Ramblings of an Old Flower Child: Conscious Engagement

What’s important to you? How are you spending your precious time? When did you come up with a plan for your life? Who are you becoming?

In the face of the mounting forces (like the destruction of the environment) and pressing causes vying for your attention (including the erosion of personal freedom), what is left for your own health and well being? The demands of modern society, including family responsibilities, commitment to work and navigating the endless array of political vignettes on every level of life, leave people stretched thin. What happened to your personal platform? What happened to your life tapestry design? If you haven’t taken the time to create a plan and set goals in your personal life as well as your career, chances are that you are being buffeted by whatever wind blows your way. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to take a step back and assess the tapestry that you are weaving.

I have been increasingly sucked into the quagmire of politics. As a citizen of the world, I have aligned with the Council of Canadians, PETA and other global efforts. I’m also involved with local politics. My ‘Faceplant’ page is rife with postings about various urgent injustices happening everywhere. The various calls to duty all take time. With each decision to get involved, I stepped deeper into arenas of conflict, greed and power struggles. The ‘flower child’s’ intention was to serve. At the same time I had strayed so far from my joy that my sense of self (my inner light) had become diminished.

Last week I was sitting at my eye doctor’s office and stewed in my angst for the world. My awareness of toxic global change had seeped into my bones somehow and flavoured every little thing in my personal space. In the same breath, I faced my monthly fear of the needle, going blind and my systemic decline resulting from several chronic conditions. In that moment, I realized that my health would not support me in championing the pressing matters of the world. I would have to closely examine what I could—and more importantly—what I could no longer do. That was a hard pill to swallow. Another lesson in letting go—yikes and hallelujah.

Shortly after, it just so happened that more clarity came to me through tapping (EFT technique) with my heaven-sent friend, Diane. Tapping is the most effective method that I have found to access awareness and guidance underneath the chatter of ego. The irony is that I know this stuff. I suggest it to my counselling clients. So I was a bit surprised at forgetting to practice what I preach. At least I woke up when I did.

The resulting epiphany was that I needed to ‘develop a plan!’ The sense of freedom and renewed purpose that flowed from that clarity was like a much needed shot in the arm. This new plan was to include 2 separate areas, i.e. personal (inner) and work (outer). The plan that emerged included short, medium and long term goals along with steps and rough timelines. There were some basic tenets inherent in my plan. If it is time to create or revisit your plan, consider the following.


Personal (Inner) Engagement:

Body – What are you invested in with exercise, healthy food and rest/sleep?

Mind – What are you passionate about and involving yourself with? What are you learning about that’s new?

Spirit – How are you incorporating stillness for reflection and/or meditation in your day? How often are you going to nature?


Work (Outer) Engagement:

Body – Do you take regular work breaks (every ninety minutes) and move your body during the course of your day?

Mind – Are you discerning in what you are involved with? Do you focus on one thing at a time? Are you being responsible in your choices?

Spirit – Is your work aligned with your ethics? Does your work feed your soul?

Social – Who is in your ‘tribe’ and how do you connect with them? Who are you rubbing shoulders with? Is your work balanced in how it affects others? Does your career promote a win-win scenario?

The clarity and focus from having a plan has harnessed my energy and strength that had been otherwise diffused. My plan helped me to be more effective in both inner and outer arenas. So the new plan still includes my duties to my fellow human beings. Yet my involvement in sweeping societal events has been measured and doled out in sustainable portions. My outer engagement is anchored in allocating time for myself and my balance. The ‘grain of sand becoming aware of itself as the beach’ still needs the grain to be more or less with it for everything to work. My priority and lesson, once again, is to mind my personal health and well being before jumping into the broader fray.


Helena Green is a Registered Professional Counsellor in Nanaimo specializing in relationships, grief & loss and personal growth.