Fit Your Own Oxygen Mask First

10 Jun

We’re halfway through our retreat.


As I lay in savasana, waiting for our afternoon practice to begin, Belinda invited us to come up with an intention, a sankalpa. I usually start putting words into my brain: abundance, love, joy – all the things I enjoy and have a connection to.

Belinda asked us to repeat the word in our mind, like a mantra, inviting it in, feeling it in our bodies. As I started my litany, another word arose, unbidden.


It took me by surprise. I know how to set my intention! Where had this come from?

But as I stayed with it, I saw how perfectly it fitted right now. I saw how much I have been running around, making things happen, helping, pleasing, being “nice”.

But amid that activity, I am leaving myself behind.

Key to Success

I’m starting to notice that most moments of stress or feeling harried arise from a sense of taking on too much. Not for myself, but for other people.

I have so many projects I want to be working on – yet I’ll do a favour here, help someone out there, “just quickly” attend to something which will mean I won’t have time to do something that’s important to me. That’s not to say the people in my life are not important, but there needs to be a balance.

I’m reminded of the all too familiar line I’ve heard hundreds of times on an aeroplane: Fit your own oxygen mask first before helping others.

Fit your own mask first

What does it feel like when someone does something for you under duress, or out of obligation?

I’m starting to see how saying “no” can be a gift. That it can be said with grace and respect. That doing a favour with resentment is not a favour at all.

By nourishing myself, by taking care of myself first, I will be able to give more freely, lovingly and with greater generosity.

Because I’m worth it.


2 Responses to “Fit Your Own Oxygen Mask First”

  1. agrippinamaior June 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Love when a sankalpa jumps out and graps you buy the throat like that when your aware mind has already picked some words. Your unconscious say ‘rubbish! this is right today!’


  1. Therapy : The Oxygen Mask | Comfortably Numb - June 26, 2013

    […] Fit Your Own Oxygen Mask First ( […]

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