Once up a time, a young girl with Crohn’s went to live in Japan. Lucky for her, the local doctor was fluent in English and, as serendipity would have it, he also specialised in internal medicine. Dr Hayashi turned out to be, not only a great doctor, but also a real friend. He, and his family became my guardians in a far off land. He taught me many a lesson, one such I will share with you today.
Dr Satoru Hayashi MD taught me that there are times in life when your body and mind really wants you to slow down and it tells you, sometimes subtly, sometimes not. Initially, it’ll give you a gentle nudge, maybe a niggling headache after a drink or a tummy ache after eating. Or, it could be good old fashioned ‘tiredness’ something we often ignore, pushing ourselves to the hilt.
The brand of our time teaches us to ‘Keep going and carry on’
Quite often we don’t even notice the gentle nudge. Or, if we do, we might brush it off and carry on regardless. Martyrdom is something we do really well in our busy, 24 hour world. If you don’t react to the nudge, it tugs you, this could be more pain, weariness or becoming short tempered – your fuse shortening with every passing day. We get into the habit of soldiering on, regardless – with our ‘must do’s’ and ‘can’t stop now’ mentality.
We fight, sometimes against our instincts but we’re not in battle – and certainly not on the front line
If you, too, are prone to this, remind yourself today and every time this happens that you’re not actually in battle. You’re not on the front line and there are times in life when we should heed the wisdom of our bodies and minds and ‘check out’ of our busy schedules for a while, or, the things in life that don’t serve us.
Dr Hayashi, knowing the power of visual cues, suggested that I see the body as my own personal set of traffic lights.
GREEN means you’re good to go – steam ahead if you like
AMBER is a suggestion to go ahead with CAUTION
You absolutely must stop when the light turns RED
If you’ve ignored the AMBER warning and are still acting like the light’s on GREEN you might get into trouble. Ignore a RED light at your PERIL.
Sometimes in life you just need to ‘sit on the bench’
I’m not what you’d call a football fan. The first time I used the word ‘soccer’ was when teaching English in Japan. Sporty I may not be, but there’s no harm in borrowing the odd sports phrase.
If you play at full steam for the whole match you won’t be match fit
Sometimes in life you just need to ‘sit on the bench’ especially when you’re body or minds light is on red. When that light turns RED – just give yourself the rest you deserve. Ask yourself, would you still drive your car if it was running on empty? I suspect you’d get to a gas/petrol station as quickly as possible and fill that engine up. Well, the body/mind is no different. It’s your vehicle, you’re the boss. And, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to take care of it and heed it’s inner wisdom and traffic light system.
What’s the significance of the fluorescence?
Just because you’re on the bench, it doesn’t been you have to loose your sparkle. You can still shine your light for the world to see you when you are seated. Just because you’re not running up and down life’s pitch, you’re there – you showed up to the world, and better still you followed your intuition. You are playing your part. Thinking about time out on the bench of life reminds me of the wisdom of Rumi :
Let the waters settle
You will see stars and moon
Mirrored In your being
Your answers are calling to you from the silence
Sometimes stillness and silence is the best answer and it’s where your answers may lie. If in doubt, step off the hamster wheel of your Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday and sit yourself down on your bench, from time to time.
We don’t have to be pumping iron down at the gym, or out with friends to be participating in life. Being still and going within can be much better for us than the external things or people we were grasping, or seeking.
If you run too fast through life you might miss the delights that line your path. Take time out and look around and see what’s within.
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