Photo by Catherine Hedrich: Labyrinth at the Gardens on Anderton.


If you take care of a child on the autism spectrum, a spouse dealing with health challenges or are simply looking for tools to help you recharge and balance your energy, this article is for you.

Today with cell phones that constantly demand our attention with their notification bells, we spend our days reacting to the moment rather than practicing the art of letting life flow through us. Add an all encompassing hourly need for your presence with a loved one in hospice and the requirement for self care seems rather obvious.

Even as I write these words in the beautiful courtyard patio at True Grain Bakery in Courtenay, I watch customer after customer exit their vehicle. They run into the building to purchase a variety of tasty organic breads, cookies and pastries and jump back into their car without taking the time to sit, enjoy a coffee and literally smell the flowers on a sunny summer day. I am pretty sure that most of them were not surgeons on their way to perform open heart surgery to save the life of a patient.

So, why do we ignore the signs of physical and emotional fatigue, until we ourselves become bedridden or experience a burnout?

It is my observation that, even though we are told that “competition” is the manner which we naturally choose to interact with one another, humans are actually “wired” to care for each other. This is the case for men, women and children. From business owners wishing to create a supportive work environment for their employees to a member of parliament returning the phone calls of his/her constituents until late in the evening, we “suffer” our obligations by attempting to meet them no matter the daily energy costs to ourselves.

Think about it.

This is partly the reason why we “feel” like we should help someone or assist them in fixing their problem. Otherwise, if it truly was part of our emotional DNA to act as if we did not care about the other, very few of us would feel overwhelmed.

So how do we change this?

The answer is so simple, that it is spoken daily during the safety instructions given on an airplane. “Place the oxygen mask on your face before you assist the person next to you“. A very basic yet profound truth.

Here are a few modern and very ancient methods for self care that I have had the privilege of being shown.

In 2007, I visited an amazing woman in Sedona who travels the world teaching workshops to Olympic athletes and school children on how to relearn how to breathe. Breathwork is any number of breathing practices and breath techniques performed to improve physical or mental well-being. When she picked me up in her car to drive me to her house for my 3 hour training session, she observed the way I spoke. Then she smiled and stated a very powerful fact, “You must be able to hold your breath under water quite nicely, because in the 15 minutes that you have been conversing, you barely stopped to take a breath”. Not only was I not breathing normally and consciously when I spoke to someone or on the phone, but I also did not properly fill my lungs with the many gases (not only oxygen), which allow our body to function at its optimum level of health. No one had ever mentioned this to me before.

It is therefore no wonder that in our modern society, we are literally “out of breath” as we run around trying to handle our daily tasks and work. Focusing on your breath is also one of the primary ways to begin to do yoga, meditation, reciting a mantra and even the art of walking a labyrinth.

As part of my own self care routine today, I entered the labyrinth at the Gardens on Anderton and began walking slowly with mindfulness. Since I tend to function primarily from my left brain, this allows me the opportunity to tap into the much needed balancing act of focus, intention and being present. The Gardens are perfectly designed to assist residents of the Comox Valley with this multi-sensory experience. Since I was born in the town of Chartres in France, I should be more aware of the benefits of walking a labyrinth. The Chartres Cathedral has a world renowned labyrinth within its walls that has been walked barefoot for centuries by millions of pilgrims.

Another simple daily activity which you can do is “grounding” yourself by removing your shoes and placing your bare feet in the grass, moss or sand. Doing this for even 20 minutes a day will help connect you to the Earth. The rubber soles of our modern shoes have literally created a barrier between our body and the natural electrical charge we need from the ground we walk on. This is also partly why those who place their hands in the soil while gardening enjoy better health.

Sound vibration is another “old technology” which is now being reintroduced via the study of quantum mechanics and ancient civilizations. Crystal and Tibetan bowls can be used to balance your energy as well as clearing that of the rooms within your home. We are very fortunate to have Crystal Journey performances by David Hickey scheduled for the coming weeks on Vancouver Island, including the Comox Valley area.

I highly recommend, especially if you are a skeptic, that you attend an evening show and experience for yourself the powerful effects of the cosmic sounds vibrating through your body. Remember, our bodies are 70% water and we have crystals within us which also resonate and can be “tuned” to our unique individual frequency alignment.

Speaking of water, I will conclude my self care recommendations with Dr. Emoto‘s ground breaking research, which led to the publication of his book, The Hidden Messages in Water.

The Hidden Messages in Water is an eye-opening theory showing how water is deeply connected to people’s individual and collective consciousness. Drawing from his own research, scientific researcher, healer, and popular lecturer Dr. Masaru Emoto describes the ability of water to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions. Using high-speed photography, he found that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it. Music, visual images, words written on paper, and photographs also have an impact on the crystal structure. Emoto theorizes that since water has the ability to receive a wide range of frequencies, it can also reflect the universe in this manner. He found that water from clear springs and water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns, while polluted water and water exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. Emoto believes that since people are 70 percent water, and the Earth is 70 percent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill.

As I aim to incorporate more of these tools in my day, I wish you well on your self care journey.

Remember to take the time to smell the roses.


Catherine Hedrich

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