“As we learn to treat our body with the highest of respect, we, by natural extension, treat our children, Mother Earth and all her inhabitants with the same degree of respect.” ~ Vince Gowmon
“Taking good care of you means the people in your life will receive the best of you rather than what is left of you.” ~ Lorraine Cohen
As you may know from reading other articles of mine or watching my YouTube channel, I’ve been in an intensive initiation for over a year now (completed now, as of November, 2021). Guided by the masters and mysteries of the Spirit World, I’ve been undergoing a transformation in consciousness that has affected me on all levels – body, mind, soul — one that has pushed me to the edge of my vulnerability, and beyond, time and again. Challenging and tear-soaked as it’s been, it has caused me to feel incredibly exhausted at times, often in ways that have perplexed me given the almost monastic simplicity of my life.
Months ago when I was feeling particularly low energy, I prayed to Mother Mary, one of the Ascended Masters who have supported my initiation. Her answer surprised me. Like a loving mother telling her tired child it’s bedtime, she said, “Your most important spiritual practice is sleep.”
Now, let me ask you: Have you ever heard anyone say this before? I certainly had not. Meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, healthy eating, even rest. But sleep? You might imagine how liberating it was to hear these words; how much permission was given to slow and still, and to not push so hard. (It also helped that it was coming from Mother Mary!)
And that is why I am passing this simple wisdom on to you. Because, aside from my twilight-years-living parents, I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from more of this permission and quality of self-care.
What if you made sleep your most important spiritual practice; or, at minimum, rest? What if you allowed more time in the day to slip away? We think of spiritual practices as being ones where we engage mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually on some level. Even the quiet space of meditation requires physical, upright engagement; and time in nature, unless flat on your back, eyes closed, gone, requires movement and a level of alertness. So what if a spiritual practice was about disengaging altogether — being, doing absolutely nothing, while forgetting you and the world exists?
We, in the busy West, fuelled by busy minds, are governed by so many should’s, so many need to’s, are we not? Some of this is just the nature of being a parent, employer, etc; and some of it is our own doing. Part of my initiation has been to become aware of how I am pushing myself too much, such as with exercise. Even self-care practices when imbalanced can be exhausting, funny as that may sound! We can demand too much from ourselves if ambitions are high. I made the decision to completely stop biking what was about 100km a week and working out with weights 3 out of every 4 days. I kept only what was gentle, soothing, what my body was asking for, such as QiGong. More so, despite eating very healthy foods, I wasn’t eating what and how my body wanted in terms of combinations, amounts and timing. And so I made changes there, as well as in my rest/sleep routine. Though I’m not perfect, a work in progress like everyone, I began paying closer, careful attention to my body in all areas of my life, quietly saying to it with regularity, “I love you and I’m listening.”
(By natural extension, if we slowed and attuned enough to respond more like this to our body, we’d more frequently communicate “I love you and I’m listening” to the little bodies running around us — our children!”)
Over-exertion and struggling with the slow and gentle of self-care is common because we have distorted ideas about success and self-worth. Our value comes from what we do and have, not from who we are. We believe we need to earn the love we crave, which can keep us on hamster wheels of proving and seeking approval, of being hard on ourselves (which can lead to being hard on others, again children). More so, many of us learned it is bad to put ourselves first. We struggle speaking our truth and without guilt — asking for help, saying No, setting firm boundaries — often due to a conditioned need to please and fear of disappointing others. We choose to disappoint ourselves, again and again, in order to not disappoint family members, friends and co-workers. We abandon our needs, and thus our heart and body, to meet the needs of others.
The body and mind suffer as a result, with so many physical, mental and emotional conditions arising out of too much doing and not enough being and shutting down altogether. And we teach our children, if only indirectly, by example, that we are human doings, not human beings, and how to put ourselves at the bottom of the list.
I’m reminded of the wise words of my old friend Lynda Austin who said, “There is a difference between being self-centred and centred in the self.” When we confuse the latter for the former, we run into trouble, and can unwittingly cause trouble for others. She also said, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to!”
So, I reiterate: What if you took to heart Mother Mary’s council and saw sleep, or at minimum, eyes-closed, drifting rest, disengaged from technology and even books, as your most important spiritual practice? What permission would this give you? What would you need to say No to, or in what way would you need to ask for help, in order to give this precious gift to yourself? What old beliefs would you need to examine that limit you from the shadows? Examples might include: It’s bad / selfish to put myself first; I must always put others first; I need to be good; I can’t disappoint; If I don’t… then…; I have to do it; I have to do it now. Question each narrative, examine where it came from, and consider the possibility that believing something doesn’t make it true! This level of intuitive discernment can make or break a life!
If you rested more, took some afternoon naps, went to bed earlier, or got up later, imagine how much your body/mind would restore and regenerate; how it would come back into what I call restful alignment. The mind, when allowed to quiet and rest, especially when we add regular healing and meditation, becomes a clear receptor of information, rather than a chronic fetcher; which is how it is intended to be. Emptied and open, it can more frequently pick up, or align with, guidance from our higher self and angels above, which helps us spontaneously tap into creative solutions instead of seeking them. With dedicated self-care and healing, gradually, we are released from being enslaved to a mechanical monkey mind that needs to figure it out and thus operate separate from higher sources of intelligence. We use our mind as a faithful tool, instead of identifying with it and allowing it to lead us down all sorts of busy, bumpy roads.
With a relaxed, receptive and open mind, the parasympathetic nervous system engages more and the body softens. There is less to-do, get-to-it frantic bracing, less restrictions in the musculature, contractions in the heart, and even tension in the eyes, all compounded by decades of social conditioning and entrenched behavioural patterns. Softened psychophysiologically, we soften more fully into our soul, and life. Fluid like children, living with greater ease, we restfully align with the rhythms and Way of the Cosmos, what it wants for us, saving us time, energy and heartache.
Though there are busy times when we must get to work, I believe that we in the West push ourselves far too much, and therefore push against life. Largely driven by economics, our education system, and under-resourced nuclear families, this is all part of a larger systemic issue that needs transformation. Indeed, we have forgotten the rhythms of slow and still that are vital to our health and awakening, rhythms children thrive in and that nature teaches. We are here to remember this age-old wisdom and way of living that our ancestors knew well and our avatars have long embodied. We are here to realize that as we row our boat gently down the stream, eventually, we become the Stream itself.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu
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I invite you to watch this short video I created called, “Give me your weight.” ~ A sacred invitation to surrender to Life.
Healing & Activation: My invitation to you is to participate in my online healing and activation ceremonies. Drawing upon the power and mystery of Starlight and its many emanations, transformation takes place at the quantum or cellular level, creating radical changes in health and empowerment.
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Check out Vince’s book: Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart