Our group of caregivers looked at the polarity of caring for self and caring for other. Polarity thinking, in (very) brief, is to say that we are in a both/and as opposed to either or. If we consider breathing it is not inhale or exhale. Cliff Kaiser offers: do you take care of your self or do you take care of others…yes!
In our small group we shared the worst of when we focus only on the other—from feeling judgmental, left out, isolated, incapable of truly being a healer as we are needy, to being in the victim space. I know that when I focus on myself, I feel greater contentment, expand my capability and can live on purpose
For those of us who often tend outwards—How am I working toward justice? Am I being of service?—the ask was that we come up with an action plan to leverage the tension and enhance self-care as well as care of other. It is the last line of an Urdu song based on the poetry of Ghalib that Siraj Sirajuddin opened the conference with this morning: “what is the medicine that is needed for this state.”
And when we do both, take care of ourselves as we work with others to bring healing and justice into the world, we “vibrate at a higher level”. This is a place where transformation is possible.
Miriam Messinger, Interaction Institute for Social Change