Unpublished Work © 2012 Cristina Carlino
YEAR OF THE BUTTERFLY
THIS WEEK: ARE YOU THE CAREGIVER OF YOUR OWN LIFE?
A butterfly can only make her lift off into sweet air with light wings. And so can we. Our challenge is also our gift – care giving. The caregiver is the mother of all archetypes. And we are each caregivers to some degree; whether to our children, communities, clients, patients, neighbors, partners, parents, or pets. To give is a good thing. Some of us have too much of a good thing.
Lao Tsu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, said “from caring comes courage.” Question is how much courage and strength do you leave for yourself? Are we giving what we don’t have to give? Does that feel heavy or light to you? Are you noticing any tears on your wings?
One single a-ha of another way to give can be the revolutionary moment that sets our flight pattern soaring forever. I like the analogy of being on a plane and instructed that should we need oxygen, to put the mask on ourselves first. This is because if we are gasping for breath, we have no clear consciousness and help to give anyone. Selfless for too many slides into being stoic. Stoic turns to martyrdom and next without our even being able to see it, resentments grow like weeds and poison our relationships and spirit.
So this week I’m wondering:
Are we willing to receive as well as give?
Are you asking for help simply because we all need it?
Does a friend ask for an inch but you can’t give anything less than a mile?
I am a definite caregiver and have grown to discover some of the most valuable care I have ever given came in the form of standing out of another’s way. Of not donating to the ungrateful and mostly and in a kind way, speaking my own truth.
Knowing and telling our own truth- that stuff takes the real courage.
It may not mean we ignore our responsibilities but that we feel freer and lighter when we perform them. We find we have much more to give with less wear and tear than we thought because we have “our oxygen mask” on first. Butterflies, we’ve got lift off!
I like to think of an exercise: picture a person you so generously give to: perhaps a good girlfriend going through a rough patch of turbulence. What do we give to her? We see her for the unique gift she is. We remind her all about it. We bring her favorite take-out over and something bubbly for her to soak in later. We listen to her and practice patience. We feel genuine compassion. We do our best not to try to fix her but to honor her. We love her. We make her laugh again and she in turn gets us laughing. We leave her alone to breathe and say a prayer.
So the question is: did you give any of yourself today?
Will we be the caregivers in our own story? Because ultimately, when all is said and done, we each are the only ones who can be.
With grace and gratitude,