“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I am often asked by my clients to help them maintain the feelings of clarity and light-heartedness that result from an energy healing session. I usually respond by giving them some “homework” (according to their needs). Some examples: keep a gratitude journal, perform small acts of kindness, make time each day for reading, etc. Or maybe just go outside and enjoy flowers and sunshine. These simple yet effective habits keep them renewed, hopeful, and recharged.
This concept of self-renewal was first presented to me years ago while working in the banking industry. A motivational speaker came to provide a leadership seminar, and instructed us to close our eyes and imagine that each of us was a beautiful reservoir. He helped us envision ourselves giving water to those in need, giving to the point that we ran dry. Once we were depleted, there was nothing left to give. He then explained that in order for us to keep giving, just like the reservoir, we must be replenished. We accomplish this by doing the things that recharge and renew our energy. This exercise in imagery had a lasting effect on me, and I often refer to it when I feel overwhelmed or frustrated.
Just as a chair needs all four legs to remain stable and useful, we too have four components we must maintain for balance: Brain, Body, Heart, Spirit. That’s four different areas we need to care for so we can function at our highest level, serve others, and enjoy this journey of life.
This is where we have the capacity to imagine, invent, learn, and reason. It’s obvious why we need to keep this part of ourselves sharp and refreshed. One of my favorite comic strips, created by The Far Side’s Gary Larson, portrays a picture of a dog balancing on his hind legs on a tightrope. In his mind he is thinking: “Oh no, I am an old dog, and this is a new trick.” Unlike the dog in the comic, we are never too old to learn, whether it occurs in a college class, a ceramics shop, or the local library. Sometimes we need “new tricks”, creative ideas, or fresh perspectives.
Keeping the body renewed is probably the one with which we are most familiar. There are endless studies proving the importance of exercise, adequate rest, and proper nutrition. Even just 20 minutes of walking can do wonders for the chemistry and balance to the body systems. Developing a consistent bedtime routine also strengthens the body’s natural rhythms, allowing the body to rejuvenate itself. And we all know the old saying about an apple a day keeping the doctor away.
Our hearts are probably the most fragile parts of our being. This is where the effects of our closest relationships dwell, and sometimes that is painful. We renew our hearts by being kind, compassionate, giving and receiving love, and by extending forgiveness – whether it’s to ourselves, or our loved-ones. We refrain from harsh judgments and backbiting, and we commit to keeping the promises we make.
Last, but not least, we replenish our spirits. Read an inspirational book, say a prayer, write in a journal. Perform small acts of service -- hold the door open for someone, give a sincere compliment, or let the person behind you in the grocery line go ahead of you. It’s surprising how good these seemingly small deeds can feel, as the ripple effects of these acts encompass so many people. Another great way to recharge the battery of the soul is to go outside and walk barefoot in the grass or sand. This literal connection to earth is renewing in the following ways: it stimulates reflex points, decreases depression, and forces us to connect with nature all around. Just try it – it feels pretty good. Also, incorporate sitting down for five minutes a day to just breathe. Let the mind go, and focus on slow, full, even breaths. This reduces stress and anxiety, and is rejuvenating to body and spirit.
Life throws many curveballs, and you need to take care of yourself so you can care for others. Make sure that all four legs of your life chair are strong, sturdy, and balanced. Your homework for the day – say something nice to your neighbor, kiss your sweetheart, forgive yourself and your friends for not being perfect, then go outside barefoot and smell the flowers.