Part one of this series
“Expansiveness is a state of being that carries you deeply into the realm of your spirit by means of past learned or experienced limitations.” Angelic Messenger Cards, Pg. 49, Expansiveness Card
Jackie was enjoying her walk through the farmer’s market; who knew watermelon radishes existed, never mind that they were so tasty raw. As she picked a few turnips, and she noted one on the ground. Her first temptation was to pick it up and buy it, feeling sorry for it. She grinned as she realized another manifestation of her “saving lost pups” policy. She instead picked two perfect turnips, and left the floor model for the employees to rescue… They were after all, getting paid for that now, weren’t they?
In the last two articles, we’ve been following Jackie’s transformation of her pattern of rescuing and over-caregiving others. This pattern was costly in terms of her own balance and sanity. How do you know when you’re overdoing it with caring for others? Well, if you’re feeling like that act of helping, will create a deficit of caring for yourself, it’s too much. And like that turnip – there may be other options for help to arrive. So just admit it’s not going to be you this time, though you do care; watch what happens. Usually there are other options that appear, when you’re honest about your own needs.
It took years of jumping in too quickly on projects she’d later resent, and a long tradition of being a family helper, before Jackie realized the world would not stop turning if she tuned into her own needs first. Or at least included her needs in the equation of what she gave her attention to, for heaven’s sake. One of the symptoms of over giving was, she was exhausted! This was ax sign that she’d been giving away too much.
THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING, AS GILDA RADNER SAID
Yes, there was always something amiss that could pull her in – yet she realized, that’s life! For example, soon after her not-really-so-homeless-after-all friend finally moved out, a family member of Jackie’s became very depressed. According to the old way of things, Jackie would be assumed to be the leader of the effort to help. She’s smart and knowledgeable, so it made sense. Yet, she wasn’t the only capable one in the mix.
Sometimes when you’re creating a new pattern, you might feel like you have to be ruthless about not falling into that old mold. The old way is comfortable and known. New patterns feel awkward and off at first. Yet for Jackie, the old way had caused a lot of problems, and was finally too painful to repeat. She was too conscious to keep doing the old way. She had her eyes open to this dynamic now, though it was weird at first to do something different than what she’d always done.
STEP BY STEP, INNER WISDOM RE-ROOTS
Often you need objectivity to see your own patterns and establish new ones. Luckily, Jackie had the kind of support that enabled her to
a) name the pattern – it’s good to give it a label and have a handle for it
b) watch it and catch it early when it arose, suspending automatic responses (which were suspect)
c) ask for inner wisdom and guidance regarding how to handle caregiving situations differently
The naming of the issue created further intensive study of this dynamic of balancing self-care in her life. Jackie had to get used to putting herself first. At first, she kept getting derailed from new self-care commitments; say, the things she wanted to start the day with – spiritual practice, time in nature. It took months before Read more