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Giving from the "Over-flow"

What if the world actually supported a way of life that allowed you to give from the “over-flow” of your own personal well?


What do I mean by this question?  Well, let’s clarify a few things to better understand it.


First off, the concept of a “personal well” is an idea that speaks to our personal wellness bank which would include things like our energy level, our mental and physical health.  Our ability to be productive, happy, engaged with life and feeling good about ourselves inside and out.  Our vitality and feeling as though we have sufficient energy or stamina beyond the basics.  A feeling where, if the well were to run low, just like a water well running dry, would be less effective or even not effective at all.


Secondly, the concept of “over-flow” is the idea that if we have sufficient abundance, vitality and our personal well if so full, then the “over-flow” is the excess beyond the fullness from which care for others can come.


So, in relation to all the things that require us to put energy in such as caring for our loved ones who may be ill, frail, be young and in need of lessons and guidance, and even if we are a care-giver as a job.  The scenarios in particular of caring for a family member that requires additional time or if you are a care giver as a vocation, may be especially taxing.  With the case of caring for ill or elderly loved ones, your mental and physical health could be in overdrive simply due to the attachment you have to your family member, additional demands and decisions that need to be tended to.  The bond and love you share, as well as the potential physical stamina may be required if they need assistance with daily, basic living.  If your job requires you to care for others, the physicality of your work may put strain on your body from repetitive tasks, excess challenging movements and other hard labour.  If you build a close bond to your clients through time shared together, this too can be intense and mentally taxing.


As a yoga teacher, I take great pride and a sense of privilege in the fact that students share their practices with me.  It’s an honour to be a part of their experience and hope that what I have to offer is of service to their highest good.  It’s a joy to watch and be part of this learning, growth, and exploration.  It is also sometimes painful, difficult and complicated in its offerings as well.  I do my best not to get caught in someone else’s practice too much, as it is not my own.  I try to offer support during challenges, whether they be physical challenges or of the mind, the latter of which tends to be more difficult.  My job is to hold space, as safely as I can and be a “conduit” for yoga teachings.  Most often, it simply channels through me and out into the space.  My hope is that this “holding of space” provides whatever lessons the students are meant to experience in that time.  Most often, if I allow for the teachings to just flow through me, I am re-charged, energized and have a calm sense.  If I get caught up in my own energy or the energy of another student, sometimes things derail.  But; hopefully, things jump back on course rather quickly.  If I am steady with my own practice, and daily mindfulness, things certainly derail less often.


When life gets really busy, complicated and stressful, which I have found these last few years have given me very few other options, than the busy, complicated and stress filled times, I believe it really means there is more attention required to self-care, steady yoga practice, mindfulness exercise, good nourishment of body and mind through fresh, clean food as well as things that help to “refill the well”.  Doing things you love, that calm, refresh and uplift the mind and elevate your sense of wellness are vital when things are most challenging.  Making respectful decisions about what is good for the body & mind and beginning to let go of things that are either hindering your well-being or are hurtful to your progress can be a difficult thing to do, but create giant leaps forward toward your health. 


When we have the least amount of time, is when we need these things most.


The joys and challenges of yoga go hand in hand.  When you feel you have no time or don’t feel like practicing, THIS is when you need it MOST.  When things get DIFFICULT, THIS is the BEST time to practice.  When your mind says “I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT” and your mind is easily convinced not to practice, THIS is when you need to DO IT ANYWAY.


I believe if more people began to practice yoga, in all its facets that society would shift to a higher awareness.  Not only for personal health, but for the grander picture.  Nature, local community and society, the world at large.  As we raise our personal understanding, our level of awareness beyond ourselves and care for others, for the world and all its beings, grows.  Self-care becomes care for others.  Self-care and refilling our own personal well is so vital and yet unfortunately our society has been raised with it not viewed in the best light.  It is often thought of and ingrained in us that self-care is “selfish”. 


If we start to practice, as we continue to learn about how to better care for our bodies and our minds, then we begin to recognize that giving from a dry well, just doesn’t work.  Exhaustion does not allow us the space.   The vitality and prana are not there.  Modeling self-care to our younger generations is a vital lesson we can share.  Showing them that it matters.  Showing them how to care for themselves and others, even if you are just learning how to do this yourself, leading by example.  Showing up for yourself, in your practice and letting them know how important that practice is.


If we start to recognize the importance of it, through regular practice, we all gain a better understanding that from that self-care, we are better prepared and able to care for others.  Once our well is full and we continue to practice, our well begins to overflow.  From that overflow, we then can give more fully to those around us.


And now, back to practice :)


In health & happiness,


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