It is difficult when you believe that your work, perhaps purpose is a better word, is serving others. For many of us working as caring entrepreneurs, we find we are doing this work because it’s the only way we can coach, heal and care for ourselves. In the moments of giving, listening, caring, advising and healing, we are lost in our purpose – fulfilled and happy. Within each experience we learn a little more, heal ourselves a little more. But we often doubt ourselves. Through healing ourselves and in those moments finding a connection to our purpose, are we not helping the other? And through helping the other are we not helping all others?
The voice in my head shouts “pretentious fraud”!
I have learned that it is painful to listen to that voice, although I am addicted to that pain, I realise it is not truth. I've also learned that going outside and breathing deeply will distract me. Distraction is enough to stop the downward spiral into the negativity and pain.
As I was sitting outside I noticed the little Christmas tree that is in a pot in my garden. It has grown over the last few years (Christmas 2011) from a tiny 3 or 4 inches to a small 11 inches.
At the moment it's a healthy tree. It's shiny green with soft new growth, sprouting strokable green crystals. It has all it needs to grow; sunlight, rain, earth and a genetic pattern to follow. I do very little to look after it and to be honest it has, on occasion, looked brown and unhealthy. Today it looks gorgeous - reaching up and out with all of it's perfect fingers.
It is what it is, a miniature pine tree of some kind. It is not going to become an oak or a rose. It will grow when the conditions are right and when the conditions are not right it will stop growing, or become unhealthy.
I smile and stroke the tree. What a gift it is to me. It doesn't take anything from me and it just gives joy and love through being what it is, just what I need at this time. In the next moment I will forget it and move on – as I have done, to write about it.
And, as with all gifts that the Universe gives me, that mean nothing without context and understanding; I take time to consider what I can learn.
Smiling, I realise I have learned these lessons before from previous gifts – there is nothing new after all! Just an infinite number of givers and teachers.
My Christmas tree has shown me – ah how ironic, it’s a Christmas tree! A gift from the tree of gifts! I love the Universe’s sense of humour!
The tree has shown me that I am what I am. I am not my Mother, or my best friend, or my client or my coach, or my heroine or my guru.
Growth for me, is expansion into understanding how to love myself and others, and find joy, peace and clarity. It is not about shooting deep green spiky tufts and it is not about more money, or more beauty or more designer clothes – although all of those would be wonderful. I grow when the conditions are right and it is my responsibility to find those conditions. Feeling good, treating myself well, appreciating my beauty and the gifts that others receive when I am truly me – those are some of the conditions I need for healthy growth.
Just as my tree has grown a couple of inches a year, whereas the weeds grow that in a day, I can only grow at the speed I am able to grow. And, like my tree, my growth seems imperceptible, but when I think back as to how I was a few years ago I can see that I have expanded my understanding and happiness.
Would the tree ever tell itself off for not being a beautiful as the rose, or as hardy as the weeds or as edible as the chives in my garden? No, that would be futile and utterly useless. It cannot be other than it is. Although I have many flaws, I am perfectly me. My job is to be the most honest, loving, joyful, at ease and aligned me that I can be.
The job of the voice in my head is to warn me of danger and threat. It is the voice of love too, but I have allowed it more power than it is due. I have allowed it to become a controlling, suppressing caretaker instead of an adviser.
If I am truly me, authentically, at all times, if I relate to people as the real me, then they choose to be around me because they want to be. They recognise I am helping them grow. I may not even really know the nature of my gift to them in those moments we are together. But just as the Christmas tree has allowed me to grow a little today, I hope that by being me and loving my client, I have enabled him to grow a little too.
And, of course, he will grow to be more truly who he is. Wanting him to be more like me will not allow him to grow – it will suppress him. He wants to be loved for who he truly is, that is his need, and I did try to love him as he is in those moments we spent together, providing mutually beneficial conditions for growth.
Finally, Just as many of you would not find stroking a miniature Christmas tree an allegory to learn from, many people would not have read to the bottom of this blog. The fact is that they didn't learn from this story, they need other teachers and gifts in other forms, to provide good nutrients for their growth. That's natural and pretty cool as well as being a relief!