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Cockatiels and self-care

At home we have two cockatiels and already several times i have seen that they really are receptive to communication. In the morning for instance, when i come into the room, they put their heads as closely as possible to mine and in a very unreserved way, without any shame or reticence whatsoever, they just want full attention. Nothing less. And they go for it with all of their body and by producing cute sounds.

I have thought more than once, if only i was able to ask attention for myself in the same way….it always has been difficult to ask attention if needed some. Usually I made myself invisible. But the last few months my daughter was severely ill, even close to death, and it made me realise the importance of really looking carefully after myself in a skilled way, looking after my body, my emotions, my thoughts, aware of the importance of every living being, including me. Not everyone else except me as my usual pattern is.

I remember visiting Sangharakshita once and after a conversation of some length I asked him if it had not been too much for him. And his reply was: “Oh no, don’t worry, i’m very sensitive in taking care of myself”. I came to think that taking care of oneself in a mindful and compassionate way is really a courageous thing to do.

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About Arthakusalin

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Arthakusalin lives with his family in Oudenaarde, an old Flemish city known for its tapestries. He is involved in the Triratna buddhist centre in Ghent which he considers to be "probably the most beautiful city in the world." He was raised in the Western part of Belgium, not far from Ypres, a city who still breathes the tragic stories of the first World War. After living a few years without direction or sense he decided to try to live as ethically as possible, even if life would have no sense at all. A few months later he met the Dharma and was impressed with the clarity, the simplicity and by having the responsibility for his own life. For the time being he works with adolescents with mental disabilities coming from social classes with lesser opportunities. Read more articles by .

Comments

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Comment from Ann Becker-Schutte
Time: May 3, 2011, 11:36 pm

Lovely! So many of us struggle with asking for the help we need and recognizing that our own self-care is the foundation to being able to serve others. Thank you for this.

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Comment from Melanie
Time: May 6, 2011, 3:27 pm

Thankyou for sharing your thoughts….this really touched my soul….i come from a tradition where being a martyr is good….and one should feel guilty taking care of oneself…What you said made so much sense. Hope you are your dear daughter are well.

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Comment from Arthakusalin
Time: May 7, 2011, 8:17 am

Giving much attention to the first stage in the metta bhavana, metta for oneself, for your body, your emotions, your thougts, for everything what happens in oneself, can be a very good means to deal with all sorts of guilt feelings…it is very important not to skip this step and rush onto the other stages because if we do so it is easy ending up as martyrs again…

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Comment from Upekshadaka
Time: June 1, 2011, 3:15 am

a really good article!

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Comment from Samayadevi
Time: June 16, 2011, 10:10 pm

Thank you for this and may your daughter be well.

I am beginning to think that one of the conditions for the arising of bodhicitta might be….self nurture. So counter intuitive?

May all be well.

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Comment from Compare Home Insurance
Time: November 27, 2011, 1:57 pm

What a really great piece!!

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