“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
― Anne Lamott
Another Erica experiment that I have been undertaking is what would it look like if I didn’t wear my superhero cape. This can be somewhat difficult given that I have always identified myself as the “helper”. In photos of me as a child I was always the one who at 3 years old was holding a baby half my size, I was the one who people would come to for help, for assistance, for comfort, for guidance. And loved every minute of it, I lived to be able to be of service, to be able to comfort and save. But there were also pieces that weren’t so wonderful. By focusing on everyone else it often meant I neglected myself and my needs. For a long time I didn’t even acknowledge that I had needs because I was so busy making sure everyone else’s were met. I violated my own boundaries to maintain those of others, I allowed people to drink from my glass without taking the time to refill it and when I was empty wouldn’t go to another to help replenish but instead wonder why I felt tired, depleted and low energy. And those around me often didn’t feel the love that I felt for them because I was to busy trying to save everyone at the expense of those closest to me.
After a series of “unfortunate events” I realized that I didn’t want to live like that any more. That I had to figure out a new way of being of service, of giving, of being who I am, but also learning what that really meant. Although I knew how to skillfully help other people live out who they were, to bring out the best of themselves I didn’t apply the same things to myself.
What would it look like if I didn’t believe I was here to save the world, but merely to participate in it. What would it look like if I stood there and shone vs. running all over the island. What would it look like if I invited people to save themselves and instead shone the light of love, compassion, space, and kindness and belief in their inherent worth and ability to save themselves.