Thursday, October 27, 2011

10/28/11—Looking Into Our Nurturing Tendencies

Today's Draw: Mother of Earth (Pentacles) from the Today's Journey Tarot. When is nurturing too much nurturing? When is nurturing something else entirely? And, if you consider yourself a nurturing individual, have you ever taken a look at the motivations that might run beneath your loving ways?

We've gotten this card five or six times this year and we've talked about self-care, nurturing, being gentle with ourselves and the whole "putting the life mask on yourself first" thing. This is the card of the nurturer, the earth mother. 

Look at this woman. There she is sitting on the floor of some polar habitat with no door, wearing a short-sleeved green dress, hair all pulled off her neck, bottle feeding a little polar bear. Awwww, cute. 

But wtf is she thinking??? You just KNOW she's gotta be freezing her arse off. The polar bear can wait while you put on a coat, lady!

Some of us are nurturing people and it comes second nature for us to care for others before we care for ourselves. Or to take better care for others than we take of ourselves. And in some situations, like with an infant child, feeding them NOW to keep them from crying IS taking care of ourselves...haha.

But as noble as it is to care so deeply for others, we also need to ask ourselves why we're doing it. Especially if it depletes us. OK. Some of you are parents and you're PARTLY excused because you have children to raise. But you're not off the hook from asking yourselves why, especially when it comes to the things people look at you a little goofy about. 

Like maybe you go to cheerleading practice every day without fail, even though you're not the coach. Or you never leave your teenage child alone in the house. I don't know. I'm not a parent. But think of some examples from things all the other parents are doing that you're not...or that you're doing that isn't the norm among parents. And ask yourself why. Many of the things you do will withstand your vetting—much of our nurturing is just that. And many of the choices we make with those we nurture are personal ones based on how we want to raise someone.

But sometimes we're doing these things less for our child's (or friend's or partner's or sibling's or volunteer person's) benefit than for our own. Maybe we do it because it gives us a sense of value, because it fills a hole inside of us, because we aim for martyrdom or because, by doing it, we don't have to focus on our own needs, demons, inadequacies, whatever. Parents or not, sometimes we invest in others so we have an excuse for not investing in we have an excuse for not facing our own fears. 

An example from my life might be the fact that I take my dogs everywhere with me. They never stay in kennels or whatever. As long as I have them for that excuse, I never have to travel outside of my comfort zone. It makes saying "no" easier to others. It makes it easier not to take risks. Coming up soon, I have a situation I can't get out of where I have to travel and I finally took the step to find a dog care solution I could be comfortable with. I'm inviting someone into my (messy...haha...from yesterday's post) home to spend the night with them. Hopefully I'll be able to call on this person again in the future. Then I won't feel so uncomfortable about situations where I need to travel and can't take them with me. 

But see, here's the thing. I could say "I don't like to leave them" or "I always want them with me" or "I don't trust strangers with my babies" and all of that would be true. Society would let me get by with saying it just like society lets "helicopter"  parents say that they're "involved with their children and invested in their future". While all of that is VERY true (it's no secret how much I love my dogs) it's also true that I limit myself by being so "nurturing". There are places I don't go that I would like to go because of them. Things I don't do. And while I know they'd gladly lay down and die to spend time with me, I'm not sure I'm doing them any favors by not putting them into someone else's care now and then. 

Do you see what I'm getting at? Sometimes we do perfectly nurturing things, but there are reasons beneath them that aren't nurturing (or evolutionary) for you and aren't as nurturing as you'd like to think for the people you nurture. And then there's the whole phenomena of pouring yourself into others' issues so you don't have to face your own. We all do it from time to time. And this Mother of Earth has come along today to invite us to take a look at those we nurture and ask why we do all the many things we do. 

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