“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Flexing the Empathic Muscles
Empathy is the cornerstone of good relations and communications. But it is not for the meek. With empathy, we can feel into another being or group of beings and know for ourselves how they are hurting. Such knowledge can be threatening; to feel another’s pain in this way is to feel it as though it were our own. Only an empowered warrior’s spirit has the strength to stay vulnerable enough to feel another’s pain and the endurance to discern how to do something useful, something intelligent, with that knowledge.
True service is an offering of self-sacrifice, but not in the typical self-denying way we think of it. True service arises in a twofold manner, in that it simultaneously serves both the giver and the receiver. The real sacrifice made is our rigid insistence that things can only be one way or another, that I can either serve myself or others, but not both. True service sees that, with maturity, we can feed others by how we feed ourselves.
Comfort & Confrontation
True service does not play by the black and white rules that pop-logic would have us cater to. Empathic service must stay flexible in its form, for what is needed one day may not be needed the next. When we try and establish too strict of an idea of what it means to be in service, we undermine our very capacity to make it happen. The needs of the moment are what we are ultimately in service to, and the moment is ever-changing what it asks of itself.
To be in service to both ourselves and others, we must be both tender and tough. When one is wounded, what they need is the healing hands of the caregiver to help them mend and recover their strength. Conversely, when one is behaving destructively out of alignment, they need the velvet glove of tough love to both keep them from unnecessarily harming themselves, or others, and to point them back to the path of recovering their center.
A Lineage Of Service
There is something essential found in the hero’s journey, for that is where we learn what we are made of and how to navigate by the stars that guide us on the path with heart. But our cultural narratives have put misguided attention on the heroic process, aggrandizing it to the point where we are compelled to cling to the process rather than bring it to its fruition. We have forgotten that the culmination of the hero’s journey is the return.
Such a return is a continuance of a lineage of return that reaches back into antiquity. The point of the journey was not just for one to find their way, but for that one to then return and demonstrate their discovery for others to benefit from. To do so is to take up the mantle of elderhood, of those who would know their own strength, contribute it to the whole and pass it forward to the next generation. It is to perpetuate the hard-won maturity that will ruthlessly, selflessly protect life’s unfolding.
Suggested Divination Meanings
Can I discern between my feelings and someone else’s feelings?
Can I clarify my needs from those of others?
Am I tending to my own needs so that I can show up fully (fulfilled)?
Am I using the notion of “me first” to avoid a deeper integration with my community?
Am I putting others before myself to the point where I am suffering for it?
Where do my needs meet with the needs of others?
What solutions can I find that draw on my strengths, nurtures my well-being and simultaneously brings assistance to others?
What limiting beliefs do I hold that are keeping me from mutually beneficial outcomes?
Am I holding an ideology that would serve me to sacrifice to live more happily integrated with others?
Where is the balance point between nurturing myself and offering nurturance to others?