Healing the healer

Are you a caretaker?  Are you at least partially responsible for someone else’s health, happiness, and peace on a daily basis?  Chances are the answer is yes.

Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Being a caretaker can be part of your career—as a nurse, teacher, or social worker to name just a few—or part of your lifestyle—as a spouse, parent, and increasingly as a son or daughter—or even be a part of your personality.

While being a caretaker is wonderful, all too often the last thing that gets accounted for is the condition of the caretaker him or herself.

Many of the individuals who find their way to Dahn Yoga Centers are caretakers.  Oftentimes they have come with the realization that after years of trying to help their families, friends, coworkers or clients, they themselves are somehow lacking in health, happiness or peace.

Often these individuals have noticed mental and emotional symptoms such as  anxiety and depression, or they have been diagnosed with what are still mysterious conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, or they simply have the sense that, despite their sincere efforts to love and care for those around them, something is missing.

When you start taking class at Dahn Yoga one of the first things you will notice is the emphasis to ‘focus on yourself.’

Focussing on yourself is an essential part of Brain Education—the process of awakening greater mastery of the brain and all its functions, including those for self-healing.  At first it may seem unnatural or even ‘selfish’ to focus on yourself, but soon you will appreciate the class as a time to reflect on, relax and rejuvenate your mind and body.

Have you noticed the instructions on an airplane, “In the event of an emergency please secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to help those around you who may need assistance,”?

Or have you ever heard the saying “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he’ll be able to eat for a lifetime,”?

Or how about Mohandas Ghandi’s famous quote, “Be the change that you want to see in the world,”?

These three different pieces of wisdom relate to the truth that it is through ourselves that we help others.  First we need to make sure our own health and happiness is sustainable.  Beyond that, we need to help others become self-sustaining rather than dependent on our help.  Finally, in order to honestly communicate what it is that we truly want, we need to become the very change that we want to share.

This ‘win-win’ principle becomes fundamental to sustaining (or surviving!) the energetic responsibilities of taking care of others.  Some people say all healing is self-healing.  So if you find yourself feeling burnt-out or your condition compromised please take a deeper look at what you need in order to be happy, healthy, and peaceful.   Because healing, like life, is a marathon rather than a sprint!

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