I have a friend whose health is in a dire state at the moment, but she has no time to take care of herself. “Later,” she said. ‘Maybe after the holidays. I have family coming and I have booked a holiday. Busy time of the year for me.”

She needs to take care of others first, I told her.

“I have no time now,” was her reply.

In my life, I give up on very few people, but in this case, I am sad to say, I have to detach and allow my friend to choose her own path. Because there is always time, if you have the intention to live well, if you love yourself.  As someone once said,

How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.

Yes, it always starts with taking care of yourself and filling up your own cup before you can pour love into others’. And that taking care of oneself does not require expensive retreats, health food diets, gym memberships, or even good time friends. Just the intention and commitment to yourself.

This is a beautiful writing from the Vietnamese spiritualist, Thich Nhat Hanh:

A Contract With the Staircase

” Make an agreement with the
flight of stairs you use most often.
Decide to always practice walking
meditation on those stairs, going
up and going down; don’t climb
those stairs absentmindedly.
If you commit to this and then
realize you have climbed several
steps in forgetfulness, go back
down and climb up them again.
Over twenty years ago, I signed
such an agreement with my stairs,
and it has brought me great joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, ‘How to Walk’

This is my staircase, my contract to choose health and life. And as you can see, all it takes is making the choice.  I hope my friend will join me someday in making a contract with her staircase.