Full Circles

Reflections on Living

Tag: self-care

How Do You Tell If a System is Sick?

How do you tell if an organisation is sick?

It treats the people who delivers the service solely as a means as to an end.

It fails to notice that those who give care, also needs to be part of a community of care.

It dispenses wellbeing gift wrapped and surrounded with the rah-rah cheerleading of “Self-Care,” and not address the need for communal caring.

Ultimately, the greatest violation is the violation of the dignity of the human spirit.

An organisation that is sick is not able to heal those they seek to heal. Rather, they perpetuate a disease.

An organisation that is designed to help others needs to makes sure that people who are in the caring profession are cared for.

The moment we push for more, as if we are productive bots, we engage in a form of violence.

Here’s Thomas Merton talking about this exact issue more than 50 years ago.

 

“There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist…most easily succumbs: activism and over-work. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his (or her) work… It destroys the fruitfulness of his (or her)…work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

~Thomas Merton

 

Is “How Are You?” A Greeting or a Real Question?

Since moving to Australia in 2010, I could never wrap my head around the social convention of asking each other “how are you?”

I took the question too seriously at first, and I soon realised I didn’t really need to contemplate the meaning of life as all I needed to say was “Fine thank you. And how are you?”

I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m accepting that it’s really a hello or a G’day.

But 9 years later, I rethinking the “how are you’s.” Here’s what I think we should do to this social convention:

We should ask ourselves, on a daily basis, “How are you?”

And then patiently wait for a full-bodied felt response.

We don’t check in with ourselves enough. Most days, we are bustling around getting from one place to another, nailing down one task to another, from home care to schoolcare to the workforce. Meanwhile, we neglect to listen to our bodies.

Our mind is there to take care of the mind and the body. This is not just about being self-aware, because you can self-aware and still fail to ask fully embrace this beautiful question of “how are you.”

Hint: Like a call-and-response, if you ask this question to yourself and let it ring through from the top of your head to your pinky toes—and give yourself time—you might find yourself automatically letting out a sigh. That’s a good sign.

So, how are you?

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