As someone who is here to be of service (actually true of all of us), I am regularly wondering what that really means. Regularly coming up against all the ways that how I serve, how I care, is fundamentally flawed; whether in my motivation, or my execution. I don’t blame myself for this because I don’t know if it’s actually possible to be completely clear on how it is that we offer care.
It’s not easy to really care about others without our own blindspots, traumas, fears and needs getting mixed up in what it is we believe we are doing for others. That is why I am a firm believer in continuously checking in with what we are doing when it comes to helping others. Otherwise, we can get really derailed in what we believe passes for care. Can convince ourselves, and others, that we are doing something for them, when in fact, we are doing it for ourselves.
To keep from feeling alone, afraid, out of control, you name it.
There’s never a problem with doing something for ourselves in the service of aiding another. Where the problem comes in is when we convince ourselves, and everyone around us, that we are purely in it for the greater good of others. That our words and actions are only about helping others.
Caring in The Modern Age has gotten very, very complicated, confusing and rife with mixed agendas. I would even go so far as to say, hijacked. By guilt. By the need to be publically virtuous. By the need to be right. By the need to control. By the need to manufacture a kind of safety that does not exist.
And sadly of late, by a kind of legislation around what it looks like and what must be done to care.
Not to mention that there are so many things to care about. Too many, if we are being honest. More than any one human being could possibly do. But given our access to everyone and everything around the world via the technologies, we have come to believe that we must be tuned into suffering everywhere, while suffering ourselves as confirmation that we really care.
But the Truth is, caring is an intimate act and can only be offered to just so many. It is an orientation to ourselves and to the world that has nothing to do with guilt, coercion, sympathy or demand. It is not offered as a badge of honor. Nor can it be enforced.
And it does not grow in magnitude based on how sad and overwhelmed you feel by the world’s suffering. Which by the way, whether you know it or not, you use as a way to indicate to everyone around you just what a caring person you are.
To care is to be concerned. It is to provide what is needed by way of sustenance. A kind of tending to that can take many, many forms and expressions. To offer and to receive care is to be human. It is wired into us and needs not to be forced or distorted into happening. It only needs our connection to Self, Source and Other to pour forth, naturally.
But in order to get to what is innate within each and everyone of us, we must run the gauntlet of the times; finding ways to shed and steer clear of what has been falsely constructed when it comes to what it looks like to care.