Self Regulation: The Art of Living

The answer to exhaustion is not necessarily rest — it is whole-heartedness.

This wave starts with a quote from John O’Donohue; “ The answer to exhaustion is not necessarily rest — it is whole-heartedness.” These wise words have rippled through me with the potency of truth many times. In the landscape of life, our evolving nature directs our attention, leads us into the next unknown and guides us towards destiny. As we navigate our changing nature, whole-heartedness lives in us as a compass of personal truth, pointing to what or who has heart and meaning for us. We enter the dance of each day with facility to listen for the spin of that compass, to direct our focus and action to the will of heartful engagement. Or do we?

New millennial life, dictated by the pace of culture, is accelerating and amplifying. We are becoming creatures of speed. With the pressure to be efficient, we are doing more, compressing more, squeezing time into ever smaller increments. The demands to produce our lifestyle have us too exhausted to enjoy that which we work so hard for.

There seems to be less time and space just to be, just to listen. How can we know our hearts longing if we do not stop to listen?

Many of us think that “self care” is the antidote, but self care often becomes another routine of automated action in the long list of to-do’s. If we are not present to the experience of tending self, we do not experience true tending. It is the harnessing of our full attention and resting into it that feeds our heart fire.

Authentic self care must be built on our intrinsic knowing of what is nourishing and needed as we move through the day. Self-regulation is a conscious state of inquiry, a song of agency, the capacity to listen to our own whole-hearted response to any given environment, situation or moment of being. It is the unfolding timeless present meeting the vast awareness of our consciousness and our innate spaciousness to be with what is with fullness and truth. To self- regulate is to learn to trust ourselves, to dare to be open to what we want, to make choices that shine with self love and respect.

The human organism is designed to self-regulate. When we do not listen to our need for rest and override our system, we lose the delicate balance we need and compromise our health. This override becomes the new normal. Ultimately, however, there is breakdown as our organism loses cohesion, becomes unable to recognize itself, stretched beyond its ability to adapt.

We are a tidal creature, born out of the ocean with its rhythms and  multidirectional movement. We are fluid and elemental by design. We need the full exhale after the full inhale, that balance of movement and stillness, action and rest, extrinsic focus and intrinsic emptiness.

To rediscover how to self regulate begins with slowing down, becoming quiet and listening. It begins with an inquiry into whole-heartedness. It begins with a decision to drop deeper, let go and courageously say yes to the Love that you are. In the deep truth of the action of self love, we live with our fear but are not bound by it. Honoring self is how we learn and grow in the ease to honor others.

When we give ourselves permission to flow with our own tides, then being with everyone else’s rhythms becomes easy. As we grow in compassion for ourselves, we find we have more for those around us. We return to our true nature as beings of Nature and live as one with the movement of Life.