Yet, so often, life can get in the way of this, asking more and more from us. It is easy to end up feeling burnt out, exhausted or depleted in some way.
The last thing we remember to do is find time for ourselves, at the one point we most need to. If you are experiencing something like this right now, take a moment to stop and just breathe …
When I realised at the end of last year that I was feeling depleted and in need of time out, I requested a Sabbatical, which our Board, bless them, approved very quickly. As I write this article, I am preparing to go away for a month to relaxing North Devon, to enjoy the scenery, air and space of the West Country.
To be truthful, it took a lot for me to request this. However, I feel relieved that I recognised my need and spoke up when I did, and I am extremely grateful to our Board. Further, I also recognise that this is an example of self-care, encouraging others to do the same. Especially if there is an emotional response to this!
I love my work in Unity and all that I do here. I receive so much from being of service. It is one of the joys of being a Unity Minister. Yet, because as a child, I developed a strong sense of responsibility and the idea that I must work hard for my living, I found myself taking on more and more work, without making enough space for myself to rest and renew. Perhaps you resonate with this as well. Like me, you might love what you do and find it hard to say no to more work.
Yet we can find a way to do this, as Pure Being, the Christ energy within us, never asks us to do anything that removes our health and peace. The opposite is true.
Does this article resonate with you? If so, how can you practice self-care? What can you do for yourself that lifts your heart with joy and peace?
Reflect on this for a moment … Acknowledge your desire for this. Then acknowledge any self-talk that tries to talk you out of it … This is not Christ within talking.
Anything that lifts your heart and mind is only ever for the good for you and those around you. The mental chatter that criticises and condemns is the human personality that operates out of ‘not good enough’ ‘must work harder’ etc.
Take some time this month, especially during this season of Lent, for self-care. Like me, you may take up childhood pleasures like colouring, doing a jigsaw, cross-stitching, walking, reading, journaling.
Whatever it is – you are important enough and worthy enough to give yourself this gift. Because as you do, you will be rewarded with a deeper sense of connection to your True Self and enable a beautiful Easter experience of upliftment and ease.
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
I have been thinking a lot about fellowship recently. Partly because I have been running a Unity discussion group and listening to a lot of very engaging retreat talks given by David Davenport, Unity Maidenhead’s minister, a generation ago. And partly because I am part of a 12-step programme where daily fellowship, ‘sharing experience strength and hope,’ is a central heart of our spiritual growth.
Our modern digital world can be a very lonely place. No HD screen or Dolby sound system can replace the human presence. A touch is so much more important than a touch screen! Yet if you go on the train these days you find so many souls huddled over their iPhones, cutting themselves of from the sights and sounds of the outside world.
In some ways of course we are more open to each other than people were in the past. Taboos have been overcome. We can talk more about some quite intimate things. But so much of this sharing is done impersonally, via the internet. How often do we dare to speak our truth directly to our partner, our neighbour, or our work colleague? Do we even tell it to ourselves?
Each morning at Unity we gather on Zoom to prayer and meditate around the Daily Word reflection for the day. It is a very warm, open, and supportive place – although of course we meet each other only via an online screen. Phones can provide a more direct encounter. Here at Taplow, where we run the Silent Unity prayer line, people ring in every day, often because they feel hurt, even paralysed by loneliness. We rarely meet these people, but often feel so very close to them – and this closeness, in the act of prayer especially, is so very healing and uplifting.
Are there other ways in which we can cut across the impersonality of our twenty-first century world? Eric Butterworth, one of Unity’s most popular and inspiring writers, once told the story of a chance meeting with a young teenager in a New York subway. Seeing this young person by chance across a crowded carriage he was struck by how lonely and vulnerable the boy looked. He wanted to go up and hug him! But of course he could not do that. Instead he shut his eyes and prayed. When he opened them, their eyes met by chance for the very first time. Instinctively they both smiled. Eric Butterworth said that he never forgot that moment in his life.
So I don’t think we have to tear down our digital culture to get through the isolation. Sometimes it can be as simple as a chance smile across a train carriage. The important thing for me is to be open to the moment. And I think that our Unity journey helps us so much in this - perhaps the greatest single thing I can do in my day.
Unity media producer
Candlemas is a Feast of Light and Hope. Traditionally it celebrates the Presentation of Christ to the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin Mary, associated with feminine, Mother energy.
Candles would be blessed for use throughout the year. Candles representing indwelling light and new beginnings.
Returning to the light as the days grow longer, this could also be a metaphor for reconnecting with our inner Joy. Renewing our strength and light from within.
To observe your own simple candlemas ritual.
Gather yourself and some tea lights, candles, Incense or a special object that will represent LIGHT for you.
Place them in front of you or hold them.
Take some breaths. Breathing in calm and peace and breathing out letting it wash over you.
" I am open to receiving light into my life"
Visualize light surrounding your object or candle. Send your positive thoughts and prayers to it.
These can then be used as a focal point during mediation or prayers. Sending light back to you whenever you put your attention to it.
Light and Blessings everybody.
By Stephanie Bridges
Unity in the UK