You are here to give the gifts that were gifted to you sweet friend, truly. You are here to pour yourself upon the earth like sacrificial wine, truly. You are here to be in service of something greater than your self, truly. But what happens when you have nothing left to give? What then? It is time you were initiated into the “Forbidden Art of Taking.”
To give is to receive we know, and thus as children did every teacher and parent and uncle and aunty encourage and reward sociable acts of giving and sharing. Thus have you given yourself so deeply to your work, with devotion and dedication year after year.
Thus too have you given yourself so deeply to your relationships. You the true friend, you the loving partner. And thrice thus have you given yourself to your family – whether as Mother/Father, Son/Daughter, Brother/Sister or the great constellation of other roles and relationships you find yourself nestled within.
When You Reach Burnout
But now? Now you are weary to your marrow. You feel like butter spread across too much toast, like an oil lamp almost out of oil whose flame is flickering, like socks worn thin – holding together by the barest of threads. Like a candle in the wind … whose wax is almost spent.
Where is your riotous laughter now dear heart, so free and fae? Where is that dangerously mischievous grin that used to come across you with an impulse that could not go unheeded?
Where is the dancing by yourself in your living room until your breath comes hard and heavy in your heaving breast? And where is your sex? That animal musk that would rise up within you? You used to be such a passionate lover!
You gave it all away.
Your Soul is now like a garden bed that has produced the juiciest tomatoes and the most piquant of thymes year after year, but now must lay fallow. Not simply fallow mind you, for the soil of your Soul must be enriched with the dark and loamy compost of other crops.
It is time to receive the Forbidden Art of Taking.
Caring for Yourself
The story we tell our children is – like so many of the stories of our lost and wounded culture – incomplete. It creates a white and a black – a right and a wrong – of what should be a give and take. To care for others we must also care for our Self.
If you would be a bonfire to warm and comfort the hearts of those you cherish then you must keep the flames well fed. You must gather pine cones and fir needles, you must split the dead wood of your world open so that the light within it can be enjoyed again.
And betimes, you must venture out into the thickets of your heart and fell a tree whose time at the canopy has been long and glorious … but is now over.
The Forbidden Art of Taking always starts with taking just one simple thing. This is the oil in the lantern of your life and its name is Time. You MUST take time for your Self sweet friend. You must. Why did our parents and our teachers forget to teach us this most basic tenant of life?
It’s Time to Feed Your Soul
Your Soul that you so deeply share is not an endless well to be plumbed, but a garden to be tended, a flame to be fed and nurtured. And the fuel that it so desperately needs is first and foremost Time. It’s always Time.
So yes I know that the kids are depending upon you, and that you love your work, and all those reasons you tell your self each and every weary Monday morning. But something much greater is actually at stake here. The universe is a flatter and less fulsome place without that light that dances in your eye sweet friend.
So burn on you crazy diamond, rage into the night! Pour your self into everything you do until at last – many, many years from now – you take your place with all the other glittering stars in heaven. But that sweet and hallowed night is many years from now indeed, so for today – just for today – practice the Forbidden Art of Taking.
Take Time. Take Time by the hand and lead it like a lover deeply into the moment that your heart whispers you want to share with your Self…and then lock the door behind you both for an hour.
In Service to Something Greater
You are here to give the gifts that were gifted to you sweet friend, truly. You are here to pour yourself upon the earth like sacrificial wine, truly. You are here to be in service of something greater than your self, truly.
But you are also here to receive.
And it all starts with reaching out, and taking Time by her outstretched tender hand. Give yourself to her – and only her – for a moment and she will fill your hollow bones with stars again.
For truly, the world would be a flatter and less fulsome place without your light.
This article is reprinted from the author’s page and is used with permission.
Over the last 22 years of clinic practice I have had the opportunity to research and practice some of the most respected traditional medical systems; these include the Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and Persian traditions. I have also been fortunate enough to work in a series of community health and international aid initiatives. https://www.doctorjimi.com