There are two approaches that I want to take to this topic. One is the very common mindset (especially amongst women) that we must put others’ wellbeing first and the other is this idea that we are here to help “save the world”. I confess to being prone to both of these and so here are just a few words that I want to say.
First off, it was a pivotal moment in my recovery that I came to understand (I mean fully understand, not just give it lip-service) that I must apply my own oxygen mask first at every choice point. To not do so based on a fallacy that it was my job or priority to take care of others before myself was a nonsense since, without me being intact, who would be there for them anyway. Also, what kind of message of self-love did this send to myself (and I’ve talked before about how crucial self-love is; no self-improvement will ever “stick” without it!) plus there is a distorted belief around our own indispensability that underpins such a viewpoint. People will always, instinctively, jump to it for themselves when they have something going on that needs their urgent attention and if they don’t then maybe its time to ask whether this is because they have grown used to someone else thinking and doing everything for them. When we make ourselves indispensable, its only another rod for our own back and how is that sending a healing message to our cells, as we beat ourselves with it daily. Mixed messages through our actions can erode the very foundations of a recovery plan so getting to that place of saying “nope, I come first in this pecking order” is quite crucial; and remarkably powerful once your body gets the message that you really mean it. It requires using that “no” word quite a lot until people get the hang of the fact you aren’t here to be at their beck and call but, once things settle down, you’ll be amazed at how a new and vastly improved order of things slips quietly into its groove. The message of self-care that you are teaching your children is such a gift, breaking the stuck-record of many generations of the opposite belief system, which was perpetuated for so long that it became a chronic issue in the female psyche, helping literally no one.
On the second perspective (and I know this one well because it has been my journey…) many of us get into this idea that we are not only here to heal ourselves but to help heal everyone else; almost to the degree that we believe this might be why we have these issues in the first place. Even if there is the possibility of truth in that at the highest level, allowing it to become the definition that we use at the human level can be completely obstructive to recovery, making the concept of it far more solid and left-brained than it was ever intended to be. There is a level (and its the fourth dimension, where ideas about ourselves become reality…) where we have to be fully prepared to heal, at a moments notice, and no “ifs” and “buts” about what that leaves us holding in our hands or who we would let down or leave behind when all we have been for a number of years simply vanishes as if it was never even there. Its only once we are fully accepting of this possibility and all its ramifications, as laid in front of us on the table of all potential, that it can get even close to us (though this is the territory of spontaneous remission so allow some excitement to come into it since this is its very rocket fuel). If you are serious about this, you have to feel into what it is that is keeping you attached to this thing that has so-long defined you and make sure you are 100 per cent happy to let it go…and this can take some serious amounts of inner probing but once those sacks of ballast are identified, you can find yourself in an upward spiral that will blow you away and leave others watching you with their jaw-dropped.
I’ll admit, this “old” mindset of having to take as many people with me as I can fit in my wicker balloon basket underpins the very reason why I spend so much of my valuable time blogging posts that not all that many people read (not really); that is, just in case one of them makes a jot of difference to somebody else’s world. Like Dorothy, I’ve been forced to reconsider the practicalities since there comes a point when you notice your own balloon isn’t going anywhere while you work out the logistics of this. There’s a “missionary” energy to this approach and it can be quite subtle, underlying even the best laid intentions; and one of the reasons we attach to it so firmly is because it helps us to make sense, and give purpose and structure, to issues that we would otherwise struggle to reconcile with our sense of joy. However, letting go of this definition of “why” you are in this experience can be like releasing a spring-catch that previously held down many layers of health or other issues that are no longer necessary to feed your reason for existing. Softening up the whole “job-definition” aspect around what you feel fate has made you the expert of (including the whole treasure of hard-won experience that you fear giving up as a result…) can be a useful exercise, allowing you to see whether anything shifts now you are prepared to relax your white-knuckle grip on it. What you might find is that you don’t lose all this hard-won expertise at all but that it is transformed from being straw into gold; that is, you can now apply it in new and far more uplifting ways, from a slightly adjusted angle that allows you to feel far better in yourself while still applying it in ways that bring the joy of sharing inspiration with others. You’ll find that your projects are fuelled by excitement, enthusiasm and joy all the time instead of having that energy of “I just have to” about them; and this will reflect in the health that you manifest, which is always an outward expression of your inner state.
There’s something else I’ve come to realise along the way, being that whether I write about it or not, the fact of me pushing through milestones and frontiers, me digging up the roots of a stuck old mindset or hidden trauma, me making headway through a new approach or lifestyle tweak (or whatever else is currently breaking into new territory) is enough, whether I shout it from the rooftops or keep it entirely to myself. At the morphogenetic level, where we are all connected to one another through a field of energetic communication that requires no words (which is a scientifically proven phenomenon fuelling human evolution, by the way), that IS enough and plays my card in the evolutionary game so I can do all of my healing in absolute private if I want to and without a single pang of guilt…that goes for you too.
The thing is, when we make it our job to not only heal ourselves but carry everyone else with us, it can become a label we give ourselves, virtually a job title or identity, which can become a terrible burden. When we are not feeling up to writing those posts, talking in a forum, shouting the news around, checking in with friends; when we’re feeling a little muddled or worn-out on our own trek; or when we just want to be able to enjoy the moment of some wonderful breakthrough without yet another thing on our to-do list, we find ourselves feeling as though we just missed the editor’s deadline, let our friends down or forgotten to do something important. This is a mind-trap and its one to be aware of because it can undermine everything you are manifesting at the subtle levels by literally popping your creative balloon.
Whoever we are keeping in touch with and for whatever reason, its essential that we don’t pump up our own importance in their own story to the point that their relapses, their inability to make that same headway we just made or to put into action the same steps that made all the difference to us feels like our failure or responsibility. Its an easy mindset to slip into; this “one for all and all for one” thing but its really not helpful and can feel more like a three-legged race. Chosing who you hang out with can be crucial and should not be left to accident; and you already know who is bringing you down if you’re honest with yourself so take care of yourself first and cut those ties. Again, its right back to that “applying your own oxygen mask first” principle; do it for you, there is no higher reason since what you evolve for yourself matters to all at an unseen but very crucial level of creation, which is why it deserves your full and undistracted focus. There can be no clearer message of “I’m ready to do whatever it takes to recover now” that you can send to your body than that!