“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 she got used to this new rhythm of feeding her soul first.
Interesting, that even when others weren’t demanding her time, Jackie would be the one to neglect her own needs. Something simple in terms of a new pattern would still take courage and strength to follow through.
Finally, after some practice, there can a day when something arose in her world that required care, Jackie was much more calm and aware before she gave out her caring energy and intelligence. The automatic pattern of jumping in had stopped. She could recognize a “neurotic” impulse – i.e., an instinctual action based on wounds of her past; for example, overcompensating as a youth in a dysfunctional family system. Rescuing and mothering others were ways that she got attention as a kid. But it wasn’t a healthy pattern and it needed to change.
And after several rounds of careful attention and objective support/study, Jackie could see the neurosis arise, sidestep it, and create a new pattern. Thus, one slice of her dark side was healed.
THE MAP TO POSITIVE CHANGE
There are steps to changing patterns that don’t serve you. This is one of the ways you can help change the world through changing yourself.
a) First, you notice a repeating pattern. It feels wrong, and leads to problems over and over again. You may not fully understand it all, but it leads to funky feelings – anxiety, upset, or some kind of blues.
b) As a soul savvy spirit, you recognize a bit of sacred grist for the mill, and agree to the work of it.
c) You create or go to the objective support / sanctuary you’ve created. (For example, Mastermind groups, peer support group, therapy/coaching/healing support, truthful/objective friends, etc.) You name the issue you’re watching and consult about it as needed. Before acting, you check inside.
d) Over and over, you touch in with your own inner wisdom about this pattern, and create a new groove. Each round you ask, what’s the right action? What’s the gift I’m learning here?
e) Finally you are less of a victim, and less “on automatic” about the pattern. You can actually see it peacefully, as a teacher, an ally even. You catch the pattern early when it still rears its head. You have choice. You sidestep it. A new way of being unfolds around this core need for _____ (love, attention, etc.)
f) In this process you experience healing of the related wound (in this case, attention deficit parenting). NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARISE as a result of the increased cosmic room in your consciousness, due to dropping neurotic baggage.
It’s humbling to see the dark side, and to know it will keep attracting the same funky circumstances until it’s healed. On the other hand, once you get the hang of this format, it can be freeing to contribute in this way to personal and planetary healing. The dark side’s gift, once healed, will keep on giving.