Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fill Your Emotional Well

This morning, while preparing to speak to the local genealogical society about how to leave a legacy, I was reviewing some old journals when I ran across this clip I had taped to a page in 2001. (The italics show passages I highlighted.)

"By the time I got to Paris I need no project, no art or architecture to structure my days. I had miraculously reconnected with my oldest friend - myself. I was no longer furious with my body for falling apart on me. During my illness, I had listened to audiotapes by intuitive healer Caroline Myss. She talks about how hard it is to keep promises to ourselves. We say we'll get up and go running, but we don't. We'll bend over backward to keep our word to a lover, a friend an employer, even a stranger. But we let ourselves down.

"When we are ill, Myss says, we tell our body to get better, that we will appreciate it and treat it well, but our body knows better than to believe us. My illness had no simple cause. It wasn't because of smoking or poor diet or anything I had been warned about. But before I got sick, I had never taken my own need for care and attention seriously. I promised myself a million things - to try a yoga class, to stop filling my weekends with a gazillion errands, to get up early and watch the sun rise. I very rarely kept those vows, but I could be counted on to show up for anyone and everyone who asked.

"So in Paris, I made a decision: It wasn't going to take another frightening illness for me to give myself a break, to say no, to remember what mattered most to me. Since then, travel has become more than a respite from the world I live in; it's a way to refill my emotional well." (Sorry, I didn't save the source.)

Back in 2001, I hadn't written the first travel article. But I wanted to. And I have. And I still want to. Now I remember why. And remembering that makes today easier.

What fills your emotional well?

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