We have a barometer here in New Zealand to measure our danger of fire. Right now it’s on red=danger, no fires.
I have my own barometer except it’s a guilt one. The needle seems to waver quite often at the high danger end. Don’t ask me how I got my guilt barometer. I’m blaming it on the Irish Catholic nuns who seemed to induce guilty feelings in me for just breathing.
Today when I was ‘meant’ to be working I opted out and did yoga. The needle crept up to half way up the scale. Even worse I opted for the type of luxurious yoga where you just lie around and do a lot of breathing. Meter going up to orange now. And then to top it off I got ‘caught’ doing nothing, lying around on my back. Needle reaches its full guilty extent.
I should have been working. I should have been cooking, I should have been doing the housework. I should have been doing a lot of things.
Guilt can be a good, it can keep us on the straight and narrow especially when we are being watched. But when you are on your own who is watching you? Who is judging you? You are. I know my family don’t mind if I do yoga and I know the tasks can wait, so why do I impose my own tightrope of guilt for doing something pleasant for myself? Time and time again I see it repeated. It’s ok to buy clothes for your family, but not for you. It’s ok to make sure your family has the last bit of the meal, but not for you. It’s ok for everyone to sleep in but not you.
However, when we look after ourselves, when we nourish ourselves well in the physical and spiritual sense. When we take time out for ourselves we step into self nurturing. Self nurturing is essential if we are to serve others. Self nurturing is really non-negotiable.
Practice for today: What do you do in your life that you feel guilty about? Is this guilt self-imposed. Can you take time out to do this activity and look at it from a different perspective? Treat your time outs as putting money back into the bank so you can serve those around you with joy and not guilt.