What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
“Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.” — Janis Joplin
Demeter women smile with their eyes. People gravitate toward these women. You can pick them out in a crowd – they are warm, vibrant, nurturing. You may be one of them.
Natalie is a caretaker par excellence. Sometimes she’s in danger of going overboard: taking charge, smothering, and relinquishing her needs. She easily becomes so wrapped up in someone else’s wellbeing and their problems that she looses her own center.
Here’s the deal. Natalie had agreed to caretake her friend Joyce’s dog, Tom-Tom, for 10 weeks last spring while Joyce and her partner planned to take a sabbatical in Greece. She was excited for them to have this opportunity. Natalie had just taken on a new puppy, Gypsy Girl who adored Tom-Tom. Win—win.
But the sabbatical was unexpectedly postponed for a year. The time arrived. Six weeks before Tom-Tom was expected at Natalie’s she realized her current life could not possibly include another full time responsibility i.e. Tom-Tom. Over the past year she had committed to two long-term projects that were beginning to take shape, each needing constant attention. Like twins. What was she to do?
Why does the choice have to be between showing up for her Self, and showing up for her friends? Demeter’s daily mantra, “Sure, I’ll do it.” Smile. Smile. Smile. Being unaccustomed to asserting her boundary limit, Demeter women are constantly thrown off their game. Natalie knew she faced an opportunity to shift a deeply embedded pattern – flying away from her own center of activity to support another. This old habit undercut her own sense of wellbeing and the possibilities she was manifesting in her own life.
A dream showed the challenge being revealed on Natalie’s inner landscape: Artemis, the independent goddess, led the way into a cave. There, lit up and warmed by the fire is a new baby girl. Artemis instructs Natalie how to care for and feed this new life, protecting it while keeping intruders at bay. Her therapist continued to hold a reality check in front of Natalie’s ambivalence, reminding her that Joyce had 6 full weeks to make other arrangements for Tom-Tom. This was cutting edge growth material for this caretaking woman who had to take responsibility for how she was about to sabotage herself, again.
If you are a Demeter type woman, do you recognize when you are feeling disconnected from your center? Are you aware of when and how you abandon yourself? Natalie took the risk – met the challenge of disappointing a friend by gently and evenly asserting her own needs – explaining that this was not the right time for her to further extend herself. She was very sorry because of course friction was created between them. And they worked it out eventually.
Moving through this sort of empowering experience, the Demeter woman learned that in the future she could be well intentioned and serve others in bits and pieces, without fully giving herself away.