Be kind to yourself
Years ago, I went to a Spa retreat in Mexico.
On the Rio Caliente’ river, a natural hot springs created the perfect place for a relaxing retreat.
We stayed in comfortable adobe mud private villas, each had a kiva fireplace to warm you on the cooler evenings.
We ate three vegan low calories meals a day, got massages, read all day, soaked in the hot springs, and when we felt like some physical activities, we went for long hikes in the surrounding forested mountains.
To prevent anyone from losing their way in the thickly wooded mountains, we were given a hiking guide, who took us over narrow rope bridges, and deep into the mountains.
He pointed to us the local birds and flowers, and shares with us a bit of the history of the place.
The hike lasted all day, and upon our return, I walked beside him.
I asked him how long he has been guiding people through the mountains.
He said he left the USA looking for a different life, about forty five years ago, and he lived by the Rio Caliente’ for the past twenty years.
He said he was a young man when he left California…..now he is an old man…..
I looked at him, with his vigorous stride as we climbed through the forest, his easy smart humor and humble sweet energies…….and I asked him why does he think of himself as an old man?…
He admitted to feeling loads of energy and great mental state.
He said he was hiking all day at least three times per week, and he added that sometimes, if people sign up, he also guide multi days horse back riding trips into the mountains.
Yes….he said.. He reckons that he was in great physical shape….True….No health insurance, no doctors, but no need for them either… At least not in the last forty five years…
He eats good, loves the life, which he created deliberately….. he meets nice soul based people who come to rest and to enjoy….they get spiritual speakers coming to give lectures….. The resort shows interesting documentaries on certain evenings and it is followed by a lively dissuasion….life is simple and good…
But….he added with hesitation…..
That the other day it took him a few moments to remember the word for “rice.”
He was so stunned when it happened….how could he not remember the word for “rice”….
He saw the shape of rice in his mind’s eye, but he could not remember how to call it…
Surely it means, he added, that he was getting old and maybe even experiencing the onset of Alzheimer disease?….
I looked at this lovely man, and felt sadness in my heart.
How harshly can he judge a single incident and condemn himself to such an horrible disease…
I asked a few more questions to make sure that I am not going to give him a wrong advice, but all of his answers did not indicate any other symptoms or issues…. He simply forgot the word for “rice” ONCE…
I gently told him that he was being very harsh on himself…
That the world “rice” is a linguistic agreement that we have in the English language….that it is NOT the absolute truth… And that in other languages, it is called by many other names….
I suggested that being souls, we are not always so in tune with the seemingly external physical illusion we live in….
Often we overload our minds with information and some things that are not important at the moment, simply get forgotten.
I told him a true story, from my own life.
One year, after my divorce, I needed money badly.
I inherited half of my partner’s huge credit cards debt,
I had a mortgage, car payments and insurances,
I needed to cover the cost of art shows and the cost of traveling…
So to pay for it all, I booked myself into many many art shows across the USA.
I was driving all across the continent, sleeping in road side hotels….
One morning I woke up, not remembering where I was, what State I was in, what hotel I was sleeping in…. I even had no clear recollection of who I was and WHY I was there…
It lasted only a few long moments, but it did not scare me…. It felt strangely good…. Free…
I gazed onto the night stand, and saw the time on the clock, the phone had the hotel logo on it, and it all came back to me.
Not ONCE, did I think Alzheimer or any other disease.
I simply realized that I was overloading myself, and that as soon as I could, I should give myself some time off… To do nothing and to rest for awhile.
You may think that I thought this way because I was young and it was very unlikely that I was developing Alzheimer, but it is not so.
It was a conscious decision I made years before, to be KIND and GENTLE with myself.
Many people are not even aware how harsh they are with themselves.
Yet they are, and they do it all the time..
They cultivate thoughts that are attacking their inner being and they do not allow it to breath…
Their inner being becomes terrified of making a mistake, slacking a little…forgetting something…
By becoming forgiving towards yourself, you extend that to others also…
I knew people who when they made mistakes, or lost something, would start berating themselves saying out loud: “I am so stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”
It broke my heart to see this display of self bashing.
I also see it happen among people who do not realize what they say or do.
They live unexamined lives as if on automatic drive..
When I switched once to a new dental office, I came to clean my teeth, and the dental hygienist asked if my voice were alway this throaty.
I said that it was always this way…
She said: “Good, because there is a LOT of throat cancer going around this season…”
I found it amazing to be diagnosed with having a throat cancer by a dental hygienist…..
But this is how people converse mindlessly with themselves and by extension, with each other.
The guide at the resort in Mexico, listened to me with tears in his eyes…
He admitted that he does have high expectationS of himself and rarely gives himself a break…he said he wished he could be so kind inwardly….
He thanked me again and again… Saying he will do better…
“Wow… Rice IS just a word…an agreement in a certain language…. No wonder it did not come to me fast………. If I tried to remember how to say it in Japanese, or Chinese, and it took me a few seconds, I would never have thought that it was strange,….or be so harsh on myself……… Even if I couldn’t remember it at all….”
After sharing this story, I would like to suggest….
BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
Be gentle with your inner being, and do go through your mind and select your thoughts, and please throw out of your mind the trash…..or anything that can attack your inner being or belittle you….