A friend of mine once told a story about a group of people on a lifeboat.
The people were stranded in the middle of the ocean without water. All of a sudden one of the passengers jumps into the water. After several seconds the person does not reappear on the surface.
If you are on the boat-what should you do? She asked.
Jump out and save the person! I replied indignantly.
Stay in the boat. She stated calmly.
Whaaaaaat??!!?? I cried. Are you kidding me?
If everyone on the boat panics and jumps into the water, all will be lost. She said sagely.
Theoretical savior-complex aside, I thought a lot about my friend’s story. It’s very similar to the idea of putting your oxygen mask on before helping another….with a morbid twist. I mean, am I to never TRY to put on someone’s else’s mask?
This brings up a lot of stuffs for me around personal responsibility and my own need to be known as someone caring and compassionate…Or am I really controlling and God-complex like? I must say, I’m not entirely sure.
If I jump out of the boat without thinking every time I believe someone needs help, am I really saving someone? Or am I drowning right along side them, like a martyr, if they pull me down in an attempt to survive?
I don’t mean to imply that helping others is wrong. Or that we should always ignore someone’s cries for assistance. But how likely am I to save someone drowning….when I’m already underwater?
This brings to mind the concept of integrity. I have always seen integrity as simply doing the right thing. But what if integrity is also doing the right thing for yourself in the moment? This is an uncomfortable concept for me to swallow. I identify with helping others first-even if it means sacrificing myself in the process. I have seen this as noble. I have seen this as integrity. But I have to wonder-how much in my integrity am I living, if saving one person means I have nothing left to give? Hmmmmm….chewy.
My question is-What if we chose to stay on the boat my friends?
What would happen if we re-interpreted integrity to mean that we ensure our best mental health first. Making our most anchored, beautiful, tranquil selves grounded before we trusted ourselves to care for anyone else? What if *Yipes!* we even took the conscious time to pause if we weren’t there…to meditate, to breath, to ensure we were rested, calm or satiated, before jumping out of the boat to help someone else?
What and who are you making space for today my friends? Would you take a minute to support and love yourself if you needed it? Or do you, like me, insist that someone will drown if you take the time to put yourself first. And- the real question my beloveds-is self-care actually selfish? Or is it an equalizer-putting your lifesaving gifts in the best possible survival space for the greatest good of all?
Today I invite you to explore whether you are in the boat or in the water? Which one will you choose? Comment on what this means to you personally. Are you in or out of the boat?
Namaste dear ones.