“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.” ~Dodinsky Sometimes, when we’re feeling stressed and running around taking care of everybody else, the healthiest thing we can do is to stop and consider how we can take care of ourselves. While this seems obvious to some people, many of us struggle with the idea of putting ourselves first. We were raised to think we should always put others before ourselves and ignore our own needs—that it is somehow arrogant or self-centered, and not a nice thing to do.
In a High-tech World, It Pays to Reach Out Physician and holistic health pioneer Rachel Naomi Remen once confessed that as a pediatric intern she was an unrepentant baby kisser, often smooching her little patients as she made her rounds at the hospital. She did this when no one was looking because she sensed her colleagues would frown on her behavior, even though she couldn't think of a single reason not to do it. The lack of basic human contact in our high-tech medical system reflects a larger social ill that has only recently started to get some attention--touch deprivation. The cultural landscape is puzzling. On the one hand, we are saturated in suggestive messages by the mass media; on the other hand, the caring pediatrician is afraid someone might look askance at her planting a kiss on a baby's forehead. What's wrong with this picture?
Mindful meditation is the practice of learning to focus fully on the present moment. This simple practice requires effort and discipline because it is the mind’s nature to wander, vacillating between what happened in the past (and the meaning we make of those experiences) and what we want to happen in the future (including our to-do lists, goals, and plans). Mindful meditation is a way to become aware of the habits of the mind—with openness and curiosity instead of judgment.