Dear Fiona, Open, Heike and Charlie,

I am touched by your responses to the story I posted yesterday. It always amazes me that even if I can’t necessarily get my own head around what it is that I am trying to say (and therefore even consider not posting it at all), it can still have a ripple effect to others who will pick something from it. So thank you for reflecting that back to me and offering me your thoughts in return.
Heike, thanks for your resonance and for the quote you shared,
Charlie, thanks for reminding me that ‘For when in right in front of you that is all you can see’,
Fiona, thanks for passing the generosity on and reminding me that we never know the impact of our expressions,
Open, thanks for the starfish story, which I have come across before, but that indeed relates well to what I shared.

Somehow the analogy of the starfish story really hit home in terms of what I shared and helped me to make more sense of it all. As I was reading the story, I immediately saw myself running around frantically on this beach with the tens of thousands of starfish trying to throw all of them back in the sea as quickly as possible before the sun would come out and make them die. That image typifies me and my life in so many ways. Where the boy in the story puts his attention on the starfish that he saved, all my attention would just be focused on the starfish still on the beach that I hadn’t saved yet, which is where the feeling of helplessness (and at the same time perhaps a sense of failure) comes in, because I would never be able to save them all.

I can see there is also a link here to my tendency to ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’, because there is an unconscious conviction as well as a sense of guilt that I can’t just ‘be’ there on the beach, while all these starfish around me dying, and ‘do’ nothing. And even if I were to take a moment to pause from the franticness and just ‘be’ there on the beach (say I would sit there and meditate), the sight of the starfish around me dying would probably be too overwhelming and painful. And this is where I have learned to disconnect (and what perhaps has become a coping strategy); by being on the beach and just pretending that the dying starfish are not there at all, that’s how I have managed to cope living in this world without getting overwhelmed by the pain of living in this world.

I can sense how reconnecting to the image of myself on the beach with the starfish that I can’t possibly all throw back into the sea, can serve as a powerful tool for me to dive deeper into the underlying feelings. There is a whole bag of mixed emotions of tears, sadness, anger and guilt in there… If only more people like this boy were to unite their efforts, we could easily save all the starfish on the beach from dying!

Thanks for your reflections and love to all!
Marije