Feed Your Soul
"Is that possible?" you ask. "What about my children? I'd die
for them." Have you ever considered why, on an airplane, the flight
attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask first, before you help your
children? It's because your kids' well-being depends on it. If you aren't
grounded, present, calm, and able to breathe, there is no one to take care of
What would your life look like if you acknowledged the truth that working
nonstop for 10 hours, taking care of other people, leaves you so spent and
weary that there really isn't much left of you for your kids, let alone
yourself? What would your life look like if you realized that you need to set
aside time every day to fill yourself up — even if it's only by taking a few
15-minute breaks during which you stare at nothing or go outside or lie down?
What would the pace of your life be if you went on "soul time" instead
of clock time, even just a little?
It's possible. A few days ago, I spoke with a first-time mother. Her baby
son had colic, and she was completely exhausted. She was so afraid she wouldn't
be there when he needed her that she couldn't sleep even when he was napping or
with her husband. And she was turning to food to calm herself down. I asked her
what it would be like to do something very simple for herself: to sit down and
breathe. That's all. No big deal. Nothing to achieve. Just let the body do what
it was already doing and give herself a break. She said she could try that. She
At the end of five minutes, I asked her how she felt. She said she was
relieved, immediately calmer. She said that since she'd had her baby, she had
forgotten all about herself and her needs, and while some of that was natural
("I'm so in love with him," she said; "I've never known love like
this before"), she was not serving him best by exhausting herself. She said
that caring for herself was doable — maybe not in the same ways she did before
she was a mother, but in new ways. Taking small rests. Eating well. Going
outside for even five minutes while he naps. "I can do this," she said.
"I can treat myself with the same kind of care that I give him."