I have a tendency to nurture others, to spend my time in relationships and life in general, helping mates of various persuasions overcome their demons or sort out their emotional battlefield or basically just get their shit together. I don't ever want to stop doing that. In fact I see it as my dharma, as my life purpose, to teach and inspire others to live life to its fullest potential. I'm not saying that I have specific answers and some amazing insight, but I have learnt and cultivated certain skills throughout my bumpy, higgedly piggedly life that have given me an intuitive ability to point others down a path from where they can guide themselves towards wholeheartedness and fulfilment. But man, it can get draining. In order for me to be able to serve in this way, I need a reserve or a well of inner strength and fortitude to be able to take on another's shadow side and help them see the way forward. And quite frankly, I can be a bit crap at that. Too often, I have exhausted all my emotional reserves leaving just enough for me to keep my head above water but stagnating myself in the process, leaving me feeling empty at best and resentful at worst.
Lately, I've been thinking about this a lot. Why don't I (or most people for that matter) look after their spiritual, emotional and physical needs first? Why do we all so often give all of ourselves to others without nourishing the source of the giving first? If the well is not full, then the well can not supply the village with water. And so we are like a village well. If we do not nourish ourselves, so we are strong in mind, spirit and body, then we cannot- we should not- openly and fully give of ourselves.
And so therefore, from this time on, I have decided to nourish myself first. To not feel guilty if I need to sit quietly with a book and rest; to not feel shame if I put my own needs and desires before the wants of another; to put time aside for myself - for quiet introspection, for yoga, for self study, for whatever I damn well want and need. I am going to fill my well to the brim and whenever it begins to lessen, I will fill it up again. By my well being full to the point of overflowing, I know that I can open my heart and myself and serve selflessly at the highest level. I can give and nurture and guide, inspire and teach wholeheartedly and authentically from a place of strength and inner power. And nourish myself as well in the long term. Because at the end of the day, it is this giving and serving that makes me joyous and sparks my enthusiasm for life. So by keeping my well full by nurturing myself and thereby then having the capacity to give to others, I also top myself up again. So that (hopefully) I will always be able to supply the village with life giving water.