimes. It means choosing what you need most, and not letting what others are demanding of you take away from that. Just because they don’t understand, doesn’t mean they are right about what is best for you.
Stable contentedness is going to look different for every person. You have to figure out who you are, and which needs you have that are unmet, and find ways to bring balance to that area of your life. It may mean saying no to an extra curricular activity, it may mean playing singing bowls in the background while you do your household chores or drive to work. It may mean having a lunch date with a friend every other week or once a month, instead of once a week, to find more quiet time for yourself. It may mean a diet change, or a hobby change. It may mean freshly cut flowers on your table on Monday mornings. It might mean that you wear your favorite color all week. Colors also affect energy. If you are finding yourself attracted to a particular color all of a sudden, there is a good chance that your body is seeking to balance energy with that color inclination. Maybe its a daily cup of herbal tea while you reflect on the day or mentally prepare yourself for what is on the calendar that day. Color, flavor, smell, sound. Every sense affects our perception and the energy that we receive. It isn’t one tool or tradition. It is the act of building a life for yourself that meets your basic survival needs. It means balancing our energy as a part of every activity, instead of reserving an afternoon for a bath to try to restore all one has spent all day, or week, or month. Just because you are surviving, does not mean that your basic survival needs are being met. Sure, you are still breathing, but is your spirit ok? What is the state of your mental health?
Our society has infringed on every one of our intrinsic rights as human beings. It is not our responsibility to force others into our mold. That infringes on their rights. It is our responsibility to build a life for ourselves, that honors these rights on a day to day basis. That doesn’t look like an act of self care. It looks like a whole new way of life that you have to slowly build for yourself. You can’t build it overnight. It requires changes in the way that we think, and in the ways that we act. It requires new routines, and a new perspective on oneself.
It means rejecting societies standards. It means rejecting our mass produced, dumbed down food system, and finding healthy options. It means creating an atmosphere for oneself that is healthy, regardless of what unhealthy thing is going down around you. It means finding ways to meet each of these needs on the regular. A day to day way of life. Maybe it means you switch to tea instead of coffee. Maybe it means you take a twenty minute brisk walk each morning or evening to clear your head and get some fresh air and exercise. Maybe it’s time to sell that expensive car and find one you can afford, so that your budget isn’t so tight. Changing routines to make a healthier lifestyle for yourself often includes making hard decisions about downsizing and setting boundaries.
Its simply a matter of building a life that consists of healthy routines and behaviors as a daily way of life. I wanted to underline the seven basic rights for you today, because one thing I learned in my healing, is that it is hard to build that healthy, stable atmosphere, if you have no idea what healthy and stable looks like. What simple little things can you do today to create a more stable and balanced environment for yourself, without asking anyone else to change what works for them? How can you integrate small changes that will add up to a new way of life over time. A way of life that incorporates self care into our daily routine instead of trying to carve time out of our busy lives for a brief moment of recognition.
I suspect that many of you have a list of “can’t, but, and won’ts” going through your head right now. All the reasons its just not that simple. I never said it would be simple, but it is possible. If you find yourself in the “can’t, but, won’t” party, I highly suggest making a list of every dream that you have ever wanted to pursue. No matter how big or small. No limitations. It may sound ridiculous and unattainable. I don’t care. Write it down anyway. Once you have a comprehensive list, make a second column to write down each obstacle that is giving you a “can’t, but, or won’t”. Write down every single thing that stands in your way of achieving each goal. Now take a good, long look at it. What can you do? What can you start chipping away at? Which obstacle can you overcome right now? What solutions are available to you that may be “untraditional” or outside the box solutions? As you check off each little obstacle, you will see the bigger ones getting closer and closer to being within reach. It wont take long with this method, to see how much you actually are capable of, and free yourself from the constraints of a “can’t, but, won’t” mentality so that you can begin the hard work of finding balance and healing.