The dictionary’s definition of caring is, someone that shows kindness and concern for others.
Could it be possible that this is a very narrow perspective on the true meaning of caring?
My willingness to care came in many guises and started at a very young age. With a Mum who was sometimes ill or in overwhelm, I often took on the role of mother for our family until she was well enough to resume her life. I took it upon myself to tend to and nurture the animals we had at home when they became ill and as I grew older, I would offer my services to some of my neighbours, by taking their babies out for a walk in the fine weather to get some fresh air! (This was a relatively common practice back in Ireland in the 1950s).
By the time I left home, caring was second nature to me. Not surprisingly then, my career of choice was one within the caring profession which gave me ample opportunities to be supportive to the patients that I would work with on a daily basis.
My caring was however not just confined to humans and animals, as I also looked after the contents of the various homes that I lived in throughout my life. At one address, where I lived for 23 years, the kitchen appliances that were there when I moved in were still in perfect working order when I moved out.
From all that I have written thus far it would appear that I would get a PhD in caring and kindness if there was ever one to be studied for. But there was fundamentally one very, very important subject missing from my studentship, and that subject was Self-care and Self-love. I was an expert at looking after others, but took little if any real care of me and my body.
How can we possibly know how to look after others if we don’t know what it feels like to really care for ourselves first?
The notion that I was caring for myself by, for example, going on amazing holidays, buying lovely clothes and having the best hairdresser to style my hair (after all what more could a girl need?) I now know to be very superficial. How so? Because the upliftment I received from them was very short-lived, as a couple of days afterwards the novelty would have worn off, and it was back to the humdrum of life once again. I only fully understood the transient nature of these so-called acts of caring, when I discovered Sacred Esoteric Healing, a modality which speaks of an inner joy, which is available for us all to connect to if we simply choose to turn our gaze from looking outside ourselves back to within.
About seven years ago I was feeling very unwell and booked myself in for some Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions. During my first appointment, the practitioner spoke with me about my lifestyle and how I cared for and nurtured myself. As I shared about my holidays and clothes etc. something in me felt that I was being asked to go deeper with my views on what caring and nurturing really meant. As I lay on the treatment table I dropped into a very deep relaxed state,
Where I felt for the first time in my life just how fragile and delicate my body truly is.
So, in between sessions I took stock of how I was living my life, and I felt there was definitely room for improvement. Slowly I started to make changes to support me, and my body.
The nature of these changes came from listening to, and acting on what my body was telling me through the feelings that I felt in my body.
From this awareness I realised that such things as carrying two heavy watering cans when watering my garden was putting huge strain on my body and was not the way to treat, support, nurture or honour the beautiful, fragile woman I felt myself to be. Now I water with half-filled watering cans, and on days when my body is feeling tired I reduce this still further or I may leave it for the following day.
I then became aware that the thoughts that I had in my head were different to the feelings I had in my body. For example, at night before I started Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions, my body would often feel tired and would have liked nothing better than to be tucked up in bed, but my mind would override what I was feeling in my body in favour of staying up late to watch some TV programme or other. This would have a knock on effect as I would then feel tired starting a new day and would also need to resort to stimulants such as sugar and coffee just to get me through the day.
It was shocking to realise that I had lived most of my life disconnected from my body; it was like I was a floating head with just a vague awareness of my body. I am now very aware of the importance of caring and loving myself first, this in turn not only benefits me but all who I come into contact with.
By taking care of myself, by resting when I feel tired, eating nourishing food, and checking that I am not putting undue strain on my elderly body, I now invariably start my day feeling well rested, well nourished and vital. This is then the quality I take to all that I do and meet during the course of my day.
This way I am sharing the real vibrant and caring me with all I associate with.
Yes, I was born to care, but in order for it to be true care it must be from self-love and self-care first, then everything else will fall into place.
by Elizabeth McCann, aged 67, UK