Monday’s Meditation: On How To Deal With Not Being Able To Do Enough For Others
We know by now that we can only give our help to others if they’re open to receiving it, and we know that despite our unlimited capabilities, we must often contend with the very real limitations of time and available resources.
But good people want to bring about goodness, regardless. Loving beings want the best for their family, friends, clients, and creative partners.
For those of us who are fixers, who want to make better what is ineffective, and who want to bring ease where there is struggle, the feeling of not being able to do enough to improve a situation can be defeating.
Have you walked away from a situation of utter chaos or turmoil and experienced that particular and disempowering combination of pain and guilt?
The pain of empathy. The guilt of leaving. Swirled together in one soupy cocktail that glug glugs down your throat so slowly that for a moment it feels hard to breathe.
Have you ever felt that?
I’m walking away leaving chaos to continue.
I’m leaving those I love torso-deep in shit.
Here I am–galavanting back to my destiny, while those I care about remain to toil in theirs.
I’m getting on a plane back to Seattle and leaving my parents once again, alone, to deal with the unrelenting challenge that is chronic illness, and all the dynamics that pervade as an extension of that.
I’ve thought that.
But soon, the mixture makes its way down, and whether it’s what we tell ourselves to feel better or whether it’s the truth, and probably because they’re one in the same, we remind ourselves:
We gave something, which is always more than nothing, and not necessarily reflective of all the change we can imagine being able to bring about.
There was never a version of life wherein we could have possibly fixed everything, because life is about the process of continually rising to challenges. There is endless work to be done because as soon as situations are fully optimized, there is the potential for further improvement.
We can only do what we are granted the grounds to do. We can only help those who want help, can only counsel those who seek counsel, can only be direct with those who seek honesty.
We are miracle workers and we are not so.
And all that matters is our answer to the question, “Did I contribute meaningfully?”
“Given time, location, reception–did I contribute something of value, no matter how small? Did I show up fully for those around me and for myself?”
That question, answered affirmatively, gives us back our grace. We can be satisfied. We won’t be satiated because we are alive and because we love.
But we were there. It counted. We were there when we might not have been, we were kind when we may not have been, we were patient when our every trigger was being pulled. We created an opportunity for contribution where there might not have been one.
We are miracle workers in human bodies, whose only real weakness is not noticing the tiny miracles we may create through our believing, through our connectedness, through our loving thought, alone.
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