Clear the Field!

For many, this is the time of year to return to the relative normalcy of our lives. The summer season that is often punctuated with vacations and extensive outdoor leisure activities is coming to an end. For some, Hurricane Irene had delayed this return to normalcy – or perhaps – “normal” will forever be changed.

With so much destruction around, some very dangerous situations are remaining as we dig out from this storm. I am reminded of a phrase known well by those who practice first aid/CPR and other life-saving emergency services. To “clear the field” refers to the first thing one does in an emergency situation, making sure that the environment and responder are safe before and during any intervention that is made on behalf of another. It is an urgent and challenging thing to remember in emergencies.

In my teaching and therapeutic work, the metaphor for me is that this difficulty keeping ourselves “clear” and well is even more challenging but no less important in our day-to-day lives. It is often hard to place ourselves first in terms of assuring our responsibilities for our health and happiness. The most common rationales for our lapses into times of self-neglect come under the umbrella of being busy in our family and working lives. This itself is neglectful of the notion that if we are not well and careful with ourselves, it may often turn out that no one is benefited in the long run.

Recovery and Resilience

As I stated above, it is hard for many of us to grow into this sensibility the foundation of a life well lived is to create a clear field within ourselves to recover or sustain our health and wellness. When the acute symptoms of pain and distress are diminished or when resources of time and energy wane it is harder still for some to feel comfortable with or see their worth of continuing with habits that cultivate strength and resilience. Yet it may be the very strength of self-cultivation through our practices that will serve family, community, and yourself over the course of a lifetime.

So I advocate for you by continuing to encourage you to be sensitive to your own process in any emergencies that may be unfolding in your life whether storm-related or otherwise. In addressing these issues I encourage you to take time to help you more skillfully steer clear of unnecessary danger as you meet the necessary challenges. Aspects of your self-care practices may take a temporary backseat for now, but I encourage you to revisit them as you can. These efforts need not be herculean and overwhelming. Finding time for a yoga class, a short daily sitting meditation or simple reminders to breath and relax can serve you well. They can become a springboard toward immersion into other activities that are enjoyable and serve your goals.