I’m sending heartfelt wishes to you and your loved ones at this tumultuous time. This blog is an invitation to explore your own sense of purpose in these intense times.
I’ve ben feeling a new level of pressure to do more to support others since the pandemic. There are at least 3 ways I experience this impulse to serve. – each with distinct drives from within. there’s also the drive to step up as a human being to support others suffering right now. For me small gestures of kindness generate a sense of comfort and connection.
My early impulse was to rescue or save others, not necessarily in my field of concern. This has a frenetic, anxious quality and feels like an attempt to rescue/save even if not a fit or mine to do. It felt unfocused and overwhelming. I worked with this sense of urgency by breathing and listening as it morphed into helplessness. Staying with these sensations in the body reduced the sense of urgency I was feeling.
The next impulse in me was a critical inner voice simply telling me I’m not doing enough, or not doing it right. That voice and thinking results in my feeling stuck, in a box I cannot escape from trying to figure it out and a stalemate with myself about what to do next. Let’s face it – what is enough is a false question. The real question is what is mine to do now?
More recently I’ve felt an impulse from my heart which seems clearer. As I listen to news about individuals suffering or challenged in a particular way my heart literally moves me towards compassion and care. One news story shared sound clips of rideshare drivers speaking about what they are doing to keep their vehicles clean and safe. It was clear that they were risking their own safety to earn needed cash.
I sensed in others a need for meaning making. I was so touched by one poem Lockdown that I started writing a poem myself. I worked on the poem for a few days, each time distilling my own thoughts. After speaking with a friend who was struggling with anxiety, I forwarded the poem and she wrote that it helped her identify ways to see this time. Here again my heart was the driver – to help others. After several days I shared it on-line. Click here to read!
I trust that impulse from my heart, that curiosity to hear about another’s world, and what life is like for them now.
Good things result from all 3 of these impulses, particularly as I get familiar with them and sit with the feelings a bit. Sometimes it is simply being with a lifelong impulse to rescue and seeing how that lives in my body, my breathing, my life. Not taking immediate action can be supportive here.
So how do we tease apart these voices and – know when to listen, know when to push away the critic and when to not act because some idea is still growing roots within us? Paying attention to our inner experience will give us clues.
So, what is working?
- Pay attention to the quality of our doing – if we are frenetic – stop and breathe
- Move on the heart impulses, with a pause for discernment – I see the suffering, what is mine to do here?
- Listen to the voices urging us to do something – who within us is wanting us to take action?
- Experiment with doing one thing and seeing how doing so impacts our aliveness
- Ask how can I help another person right now?
- Listen for other’s needs…
- When sensing the inner critic telling us to do more, shift towards feeling our body and centered presence
What about you, what are you experiencing around this impulse to give to serve? What is helping you to move towards a sense of authentic power?
If you’d like to explore how best to meet your desires to serve, send me an e-mail and we’ll explore how I can support you.