Wednesday, 25 May 2011

First "Courage to Lead" session

"How do you experience the dynamics of care?"  Well, right now I'm in this kind of prolonged hiatus where I have put aside responsibility for the care of others and taken some responsibility instead for my own care.  But generally, I think of care as an exchange, in a 'pay it forward' sort of dynamic, where the care I receive and the care I give both energize and exhaust me, and where I am in the flow, like in the flow of the tides, where the giving creates a small void into which the bounty of the Universe can flow.  Care for me is like breathing; it's what I do, and what I must at times resist doing to make space for the breath.  So that even when, within this emptiness I have embraced, the opportunity to give care in a way that matters comes my way, I experience it as the joy of being alive.

"Which kinds of care do you find difficult?  Or tend to shy away from?"  "which do you find relatively easy?"

Of the kinds of care listed by Stanfield:

  • Care for our work
  • Structural care
  • Rituals of care
  • Symbolic care
  • Care in human encounters
I have some ambivalence around several of these.  

Care for our work Stanfield speaks of as a kind of integrity in the activity we undertake to earn a living; I've kind of abdicated that for the time being.  Not integrity, but working to earn.  Right now I work for joy and for joy alone.  If I learn something, it's for the joy of learning it, and if I create something, it's for the joy of creating it.  But this is very different from how I have lived most of my life, where I was so attached to duty that no matter what honest, straightforward and difficult thing I was doing, I always thought I should be doing something else.  Right now I am trying to get out of doing, and instead pay more attention to being.  

Structural care is a tough one to answer, because honestly, I am really flowy - so unorganized and basically undisciplined and rather messy.  You can think of structural care as having aspects which could lay on a scale from attention to detail all the way up to big picture systemics.  And I really rock at the systems, but I can also spend hours organizing the tiny little beads in their cases; however, my house is a mess and I do nothing by routine.  I am a mystery even to myself.  Last month I bought packages of mixed beads, and sorted them all out into their own tiny boxes.  It's pathological.  But at the same time I think the rituals of organizing the tiniest detailed things are helping to pull the tangled treads in my brain back into a semblance of order.

Rituals of care I can really relate to and have spent my life creating and observing these with others.

Symbolic care - advance thinking to prepare spaces and situations for excellent outcomes and experiences.  I rock at that, but still sometimes find myself scrambling just before the beginning.  

Care in human encounters is at the heart of my vision of myself.  It is the breath of life.  

"What are the different ways you see people relating to their cares?"

In my family and in myself I see a lot of avoidance, punctuated by short bursts of intense focus and care.  In my husband I see joy in care, though it seems he is quite compulsive about doing always more.  I have known people who live by duty to the point that they have no idea what they themselves desire; my mother in law is one.  

"When do your cares make you angry or make you rebel against having so many of them?"  Pretty much anytime I am not immersed in something that brings joy.  Well, to be fare, it's just that I suck at the structural care, at everything that falls in between the tiny organized trays of details and the big picture.  The duties and the needs-to-be-done are so overwhelming that even on days when I commit to making a hole in it, I don't know where to start, so I end up sorting stuff no-one will ever know about.  I'm kind of in a prolonged rebellion, since all the care in the world, that I lavished in the workplace, did not bring success, and I am afraid if I enter that fray again I will be inviting a repeat of the unpleasant and hurtful scenarios I seemed to cycle through for several years.

"What do you do when you want to escape from your cares?"  As above, I sort things.  Or glue myself to wasteful screen time.

"What difference does it make whether or not you care in certain situations?"  'Anything worth doing is worth doing right.' is one answer to that.  I really can't be bothered doing a half-ass job of anything.

"In what areas of your life do you need to show more care?"  Care for my surroundings and my home.

"Name 10 specific acts of care (beyond the usual) that you need to do in the next week."  1.  Order dresses for the wedding.  2.  Order the square boxes Em asked for and design decorations for them  3.  Make up, print, and mail the wedding invitations  4.  Dye my hair  5.  Brush my dogs' hair behind the ears to get the matts out.  6.  Scrub the bathrooms upstairs.  7.  Take myself to the doctor for a different prescription.  8.  Organize for shots for David and me.  9.  Pay the bills.  10.  Kill the ants in the back yard.

"How, in future, are you going to make sure you take care of yourself, that you may continue to care for others?"  Just as I am now.

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