Lousy Lifeguards Ahoy!


“If you’re drowning, you’re a lousy lifeguard.”
— Seth Godin, author

I’m about to get on a plane. Which is exciting in itself. Since I’m flying a classy airline, they give you little packets of snacks and sandwiches and cakes and drinks to play with. I love that.

The last “non-classy” airline I flew – as in you have to buy your food with cash, not wrapped up in the cost of the ticket – was in Mexico.

Since all I wanted was one last taste of Mexican food I cleverly (so I thought) got takeout from the terminal. Of course once in the air I proceeded to dump it all over the front of me.

Nothing like smelling like a burrito with extra jalapeños for 10 hours!

Airplane food: keep it simple.

But – the most underrated and little appreciated thing ALL airlines give you is this bomb of wisdom:

In an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first – before helping others.

A fine metaphor for life, I’m sure you will agree.

You are a useless lifeguard when you’re drowning yourself, as Seth Godin points out.

When you’re on top form, full of clarity, calm, creativity, with energy and with a fine sense of humour, everyone around you wins.

Yet as I discussed this with a group of parents at one workshop, they all agreed they were going to help their kids to oxygen first and then see if there was any life left for them.

Which is how we do things, isn’t it?

Them first, me later.

Which isn’t so smart.

I don’t mean to call you stupid, don’t get me wrong. Always putting yourself last has a certain kind of logic, but when you step back, truly step back, you will realise it’s not so logical after all.

Balance is key.

When you give to yourself first in a few critical places you can give more. A touch of selfishness here gives you the ability to give buckets there, there and everywhere.

The thing is it seems that there are so many things clamouring for our attention.

We throw what we can do the things that shout loudest, but we’re always in semi-manic, fire fighting mode.

“I don’t have enough time” is the mantra of our day and age. “How can I possibly stop, even to catch my breath?”

I’m busy too. Things to see, people to do, all day long.

And yet tomorrow (oh yeah!) I’m heading away to a 10 day Ishayas’ Ascension meditation teacher’s retreat.

I’ve got a ton of reasons why I shouldn’t, but I have one very crucial and overpowering reason why I should.

My peace, sense of humour, connection with my higher self is far more important to me than anything else.

And I know that when I take the time now, I’ll get it back 1000 fold later.

Look, I get you. It’s alright for me. You’re right. It’s true. You simply can’t stop.

The truth is, you have to.

If you aren’t living life exactly as you want to, you must.

And when you do, when you stop, and pause and take time for yourself to recharge and reconnect, you learn a valuable lesson. Which is:

You have as much time as you need.

Let me put it another way:

Have you ever picked up an old newspaper and realised that it may be 1 year, 10 years, even 20 years older, and although the characters have changed, the news is the same?

Your life is the same.

There isn’t a point where you’ll get to the end of your to-do list. There never is “just get me through these next 2 weeks and then I can step back and … etc.”

It just doesn’t happen.

Granted, there are busier times and places than others, but you have to step back for yourself, no matter what is crying out at you.

The WHAT will pretty much be the same same, you have to decide HOW you’re going to do it.

HOW do you want to live your life?

Taking the time to commit to nurturing your heart, soul and body is essential for you if you want to be able to freely choose the HOW. Scheduling something like your Ishayas’ Ascension practice on a non-negotiable basis is necessary.


It’s a leap of faith thing.

You just have to trust me and give it a go.

Jump and see, commit to it and experience what happens.

Of course, if it doesn’t work out better for you, go back to what you were doing. 

But I am confident, because I do this with myself and many many people, if you don’t let that “too busy, later” Voice win, you will see real change in yourself, your levels of peace, clarity and energy, in your relationships, in your relationship with yourself and your self-respect.

Jump, and see.

Have a fine time, and go well!

I’ll see if I can get an email to you next week but otherwise talk more week after that.