STONE EIGHT CONTINUED
Release: After experiencing all feelings, I release any emotions I deem harmful to my spiritual path.
Instruction: Separate feelings from ego.
What is the difference between taking care of ourselves and being selfish? We might want to take a day off from work, get away, and spend some time and money pampering ourselves. Is this selfish or self-care? If we listen to other people, some might say it’s selfish: How can you be so thoughtless as to spend so much on yourself when others don’t have enough to eat? Someone else might interpret this as self-care: How can you be of use to others if you don’t take care of yourself? If we look to others for the answer, we will find that we can justify anything we want. All we have to do is look long enough and someone will agree with the decision we truly want to make. The truth is that both scenarios can be acceptable. There is no harm in taking care of ourselves, and there is also no harm in deciding that the needs of others in a particular situation might be more pressing than our needs at the time. The ego has something to say in both situations, and depending on how well we understand our ego, we can allow the situation to make us feel guilty or happy.
If the desire to take a day off and get away stems from the feeling of being overwhelmed and needing a break, then we can feel good about taking care of ourselves. If we are prone to making spur of the moment decisions that we later regret, then we might feel some regret for wasting a day on ourselves. The same opposite reaction can be had if we chose not to care for ourselves and decided to spend time helping the “less fortunate.” If we were overwhelmed and needed a break, we might feel put upon when helping others when what we really wanted was to help ourselves. At the same time, depending on the person, we might discover that helping others was just what we needed. If the voice of our ego is a negative voice, then, often, no matter what we choose the ego will find a way to make the experience feel bad. Recognize the ego’s voice for what it is. Recognize the feelings, and if the feelings are negative because of the negative ego voice, then simply step back, take a look at those feelings, and release them.
As we consider today’s reading, let’s also look for balance. We should be able to take time out to recover, heal, and find renewed strength. How long has it been since you’ve done something for yourself? How long has it been since you’ve helped another person? Are you feeling balanced or out of balance? If your balance is off, take the needed steps to restore balance to your life.
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