I remember hearing a long time ago that “The Buddha said to be kind to others. That includes us, too.” I often tell this to clients who are neglecting their self-care or denigrating their self-worth. Oftentimes, these same people are caretakers to others and don’t quite realize how much harder it is to care for someone else while our blood pressure is up. It’s hard to be a good anything when your constant state of being is fight or flight, your tongue is permanently stuck to the roof of your mouth (that’s not normal, btw. It’s a stress response), and we’re flooded with cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. It’s great if you’re about to be eaten by a bear. It sucks if you’re at Target wondering when towels got so frickin’ expensive.
I’m reading a book right now – and honestly, I’m not even finished with it -that I think is going to change my life and I think you should read it, too. it’s called “Into the Magic Shop” by Dr. James Doty.
Dr. Doty is a neurosurgeon and philanthropist. He works on the brain, but also works in the field of compassion. He grew up poor, and the son of an alcoholic father and a disabled and depressed mother. When he was 12, he met a woman who taught him how to control his breath, relax his body, and control his future. Sounds fairly lofty, but it worked. He wanted to become a doctor, and against all odds – he did. He’s also been able to donate millions to charities and work with the Dalai Lama to support the causes of love and compassion.
This book is part memoir and part instructional guide. I got halfway through the audiobook, started crying at the realization that this book was exactly what my family and I needed right now, and started listening again. I’m buying copies for my kids. I’m recommending it to friends and clients.
The most important part of the book is this – you can’t control anything in this world except for you, and you have marvelous untapped resources within you. It starts with learning how to relax your body. Then you learn to control your breath. Then you decide what you want your life to look like and create it. In a nutshell.
Check this book out if you can, and then let me know what you think of it. I think that this is a game changer for me. It sounds so simple, but is so difficult. Being present, breathing in and out, unsticking your tongue from the roof of your mouth – these are all the building blocks to peace. And I could use some peace of mind.