Did you know that self care is an act of love that leads to self awareness?
When you become more self aware, you recognize what mother cultures teach us – that the self isn’t limited to your skin, your person, your family, your organizations, or your species. It is all of that and much more. We are, as Gregory Bateson says, the “pattern that connects,” and love is the current through which we make this connection.
The whole self comes into being the moment you recognize that you are part of this energetic web of life. There is no separation between you and the invisible force that surrounds you every day. The quantum self is the personification of the quantum field within you that is you. When you relax into this knowing, you feel more fully connected to your authentic nature (or invisible soul), to everyone and everything. Being in the world then feels more like you are of the world. You go from being scared and alone in the ocean of life to understanding you are the sea, currents, air, and sunlight. You are here, there, and everywhere. The time-space continuum as you have understood it begins to take on new meaning.
You are part of this hologram. The primary cord that connects you to this quantum field establishes itself when you prioritize your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health – in other words, your self care.
Research tells us that when we are stressed, we function from the limbic brain that is focused on survival. It’s the older part of the brain that is programmed to respond to the threat of a wild animal that wants to eat you or starvation because you can’t find food. This brain is driven by the four Fs – feeding, fighting, fleeing, fornicating, and I will add freezing. It is the part that seeks relief from the stress response by using drugs, alcohol, sexcapades, or food to comfort yourself.
All of your core negative beliefs are sourced from this part of your brain and reinforced by your projections out into the world. Over the span of your life, these negative core beliefs form neuropathways act like highways getting bigger and stronger.
Did you grow up poor and make a decision that you would never have “enough” and now feel short of time, cash, love, and what you truly desire? Or were you abandoned and made a decision that no one is trustworthy, that you have to leave people before they leave you, and now suffer a chronic sense of loneliness? These are examples of a life driven by the limbic brain. In this life, you are more focused on “doing” in an effort to defend and protect yourself from real or perceived harm then “being” (relaxation response), because there is no protection there.
Self care, which is highly organized attention focused on restoring the health and vitality of the whole self, is what can override the limbic system, because it activates the newer part of your brain called the neocortex. The neocortex is what floods your system with the stress reducing hormones that calm your nerves, open your imagination, and enable you to reconnect to the quantum self in experiences of beauty, awe, wonder, stillness, and fullness of being. It is the initiator of what scientists call the “relaxation response.”
So how do you strengthen this part of the brain?
High degrees of self care will put you in the relaxation response or the terrain of magic, mystery, and a nervous system that feels the unity consciousness of two worlds, the one you can see and the one you can’t but can feel – the ephemeral. Neglecting your self care will make you vulnerable to the stress response, and send you into a life organized by the limbic brain where you feel separation and disconnection.
You are likely to get caught in negative thoughts that lead to negative feelings and cause you to act in ways that are destructive. If you are overly tired or run down because of self neglect, you are vulnerable to compulsive behaviors like going numb on TV, picking a fight with your lover, overeating, or drinking that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety that flood your body and cause you to withdraw into isolation. Cut off from the neocortex which enables you to feel a sense of confidence and access to creative solutions, you suffer in your aloneness with no sense of the greater life force that surrounds you. As the limbic brain sends hormones through the neuropathways, you are overcome by the stress response and lose yourself to the illusion that your life is being threatened by something beyond your control. You may then look for someone (the next guru) or something (intoxicating substance) to fix the situation.
You have the power to turn off the limbic brain or stress response in the body and to turn on the neocortex or relaxation response in the body. Every spiritual practice across time and cultures has taught this, and the first step is self care.
Rigorous self care fortifies all of the inner resources necessary to support the natural repair mechanisms in your biology and activate the neocortex, what some authors refer to as the “spirit mind.”
Self care includes but is not limited to the following:
Eat regular meals that nourish the neocortex like live organic fruits, vegetables, fish oil, Vitamin D in the form of sunshine, and oxygen-rich fresh air from the natural world. Avoid overwhelming the body with caffeine, sweets, or processed foods that feed the limbic brain. A lack of exercise shuts down the natural repair mechanisms designed to reduce the free radicals produced by stress, so keep moving!
Soothe the overactive limbic brain noise through yoga or meditation. Do what it takes to keep your thinking more flexible and less rigid, like stimulating the growth of new cells by learning new things. Access your creative imagination on a daily basis through play, art, story, music, or movement.
Welcome your feeling, sensing self, and resist efforts to compartmentalize or deny strong emotion. Process and integrate feelings through journaling and therapeutic conversations with friends/family or a counselor. Stay tuned in and in touch with yourself which leads to more trustworthiness in your emotional nature and self-confidence. Doing so will make you more relaxed and accepting of others and less likely to feel threatened and overwhelmed.
Feed your soul with acts of beauty, daily encounters with awe, and follow a spiritual practice to cultivate an alive stillness. This can include running, an organized study like the Course in Miracles, or a martial art like Taekwando. By doing so, you will be able to handle adversities with greater ease and grace and feel more at home in yourself and less alone in the world.
Tending to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies influences the health of your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the world. Your ability to think positively, feel a sense of authentic joy and connection, and access to that invisible force begins and ends with your willingness to prioritize self care. When you fortify the neocortex, you enter a state of self-awareness that includes not only the small self (limbic brain) but the large Self, the quantum self. You understand that simply eating Paleo isn’t enough; you must adopt the Paleo indigenous worldview, of unity or quantum consciousness.
How will you practice self care today?