The Deeper Meaning Behind Self-Care
By Rev. Paul Galloro, C-IAYT, Yoga Therapist, Divine Wellness Coach
In our every waking moment we have a choice – to plug into Love or to plug into fear. What we choose defines our experience of the moment, which ultimately defines the trajectory of our lives.
When we fail to consciously choose Love, we by default plug into the dominating thought system of the planet – and that is fear. Fear engenders stress that manifests physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Plugging into Love is plugging into the natural intelligence of our bodies, and in turn the universe. This energy promotes life – it’s the same energy that turns an egg into a chick, and a caterpillar into a butterfly. When we plug into this life force energy (in yoga we call this Prana), we become aligned with a force that opens us up to peace and a knowingness of our Truth.
A big trend we have seen in wellness and self-empowerment these days is the idea of self-care as a practice of self-love, and as with everything in life this can come from a place of Love or fear. Let’s break this down …
Love is all encompassing – it is the life-affirming force of the universe. It has been called many names (Universe, Spirit, God, Goddess, Oneness, etc), but it has only one function: the growth and evolution to the highest possible manifestation of all things. This energy is abundant minded and collective-centric. Since Love is all encompassing, it has no opposite. Love simply is, and only Love is Real.
The absence of Love is fear. Think of anything that is not Love as a vast void waiting for Love to fill it. Where there is fear, it is up to us to invoke Love. What darkness is to light, fear is to Love. When you walk into a dark room, you don’t stand there fighting the dark, scream at it to go away, or gather people around you to question why the darkness exists – no, you simply turn on the light.
In relation to the word self, yogic philosophy talks about the idea of our separated self (with a little s), and the universal Self (with a big S – sometimes called True Self, Higher Self, or simply Self). The little self is associated with the ego mind, the part of us that sees us, from an energetic and spiritual perspective, as separate from everything else. The big Self is associated with the Higher Mind, the heart centered part of us that sees us all as One. To simplify this, little self equals fear, and big Self equals Love.
Let’s go back to self-care as a practice of self-Love. Type those words into Google and you’ll findthousands of hits telling you what self-care is. The general idea of self-care is an activity you engage in with the intentionality of improving physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Some would say it’s a hot bath or a day at the spa, and some would say it’s saying no to anything that “drains” you.
A blog post on psychcentral.com defines self-care as “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” All too often our self-care becomes selfishness when we approach this idea of refueling from a “just for me” perspective. Yes, the idea of self-care is to take care of yourself so you can be available to others, but let’s be truly honest with ourselves. How many times have we said no to someone in need under the guise of self-care when really it was because we just didn’t feel like it? I’ll be the first to admit I’ve done that (although it has taken me quite a while to acknowledge it).
From a spiritual perspective, when we extend Love it benefits both the giver and receiver. Set this image in your mind’s eye for a second: Your mobile phone needs to be recharged but you only have your laptop as a source of energy. Your laptop runs on battery and by plugging your mobile into your laptop it is drained of that energy while the mobile is charged. Now what if you plugged the laptop into a grounded electrical source (not another battery) while it charges your mobile? The laptop is also charging while it charges the mobile … and once the mobile is unplugged, the laptop is still at full power.
You are the laptop and all those who you serve are the mobile. When we connect to our source of creation, or our life-force energy, we are better able to serve others and it won’t cost us our own life force. We instead become a conduit of Love, and that has more benefit to the collective than, let’s say, a day at the spa would.
Yes, I know – a day at the spa is luxurious and can be a real nice treat. I’m not saying to deny yourself that pleasure, but when we are plugged in all the time, we take better care of ourselves as a whole, which includes our physical, mental, and emotional states. And that makes the day at the spa that much more enjoyable – imagine going to the spa as a celebration of your health, rather than going “to disconnect from the world.”
This is why it’s important that we practice meditation daily. It’s our way of plugging into a source to cleanse ourselves of the mental and emotional dirt that can clutter our mind life experience, not to mention all the fear based messages we are bombarded with every single day. Just as we take a daily shower to rid ourselves of the day’s dirt, so do we take a moment of stillness each and every day to clear our minds, free ourselves from the experience of our past, and be fully available to the present moment.
Our physical body improvements take training, and likewise our attitudinal work involves training as well. We must train our minds to become still, to stay in the present moment, and to default into Love. Our daily practice doesn’t need to be anything grandiose – even just five minutes a day spent in stillness with the intention of grounding ourselves and infusing our mind with loving thoughts will ensure we’re aligned with Love throughout the day.
If you’re beginning a meditation journey, or have a regular practice already, this Love Infusion meditation will fill your entire being with Love and prepare you for, or sustain you on, your journey of stillness. The benefits of meditation are only effective when it’s part of your daily routine.
Remember, to plug into Love, all you have to do is #stop, #sit, and #breathe.
About Rev. Paul Galloro
Rev. Paul Galloro is a hug in human form! The symbol for his work as a Metaphysical Minister, Yoga Therapist, and Professional Yoga Educator is a disco ball. He says “we’re all mirrors of the same disco ball, here to reflect the light of Love out into the world.” paulgalloro.com