(An excerpt from our upcoming book)
The Alien Planet
“We cannot solve problems with the kind of thinking we employed when we came up with them.” --Albert Einstein
How often so afraid of the wellness of others or even the world at large that we become unable to focus on what’s in front of us? Or allow our constant worry over others keep us buried into fight or flight, thus predisposing us to an assortment of health conditions and so on as mentioned in the chapter covering fight or flight.
I once had a client who had shingles and she said her doctor claimed that it was stress-induced but she said that was impossible because she was retired with a lovely husband and his lovely house.
My first question was, “all right, but how much do you worry about others?”
Her eyes lit up, already connecting the dots. She said, “all the time, but it’s only casual worry. I have some family members going through some of their own tough times. Is that really enough to cause shingles?”
I laughed and said, “I can’t make a diagnosis as a massage therapist, but I believe your doctor was right. Unfortunately, we are in rest and digest or we’re not and since you’re constantly in fight or flight mode, anything becomes possible.”
I wanted her to understand the importance of doing what we can when action is possible, and then being willing to let it go, so I made up the following story on the spot:
Imagine you are living on an alien planet in a sci-fi movie if you will. And in this world, when your offspring turn 13, they must engage in Mortal Kombat to the death to prove their adulthood with a ferocious beast.
As they grow up you do your best to get them trained in martial arts and in the anatomy of the beast that they will be fighting. You do your best to help prepare them for the challenges they are to face.
Then finally the day comes, and they go off to battle for the three-day ceremony but in the meantime, you worry and stress about them so incessantly that you completely fall to pieces. Any communications they are able to get from you become laced in negativity that increases their own stress and lessons their chances of combat.
Luckily, they survive and barely make it back home in one piece but there’s too little left of you that you’re unable to help patch them up.
When we allow ourselves to incessantly worry about others, our helpful advice instead turns into backseat life driving with, “I told you that wouldn’t work out.”
And thus, if we truly want to be there for others then after we have done whatever actions we can do to help them, then we must be willing to work on our own positivity, our own center so that when they are able to reach out or stop by, we can have an abundance of positivity and love-based advice to share.
It simply does not work to “try and carry the world on our shoulders” when it will inevitably lead to our own mistakes and burnout including the death of our ability to care in the long run. The better we heal the better we help, so never stop healing and growing.