The MAP is not the TERRITORY
Classic children’s literature has a way of untangling complex ideas; core truths are presented to readers in a simple, yet memorable way. For example, in his timeless story of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll penned these lines: “Alice came to a fork in the road. “Which road do I take?’ she asked.” Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire cat. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’”
The art of living and meeting goals begins with a designing a reliable map.
I often notice the pattern of good intentions often going awry when working with new clients. There are many explanations for this but if I had to summarize the common thread that runs through each situation, I’d have to say that what is missing is a clearly formulated plan, a road-map, if you will.
A road-map that not only establishes the rules but one that specifies an appropriate action plan. What’s true for clients is true for the rest of us, too. How can we stop procrastinating and follow through with our own “action plan?” Can we truly learn to change non-productive patterns, and if so, how do we proceed?
The answer lies, in part, by bringing our attention to our own patterns of reaction when procrastination occurs, and by reviewing our belief system, noticing how old beliefs continue to create dissonance with our new intentions. In some ways beliefs are like children. They play the same old broken tape day in and day out.
If the “tapes” persist long enough and hard enough in our conscious mind, these beliefs can wear us down. That, or else “negotiate a deal” with our minds; a deal that suits the old agenda.
Even the most thoughtful of among us can second-guess ourselves into compromise when the “old messages” get the upper voice in one’s mind. Add to this, memories and feelings of discomfort from the past involving similar experiences, and, well, it’s easy to see how the clear outlines about what goals to set, how to hold intentions clearly, and how to let go of outcome can quickly become very muddy — and difficult to chart.
Individuals that meet success with their goals have a plan. They anticipate problems. They know that self-discipline and self-punishment are two very different things. They know, too, that a certain amount of missteps comes with the territory is part of the learning process.
Successful maps are developed when responses that fit well into our agenda become part of our new daily practice. These responses are consistent. We learn to work with the ideas that make sense to us and are effective. Further, we continually notice our own behavior and understand how it impacts others.
Our new road-map begins to reflect a preference to be proactive rather than reactive. We come to see our goals clearly and work toward them steadily. We choose not to be victims when circumstances or fate scatters our plans; preferring instead to pick up the pieces, create a new strategy, and move forward. We are serious about our intentions.
We practice what we preach by modeling the behavior we want to have: self-control, respect, fairness, and other such attributes. We also learn to maintain a sense of humor, as humor is the essential oil that keeps things in perspective. We learn to make peace with the past and we become willing to take risks in order to open up to core truths. We strive to be open daily to subtle changes and shifts in our interactions and energy levels; flexibility is the key here.
We see and appreciate the strength and beauty of individuals. We give emphasis to cooperation and understand that it is not our job to control, heal or fix anyone else except ourselves. Successful mapmakers believe in prevention and planning, just as they believe in living in the moment and accepting life as it shows up, rather than how we wish it had been.
Patterns of behavior take time to change. This is true for everyone. Process is process. Good choices are learned. Patience is essential. The efforts from beginner’s mapmaking efforts may take weeks before change is noticed. Our attitudes and shifts toward the positive change. Small movement toward a goal is still movement.
A positive attitude, a willingness to examine your own behavior and see how it affects the process, the willingness to make a commitment to be true to yourself, your values, and your integrity are paramount. The courage of your own beliefs is the first step. It will take lots and lots of practice to change your own behavior and habits. Practice leads to a greater sense of mastery and confidence.
The changes we wish to see begins with a change in our own expectation and behavior. Breaking old patterns isn’t easy but it can be done. Map-making is a skill. It takes hard work and it takes a lot of time, and practice. Without it, we remain lost. Having a firm foundation (clarity of vision) upon which to draw, successful mapmakers will step up as the owners of their dreams, goals, and aspirations.
Even with the very best efforts, human relationships will always have its moments of conflict and misunderstanding. Relationships can be messy, and sometimes, despite our very best conscious efforts, there may be times when the rockiest of paths is chosen.
Rocky paths are perfect learning experiences, too. And they have a place on the map of experience. We just need to be clear about the true nature of the map. Mapmaking can feel like we’ve stepped into Wonderland at times. But unlike Alice, with clarity, intention, and attention, we can figure out which road to take.
After-all, we created a map that is perfect for our needs.
Love & Light
Care-taking VS Care-giving. There are crucial differences between care-taking and care-giving and you will notice: the healthier and happier your relationship, the more you are care-giving rather than care-taking.
Care-taking and care-giving can be seen as a continuum. We usually aren’t doing both at the same time. The goal is to do as much care-giving as possible and to decrease care-taking. Care-taking is a dysfunctional, learned behavior that can be changed. We want to change so we can experience more peace, contentment, and better relationships. Intimates in your life may resist your healthier actions, but shifting to care-giving is a huge gift you are bestowing upon your loved ones. (Even when they do not see it at first)
The first step is identify loved ones that are care-taking you. (anyone in your life that you have given permission to watch over (Judge your decisions and or problems) Do you ask for opinions or advise in unhealthy ways? Do you ask or expect others to help carry your burdens, consciously or sub-consciously? Do you consistently go to the same people for help or support in a way that has allowed them to think you NEED them?. Are you giving them some control of your decisions or at least creating a dynamic of needing their wisdom instead of your own?
After you identify who is care-taking you, then ask yourself what role you play to keep that dynamic going. Care-taking is a hallmark of codependency and is rooted in insecurity and a need to be in control, or give up some responsibility or control to another.
Care-giving is an expression of kindness and love, and is based on altruistic empathy with no expectation or ego based attachment to outcome. When we truly allow autonomy the other persons success or failure is their own and should have no effect on how we feel about the help, support, and love we gave or attempted to give.
Here are some key differences between care-taking and care-giving:
- Care-taking feels stressful, exhausting and frustrating. Care-giving feels right and feels like love. It re-energizes and inspires you.
- Care-taking crosses boundaries. Care-giving honors them.
- Care-taking takes from the recipient or gives with strings attached; care-giving gives freely.
- Caretakers don’t practice self-care because they mistakenly believe it is a selfish act.
- Caregivers practice self-care unabashedly because they know that keeping themselves happy enables them to be of service to others.
- Caretakers worry; caregivers take action and solve problems.
- Caretakers think they know what’s best for others; caregivers only know what’s best for their selves.
- Caretakers don’t trust others’ abilities to care for their selves, caregivers trust others enough to allow them to activate their own inner wisdom and problem solving capabilities.
- Care-taking creates anxiety and/or depression in the caretaker. Care-giving decreases anxiety and/or depression in the caregiver.
- Caretakers tend to attract needy people. Caregivers tend to attract healthy people. (Hint: We tend to attract people who are slightly above or below our own level of mental health).
- Caretakers tend to be judgmental; caregivers don’t see the logic in judging others and practice a “live and let live attitude.”
- Caretakers start fixing when a problem arises for someone else; caregivers empathize fully, letting the other person know they are not alone and lovingly asks, “What are you going to do about that.”
- Caretakers start fixing when a problem arises; caregivers respectfully wait to be asked to help.
- Caretakers tend to be dramatic in their care-taking and focus on the problem; caregivers can create dramatic results by focusing on the solutions.
- Caretakers us the word “You” a lot and Caregivers say “I” more.
As with changing any behavior, becoming aware of it is the first step. Watch yourself next time you are with someone and ask yourself where you fall on the continuum. It will take some work to change and you may experience some resistance and fear in the process — but what is on the other side is well worth the struggles of transformation.
Remove yourself from being taken care of in kind ways, and learn to accept care-giving instead. (This may be from new intimates or from shifting existing relationships)
Become a Caregiver yourself. Give freely non-attached to outcome. Guide don’t direct, and ask questions to help others discover their inner wisdom instead of assuming they need your profound wisdom.
Traveling from co-dependency to in-dependency and then hopefully to inter-dependency in our relationships is difficult but not impossible. We all are entangled and connected. We all need to support and love and be supported and loved as we move through challenges and seasons in our lives.
Happy Care-giving;-) !!!!