Guest blog by Yogasteya member Melissa Hite
The flight was running late so the crew was diligently packing us in. They began the safety discussion – you know the one: exit doors, seats as flotation devices, and oxygen masks. My favorite part. I know my nap is just around the corner.
Here’s the kicker, though. That speech – the one on every commercial flight going up at any time on any day – could be one of the wisest bits of information passed along, if we are open to it.
Think about the words: YOUR mask will drop down from overhead; this is YOUR supply for oxygen. Make sure YOU put YOUR own mask on first BEFORE you help anyone else. Repeat that to yourself.
How often do we struggle to show our love for others by doing, doing, doing? We run ourselves into the ground to make sure everyone receives what they need most. And if we’re fortunate, they are grateful. Sometimes we go to all the effort, and yes~trouble, and never even gain the acknowledgement we so dearly crave. We end up a wreck: sick, sad, angry, making bad choices (pick one, or all the apply). We don’t survive that flight.
What would happen if we put on our own mask first? What could we achieve if we chose to love ourselves as much as we do others? What would happen if we put our own self-care at the top of the list?
For starters, we would be able to love and serve with joy instead of resentment. When you operate from empty, it’s impossible to infuse good intention into your action. But when you are full, when you’re rested, satisfied~ when your mask is on~you can serve from a joyful place. It’s really love when you can be joyful while you’re serving. It’s a blessing, not a chore.
Another feeling I enjoy (when I take care to make self-care a priority) is that of peace. When I make myself a priority, I don’t feel frantic and rushed. I enjoy my days, instead of feeling like there aren’t enough hours and I’ll never get done. This makes service a pleasure. We all want to do more things that are pleasurable, right? See where I’m going?
My challenge to you (and always to myself…work in progress) is to study the days ahead. See where you can make time for yourself. Show yourself the love you show others.
This sounds a lot easier than it may be, but that’s fine. Allow yourself to be challenged, but carve out your own time. YOUR OWN TIME. Get a massage. Take a yoga class. Read a book. Take a nap. What do you want to do? If it makes it easier for you, start small with a few minutes a day. Add! Add as often as possible.
You may be delighted when you really dig in to this process. And those around you will notice a change too, even if they can’t name it. It will show. You’ll have fallen back in love with YOU.
So as we go about our busy-ness, keep yourself front of mind. Remember that self-care is a requirement for successful service of others.
Make sure your put your own mask on first…
Melissa Hite is a yoga teacher, writer and creative explorer. First, she fell in love with yoga, and then herself, several years ago. She practices and teaches from a body-positive, intentional space. Melissa brings joy and humor to the mat, and loves to share the practice of yoga with people who are connecting with themselves in new ways. Along with teaching, she facilitates workshops and teacher trainings. You can visit her at www.audaciousyogini.com, or www.melissahiteyoga.com.