If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person


Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.

This is the classic analogy, but it’s still very appropriate.

Take care of your own basic needs first, and then you’ll be in a much better position to assist others.

On the one hand, this is a dynamic balance. Sometimes, it’s appropriat to focus on taking care of our own needs. Other times, we are in a position to focus more on the needs of others. And this often changes with the roles we play over the course of a day and a lifetime.

On the other hand, they are two sides of the same coin. We may spend time taking care of our own needs, for instance when we need healing or to get basic needs taken care of, and that benefits others in the moment or later. Or we may find ways to assist others in ways that are deeply nurturing and meaningful to us, and also takes care of our own material needs.

Several things may help us find and live these solutions that simultaneously benefit and nurture ourselves and the wider world (even if it’s in apparently small ways).

It helps when we hold the bigger picture in mind. When we seek solutions good for all, including future generations. And when we are open to solutions outside of what we expect or are familiar with.

It helps when we take care of our beliefs and identifications around either being a self-sacrificing martyr or selfish. The solutions present themselves easier the less we are identified with these, and the more we are free from them.

It helps the less substantial we take the imagined boundary between ourselves and the larger whole to be. The more we experience it as just a temporarily imagined boundary, the easier it is to act in ways good for ourselves and the wider whole.

And it helps the more healed we are as human beings. Wounds often make us act in reactive ways, including from reactive and narrow-minded self-preservation. The more healed and whole we are, the more natural it is to wish to act in a way that’s kind and informed by larger picture concerns.

And working on these is, in itself, an example of a solution that benefit ourselves and the larger whole.


Flavors of doing it for myself


Some flavors of doing it for myself…

If I investigate, I find that whatever I am doing, I am already doing it for myself.

If I don’t see it, and tell myself I am not doing it for myself, there can easily be various forms of unease and struggle, such as resentment, anger, jitteriness, hopelessness or fatigue.

I do something, tell myself I don’t want to do it (which is partly true), so get in conflict with myself and the word.

That is one flavor of doing it for myself. I already do it for myself, but don’t see it.

When I investigate, I find – as mentioned above – that I am already doing it for myself.

A simple way of noticing this is to first write down a have to statement, and then change it to a want statement. I have to pay taxes to avoid trouble > I want to pay taxes to avoid trouble. I find for myself that the latter is more honest and more true. (This one comes from Marshall Rosenberg.)

Another is to trace my motivation for what I am doing back to its seed. What do I hope to get from paying taxes? I get to avoid trouble, such as fines and prison. What do I hope to get out of avoiding trouble? I get to avoid suffering. What do I hope to get out of avoiding suffering? I hope to experience happiness. (Inquiry suggested by Adyashanti.)

Seeing this more clearly, I am not in struggle or conflict with myself anymore. I may choose to change my behavior, or not, but now from being more aligned with myself.

Finally, do it for myself can be a pointer.

I am doing something, it feels a little uncomfortable, and I notice it is because I try to live up to a certain image or impress someone. Doing it for myself is then a pointer to shift into consciously doing it for myself, not for others. And when this happens, there is a sense of comfort, wholeness, being home, and honesty.

I went swimming yesterday, and noticed that I felt a little rushed as I did my laps, there was a hint of discomfort there. I then saw a hint of a motivation of trying to impress others (as if anyone were interested!), remembered do it for myself, and immediately shifted into a deeper relaxation and sense of comfort. From the outside, there may not have been much of a shift, but my experience of it was quite different – and from there, my movements were more relaxed and effortless.

Again, what I am doing may or may not change, but my relationship to it changes.