The Giving Back—The Path to an Abundant Life
By PETER and ANNE SELBY
Published in the April 2012 issue of The LENS – a quarterly E-Newsletter/Journal of the Center for Empowered Leadership www.cfel.org
Empowering and uplifting others is like motherhood and apple pie, like one of the Eight Noble Truths: something quintessential, a cornerstone of a well-lived life. The examples in our minds are fresh and alive—people we know well and live near, people we rub shoulders with frequently. We have seen them in action through thick and thin, and they are truly amazing people—different from your average bear. We ask ourselves what distinguishes them, what drives them to be so selfless and steady in their dedication. This article is an attempt to answer this question in some depth and to look into the downside and the pitfalls of these same virtues.
The first person who comes to mind is a dear friend, Jackie Rose, who for many years has served on committees and volunteer professional action groups dedicated to providing school-based health care programs in Oregon. Although Jackie and her colleagues have been officially recognized for their years of selfless dedication, she never sought the limelight, preferring to work in the background with relentless commitment and tireless dedication to her cause.
Jackie reached out into the community over many years to seek a broad spectrum of views and interests, wrote letters to the appropriate administrators and legislators, refined position statements and circulated them for comments and revisions, and sought consensus in recommending policies to the legislators.
When elected officials were coming and going with each election season, Jackie worked together with her colleagues to educate the new legislators to keep their agenda for school-based health care for Oregon kids on the table. Jackie’s special focus was to make sure the volunteer committees carried out their business in a professional way, with proper minutes and records of correspondence, and to maintain effective communication with legislators and policy makers. She maintained liaison with other citizen advocate groups and provided the continuity necessary when other committee members were coming and going.
Not without opposition or controversy, she helped focus and coordinate the efforts of these teams of health care professionals and lay supporters who took the time to identify the issues and bring them before the school boards, administrators, and policy makers who could implement the desired programs.
Perhaps Jackie’s greatest gift in all of this was her humility. Rather than foisting her agenda on others and alienating those with differing points of view, she assiduously listened to what each person was saying. For instance, a minister who strongly opposed the school-based contraception programs that her group was advocating complimented Jackie’s openness and willingness to consider his point of view. “Failure to listen to each perspective and build consensus just comes around to bite you,” she explained.
The art is to express oneself in a way that avoids offense and gives the other people involved the space and honor to express their points of view as well. Narrow thinking—when one perspective is held above all others and other truths are invalidated—is offensive to the higher truth and cannot create the best outcome.
A mythical bird spoken of by the Chinese sages has one eye and one wing. Through cooperation, two such birds can fly to higher places than one would ever be able to reach on its own.
Respecting oneself is a necessary component in respecting and supporting others. Losing connection to one’s own unique gifts and contributions in the name of supporting others is contradictory. If you can’t support yourself, it is unlikely that you will, in the deepest sense, be able to do it for someone else.
In our practice as clairvoyants, we have observed an imbalance in the energy system that is very common to caregivers and supporters. The imagery involves a “flip” between a person’s so-called “moon” nature and “sun” nature. Ideally, one’s sun—one’s authentic joy, identity, passion, will, and life purpose—shines over the right side of the aura which represents the outer world; one’s moon—one’s emotional sensitivity, empathy, and nurturing nature—predominantly illuminates the left side of the aura, which represents the inner world where one takes care of and bestows the gifts of spiritual nurturance and wisdom for oneself and one’s loved ones.
The moon nature is like a sponge, absorbing feelings from the environment and sensing the needs of those close by. This is quite appropriate in regard to one’s family and closest loved ones and, most of all, oneself; it is an essential component of self-awareness. By nature, moon has the capacity to absorb wisdom from the environment, the soul, and from Source.
Great wisdom is to be gained through staying connected to one’s own needs and feelings. Many people in our culture have lost touch with their own emotional intelligence and have become predominantly rationalized and mentally dominated by their mind awareness. In the case of someone whose moon is “flipped” into the right side of the aura, however, one’s emotional sensors are tuned to the feelings of the great variety of people one meets in everyday life. This imbalance can become overwhelming and depleting.
It is natural to one’s moon nature to support and nurture the object of one’s sensitivity and emotional awareness. By reserving this sensibility predominantly for one’s inner world, one can stay connected to one’s own life purpose and inner wisdom. With this faculty intact, it is possible to move out into life and support others without losing connection to one’s own needs and one’s own agenda.
Energy flows naturally into one’s passion, authentic life goals, and meaningful activities—one’s “Sun.” Thus abundant energy and joy characterize one’s passion. You can distinguish activity arising from one’s authentic passion and that which is in a “moon”-predominated response to one’s environment, by the joy and the vitality that you experience in what you are involved in, as opposed to fatigue and a sense of obligation.
To uplift and support others is indeed noble, but it is important to discern whether this truly arises from your passion. When it does, follow Jackie’s example by committing and persevering. The kids she served benefited from her steady focus and her ability to bring all the players into the picture and to value each person’s contribution. She was content with a background role, holding everything together when the key players were in flux. It took years, but in the end, she and her colleagues succeeded in bringing school-based health care to Oregon, where they remain to this day in over 60 schools and school districts.