Webster defines care as feeling interest or concern. For example, you may care for a cause, a person, animal or object. It is a connection felt and expressed by the heart. Your beliefs and values influence your personal definition of care. You may not particularly care for runaway animals but a loved one pays a lot of attention to caring for furry friends.
The energy of care shows up in our lives as being accepting, kind and life-affirming. When you reflect on beloveds and strangers who care for you right now, your heart melts. The list doesn't have to be long; just one person who genuinely cares makes a big difference to the Self. In caring exchanges there is an mutual feeling of belonging in the world. Caring looks like this:
- I approach others with openness and warmth
- I see the world as a happy place.
- I am more generous.
- I feel supported.
- I establish positive and healthy connections to others.
The flip side to caring is carrying. Webster's definition of carry means "to sustain the weight or burden of." Sometimes we carry people and stories for periods of time. The energy of carrying is heavy, limiting and sticky. Who/what we carry may reflect a need to gain attention at any cost. It may also represent a distorted understanding of what love means. Have you encountered these thoughts/feelings?
- I "carry" others that make me feel resentful, frustrated and drained.
- I see the world as a troubled place.
- I feel compelled to save others at my expense.
- I am a human life support machine or I rescue others. If I detach, they will lose hope.
Most of us have experienced a combination of caring/ carrying relationships. The key is knowing the difference. On a piece of paper write two columns. In column 1 add the world "Care" and columns 2 add the word "Carry." Now list each person and experience that falls into each category. Your goal is to transfer your relationships into the Care column.
If someone/something on your list is part of your past or no longer here, use your imagination! Find a way to re-frame the relationship/story even if the person is no longer in your life. A client disclosed to me the burden of carrying her deceased mother for years. Mom had had a slew of health problems. Dad spent many hours at work. As a girl the client was the only one available to assume the caregiver role. My client received no support. During a session, she revisited that time period, unloaded unnecessary baggage and recreated the story from a caring perspective. It is a daring step to revisit the past.
Dropping an old story powerfully allows space for healing. It is testament to the power of retiring old ways of being which no longer serve. The resulting lightness and boundless energy are liberating.