When I was growing up, I had two homes. In my first home, my every movement was controlled and I had to follow many rules. In my second home, I had freedom and I was loved. This one was hidden deeply within myself.
While the outside world kept pushing me to become useful, I daydreamed a lot. I learned to lock myself away in a bathroom to create space and time for me to read and dream. But over the years, I had such intense training to become useful to others that others became the priority in both my homes – both my external and my internal world.
I became almost obsessed with mastering skills to help others in better and more efficient ways. My focus in training, schooling and a variety of courses was to perfect myself for the world. It took me 48 years to discover that I had totally lost myself in other people’s lives.
During a workshop that I was taking, all the students were asked where they stood in the line up of their personal priorities. For me, the idea to be the first in my own line never occurred to me. I found myself unconsciously stepping into space number 21 in my line.
To my surprise each participant was asked to openly tell the class each of the people in their lives that took priority. And I found I didn’t have any difficulty naming those people whose needs were more important than mine.
This experience was an eye-opening process for me. I could not hide from this knowledge any longer. It was then that I decided to put my needs and myself first on my own to-do list.
But now I had a dilemma – how could I be first in my life? How could I be good to myself for a change? I had no clue. I knew that I liked to be liked, appreciated, useful – even if that meant loosing energy, health and time.
So I read more books and took more workshops. But I found myself still following the same pattern of always putting others first before me. I was unable to shake off the responsibilities that I believed were mine to carry. By this point, I was exhausted from a combination of stressful work situations, dealing with dying patients, and being the main caregiver for a seriously-ill family member.
One day, I heard an announcement at work about a meditation course. It was offered by a nurse who was doing research for her Masters thesis at UBC. I signed up. It felt like this course would offer me the assistance that I desperately needed. It felt like this was a way to rediscover myself.
During the course, my journey back to myself began. I learned wonderful tools. I learned “how” to put myself first. And I now had the help that I needed when challenges arose. Most importantly, I started developing a true relationship with myself. It is an ongoing process. But I am now first in my own line. I still care for others, but after caring for myself.
Now, I teach this meditation course. If you desire to be good to yourself, to be first in your own line, welcome.
~ Ania Jasiak
Level I Teacher, Artist, BC Therapeutic Touch Practitioner, BC Instructor, BC Health Clinician BSN