Native-American Know-How: How To Take Care of Yourself First

I have a friend, Will, who’s a Native American. Want to know what the elders told him at a ceremony?

“Pray for yourself first. After that, pray for others.”

Pray for yourself first.

Your first burst of karmic energy is for yourself.

Make sure you heal the sacred space your soul calls home first before you pray for others.

Will said that he was always entangled in the crises of the people around him. Then he said he was slowly guided back to himself. He had to find a way to hold what he calls a “sacred space sanctuary” within himself.

Sometimes we have to walk away for a few minutes from people who want us to jump in their boat of misery with them. Sometimes people will call us selfish. They might say we don’t care about them because we’re not miserable when they’re miserable. People who want us to abandon our own priorities to focus on their priorities.

Do not be fooled. Put on your moccasins if you have to and walk away when you feel someone else is draining you. If you want other Native American sayings, go here.

Take care of yourself first.


About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
This entry was posted in Being a Hero In Your Life, Self-care and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Native-American Know-How: How To Take Care of Yourself First

  1. Excellent advice. All my life, I was told to think of others first, put their needs above my own, and that was the way to live. It took me a very long time to realize that wasn’t good for me, or for them. You put it simply, clearly: Take care of yourself first.
    Thank you for another excellent post.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Marilyn, for your comment! On an airplane, parents always have to put their oxygen masks on first. Then, once they’re taken care of, they can take care of others.

  2. Great advice, thankyou
    be good to yourself

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