Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

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Katie (StormyKat) created the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

I would like the opinion of my fellow Jedi. How do you find balance between giving and taking care of yourself?

I had minor surgery last week and as I was sitting in the hospital bed waiting for the doctor I was listening to the news (I never watch the news). It was all death, destruction, hatred. There was a story about a police officer who had just been killed, then Donald Trump spewing his Trumpisms, there was Kim Davis not doing her job and acting like a martyr, there was the refugee crises in Europe. I couldn't take it. I want to do something--to speak out for the voiceless, to help feed the hungry, to shelter those who do not have shelter. I am one person though and I can only do so much. Right now I need to care for myself--I am protecting myself and my time as I recover from burnout from animal rescue. My problem is that I tend to dip my feet in the lake of helping and suddenly find myself in the "no wake" zone with all the boats zipping around me and no saftey device to keep me afloat.

So I am wondering. How do my fellow Jedi find that balance? Because part of being a Jedi is giving back to the community and helping those in need. How do you help others and still care for yourself? Where is the balance for you? Do you pick one cause? Do you volunteer once a week? Once a month? Do you donate to one organization and one organization only? How do you do it?

Thanks.
StormyKat

MTFBWY
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Jax replied the topic: Re:Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

I pay attention for burnout at the least. When it gets to be too much I pull back. That's level 1. Level 2 is noticing when things make me more than a little emotional. For example I can't handle most stories of children being harmed. It hurts too much now. So I catch myself responding to an article and stop myself right there. I don't push it. Level 3 is asking questions. Things like, is there anything I can contribute? What energy space and consciousness can I be to reduce the suffering in the world? Sometimes the best thing we can do is live our lives as examples of living life differently. You may feel like you have to do it all but there are billions of people and many people who are meant to help in these other situations. Just like many can't contribute what you can to animal rescue, you can't contribute in these areas where you have no real reach.

Does that mean you are helpless? Not at all because you are a Jedi. That means you can send them loving energy that you gather from the Force across the universe and direct where needed. You can request benevolent prayers like taught in Jedi Studies. You can ask for the right people to step up and find a solution to these crises, that the hearts of everyone are opened to receive refugees and end wars. These can be done even in burnout.

Finally let go of the guilt. You aren't meant to help everyone. This world is meant to be cooperative. It takes big events most of the time to wake the stubborn. Things unfold as needed to awaken people. Just don't watch the news because it is meant to sensationalize.


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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re:Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

How much is too much?

All our life, we are told to give. Share your favorite toy in kindergarten; religious groups nag...er, teach us to give unto others and/or “give ’til it hurts”. We are told God loves a cheerful giver. Every charity commercial makes you feel bad if you do not give more to feed orphans somewhere. Some people take in that message and… they give until it hurts and then some.

Obviously, giving is not wrong. But if you are regularly giving to someone who gladly takes, there as a chance you might be enabling them to expect to permanently take from you, thus disabling their own potential. Which is pretty anti-Jedi-ish! If you are always the one who forgives; if you are always bending over backwards; if you give and give and give and the other person is unkind, neglectful or abusive, or just 'expects it' -- take it as a warning.

The minute you feel like you have “given too much”, it is a message from your inner guidance system telling you that you probably have.

I am not advocating stopping giving. I am advocating stopping being taken advantage of. Stop being a martyr. Stop letting others step all over you until you are empty. That 'burn out' you are constantly skirting the edge of is a BIG warning flag.

People who we have trained to take us for granted (grown children, relatives, partners, bosses, fellow employees) come to expect constant mercy, constant cash, constant sacrifice from us. It sets up an unfortunate dynamic that causes you to lose value in their life. You would think just the opposite is true. But reflect on the people to whom you have over-given. Are they grateful, appreciative, happy and caring toward you? Or do they just require more?

The secret to all of this is to listen to your own body, heart and soul. It will tell you when you are out of balance. If you are giving so you have the ability to manipulate or control someone, it is not healthy giving. If you are giving so many so many second chances or so much money, time or energy that you feel personally depleted and perhaps even a little resentful, it is not healthy giving.

The Jedi solution? Take a step back and as calmly as possible, observe how you continue to create this imbalance. If you do not like what you see, summon up your courage and change the dynamic. You are responsible for your own life, just like other adults are responsible for theirs.


*****

Just for 'further reading', check out these two links --

>> Elizabeth Gilbert's Confessions of an Over-Giver <<

>> 10 Tips: Balance Self-Interest & Sacrifice for a Wonderful Life <<
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Katie (StormyKat) replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

Thanks. Great advice. I was talking to my doctor about this yesterday, trying to find a balance between helping and caring for myself. I was glad to hear her say that this was something many adults struggle with, that I was not special in this regard--perhaps it is hard for me because of my depression/anxiety and high sensitivity but it is not a struggle I alone face.

I don't want to turn a blind eye to the world. I don't want to ignore the problems of others because I need to care for myself. I know there has to be a way to help others and make a difference AND take care of myself. Thanks for all the comments. I hope to get more from other Jedi.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

Giving giving some thought...

Perhaps instead of being a one person shelter for homeless critters, you might consider donating to an operating shelter in your area? I mean, $20 may buy a bag of kibble for you but, that same $20 might buy two bags when bought 'in bulk' by a shelter/critter home... or be better put to use for some medicine which can help several through multiple doses.

When I was in the military and knew I had a steady income, I used to send $20 a month to a group which would forward it to a 'sponsored child'. I got monthly translated letters and I'd send a small gift each year on top of the monthly cash. It allowed my 'kid' to have shoes for school as well as all her school supplies. Did that well until I got out and was a 'broke' college student.

Re: Watching TV news
On television or InterWeb 'streams' -- it could be very easy to get totally depressed at the overwhelming amount of bile and venom being spewed at ... just about everyone and everything. I tend to check the general headlines and scope out the BBC news link. After that, I have to say "no more" or I'd get sucked into commenting against every commenter who ignores (or tries to rewrite) history or those who only repeat what they heard on certain news or radio channels without ever checking the facts for themself. Plus, on tv and the web there are people who practically make a living out of being trolls -- saying/posting stuff *just* to get a rise out of anyone else. Sad bit is, some few people take it to heart and have had their lives crushed by stuff like flame wars and cyber bullying and idiots posting untruth which ... once on the Webs, never goes away.

Sometimes the best TV to watch is none at all. (though I *do* have my guilty pleasure shows.... )
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Atticus replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

Thank you for bringing this up, Kat. I struggle with this too, and it seems like I've been struggling with it more lately not just because of the media circus but because of the demands of my job as well.

The only halfway useful thought I have, and it's kind of what Jax and Kol have already touched on, is something I teach in emergency medicine trainings. If you've ever been on a plane with a child and heard the pre-flight lecture they deliver, when the oxygen masks flop down from the ceiling, you're supposed to put your own mask on first, THEN put the mask on the child. It's so counterintuitive that most people would get it backward if they didn't give that lecture. But when cabin pressure is dropping rapidly, you may only have a few seconds to get it right. Put your own mask on, and you'll have oxygen enough to make sure you don't black out before you get the kiddo sorted. So more broadly, it's not selfish to see to your own needs, because when you don't, your effectiveness in helping others is limited.

I am fortunate that I work in a field where my day job is my cause, right now, but even there I face the problem of wingspan. I work in indigent criminal defense, trying to protect the rights of the accused. So I spend the majority of my day trying to do that, one client at a time, and it feels very much like a Sisyphean struggle. The broader problem is a culture of mass incarceration, unfair sentencing guidelines, racial disparity, increasing criminalization of conduct, etc. But I have to realistically look at what I can do on these broader issues, which is honestly very little. I write my legislators. I band together with other defense attorneys to lobby for change. I educate wherever I can. And it usually doesn't look like it adds up to much.

But I have other causes that are important to me too. AIDS and breast cancer research are very important to both Kate and me, for personal reasons. Marriage equality. Electing the right person to the White House so we don't have a repeat of the awful oughts. Local theater and arts. Fixing the student loan debacle so my sons don't start their adult lives in indentured servitude like their father. Really feel helpless on climate change. And I don't feel competent to work on any of these things. Sometimes the best I can manage is a repost on Facebook.

But I don't want this to sound like I'm negative about any of this. I'm really not. I accept the limitations I have at any given moment, but that doesn't stop me from sending out positive energy, from trying to raise awareness, or from being an ally even if I can't be an armed and dangerous one. Maybe the best I can manage is a repost on Facebook, but I've seen (recently) a repost change a mind. Just one mind. But that is something.

"Right speech is about establishing productive and honest communication that is beneficial to both the speaker and the hearer. . . . Right speech requires the use of truthful, loving words intended to inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope in others." -- The Dharma of Star Wars
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Streen replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

StormyKat wrote: So I am wondering. How do my fellow Jedi find that balance? Because part of being a Jedi is giving back to the community and helping those in need. How do you help others and still care for yourself? Where is the balance for you? Do you pick one cause? Do you volunteer once a week? Once a month? Do you donate to one organization and one organization only? How do you do it?


Those are some excellent questions. At this point in my life I had planned to be very active in volunteering or helping people somehow. Unfortunately, due to many events mostly surrounding my car accident, there isn't much of anything I can do to help. Like you described being in the hospital, that has pretty much been my life for the past 10 years.

The best I've been able to do is teach, with which I think I've been fairly successful. I've mentored 2 or 3 students as a Jedi over the past several years and I've found that it is what I'm good at. It's the best way for me to "volunteer", to help, to assist in the way I was made to. I would have liked to be a martial arts instructor by now, but that may never happen. So I have to remain satisfied with the act of guiding others spiritually. I want to do more, but don't we all?

That is, at least, my personal way, which obviously won't work for everyone.

"When you’re deluded, every statement is an ulcer; when you’re enlightened, every word is wisdom."
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Katie (StormyKat) replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

Atticus and Streen- Thank you for your insightful posts. It is good to know that I am not the only one struggling with this issue. Thank you both for your input and for doing what you can to make the world a better place.

I am blessed to be surrounded by so many activists in my life. They work at animal shelters, they start animal shelters, they campaign tirelessly for social justice. This public projection of their amazing work in changing the world makes me feel like I just am not doing enough. It is nice to know that many people struggle with feeling like they do enough and give enough. That it is not just my negative self worth tapes playing in the background.

As I write this I am reminded once again of a Bible story I learned in grade school known as The Widow's offering. A widow gives her offering to the temple, an offering of only a few coins. Jesus praised this woman to his disciples saying she gave more because she gave out of her poverty.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Now I am usually not one to quote the Bible. However, I feel this applies to many of us. I remember thinking, way back when I was a Youngling of no more than 8, how it is important that we all give what we can. If that means a few dollars out of a $5 weekly allowance or a few hours tutoring someone in the ways of the Jedi (and thus bringing more peace to them and the world) then that is what you can give. Giving of yourself, but giving without destroying yourself. As long as we all do what we can-be it small or big--to improve the world we live in. That's whats important right? Even if all we can do is care about something.

MTFBWY my fellow Jedi.
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Archmaras Tyden replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

I have an extension of the question. When you have been giving without taking for long enough (or vice versa, but I would presume no one here is like that) your internal warning system gets recalibrated to believe that if you give less than all and take more than none then you aren't giving what you ought or are being selfish. This leads to complete imbalance and further problems either of giving even more or retalliating with the mindset of "my turn" and throwing yourself further out if balance.

The question is when you have lived like this for that long how do you properly recalibrate back to base 0 (complete balance) so that you instinctively know when you are giving or taking too much.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Jedi's Call to Give Back & Finding Balance

Perhaps this article from Modern Mojo (2016) can point the way...
How To Live In The Space Between Caring Too Much and Not Giving A F#@K
LQ MCDONALD III
October 20, 2016

It may not always seem like it sometimes to the people who know me, but I care a lot. I internalize a great deal of concern for other people and their struggles. Everything I have gone through in my life has given me a perspective of compassion for others who have it as bad or worse as I did. Because of that, I want the people around me to know that I honestly and truly care for them and to see me as a resource for their struggles. I love helping in any way that I can, and it fills me with a sense of joy when I help set someone up on the right path or help to ease their struggles.

With that being said, I often just don’t give a fuck. Not in a cold, dismissive way, but in a healthy, stressless way. I don’t give a fuck what people say about me or how they view me. I certainly don’t give a fuck about rules or the usual ways of doing things. And I don’t give a fuck about the constant shit storm of nonsense from negative, unhelpful people. I have no time or energy to waste on that kind of shit.

Now, me caring and me not giving a fuck might sound like a contradiction, but I think there is a fine line between caring too much and not giving a fuck and it is a line that we should all walk, because leaning too much to one side strips something important from us. If we care too much we get lost in doing everything for everyone else and we get sucked into an empathy vortex where we confuse our own emotions and struggles for the emotions and struggles of others. We end up getting lost along with them. In the same way, if we never give a fuck, we never have the opportunity to help others and to lend our experience and advice and energy to helping them in a way that makes our life more meaningful and full of service to others.

So how do we live in that space between caring too much and not giving a fuck?

Put Yourself First.

Sometimes, being selfish is the most selfless thing you can do. Cleaning up your own mental or physical garbage is the best way that you can serve others in a way that makes your service meaningful and authentic. Most of us who care a lot about others, and the world, make a habit of putting other people first and we often suffer because of it. We give away too much of our money or time or energy to others and we are left drained and deflated. That is why it is so important to sometimes, more often than not in fact, put your needs above the needs of others. You can’t fix anything for anyone else if you don’t fix the things that are wrong with you so, fuck it; be selfish sometimes. Say no. Cut people off who are sucking you dry and come back to them when you are full enough to withstand their drain. Not only will you have the resources to help them, in the form of finances, patience or creativity, but you will never leave those interactions totally drained and you will be able to bounce back quicker to do it all again for someone else.

Putting yourself first also means not listening to all the negative bullshit that people throw your way as you start to make some serious changes in your life. It means not giving a shit about the old friendships that don’t serve you and not giving a shit about the flack you get from others as you try to cut out the old habits that are bringing you down. No matter how great you think the things you are doing are someone, somewhere is going to talk shit about them. Don’t give a fuck about that! You care too much about yourself to do that.

Give Others What They Need, Not What They Want.

When people approach us they frequently approach us with a solution that they already imagined that you can help them implement. When someone is late on their bills they call and ask for money. They never call and ask how you can help them be more responsible with their finances, they just want money to fix the symptom not the cause. When someone calls and asks you how you lost weight, they want you to give them a quick fix diet or routine that helped you get into shape. They never want to hear about all the hard ass work it takes to drop the extra pounds and to get into shape and they shrug off your invite to the gym, so they never end up succeeding in their weight loss goal. Why? Because you gave them an answer and not a solution. The best thing you can do for people is to know the difference between what they need and what they want. You need to care enough to want to help, but not give a fuck enough to know that what you might offer for help is not what they want to hear but really need to hear if they honestly want to change the shit in their lives.

Question Everything

I accept a lot of advice from a lot of different people; people who I know are wiser, more accomplished and better at this living thing than I am. I read everything I can get my hands, listen to hours of podcasts – I am a sponge of information because I know the more that I learn, the more fodder I have to work through and to apply to the life I want. I care a lot about learning and growing. With that being said, I don’t give a fuck if some amazing personal development guru gave me some pithy advice that everyone else thinks is brilliant. If that shit doesn’t agree with my common sense, my reason and my purpose then I am dropping it. I make a habit of questioning everything that I read or hear or see because that gets me to a deeper understanding – a personal understanding that works with my path. We can respect and appreciate people without giving a fuck about everything they try to teach us. Not everything is going to work for you and a personal development path is PERSONAL, so you need to find what works for you personally. Don’t just buy into shit blindly because important people said it. Care enough to listen, but give the proper amount of fucks if it doesn’t serve you.

Summary

Living in this space between caring too much and not giving a fuck is a difficult space to inhabit. You have to be constantly vigilant that you are not moving too far one way or the other and that requires a constant evaluation of your motives and intent. You have to be really in tune with what you are trying to get out of your journey and know when you need to slide back towards caring or not giving a fuck. But if you can exist there in that space for long enough, it becomes easier and easier to navigate and the payoffs become larger and larger. Things open up and you are able to balance all that compassion you have for others with all that shit you want to accomplish for yourself and that’s when you start to see the most movement in your world. So go out there and care too much, but have the inner strength to sometimes not give a fuck.


* * * * *
Similar to much of the advice given by others in this thread I guess.

I suppose the other side of the above coin might be this link from 'Tiny Buddha' >>>

>> How I Stopped Trying to Please Everyone and Started Prioritizing Myself <<
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