Loving With an Open Hand

Old 12-02-2008, 07:21 AM
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Loving With an Open Hand

Loving With An Open Hand

This week as I talked with a friend I recalled a story which I heard this summer." A compassionate person, seeing a butterfly struggling to free itself from its cocoon, and wanting to help, very gently loosened the filaments to form an opening. The butterfly was freed, emerged from the cocoon, and fluttered about but could not fly. What the compassionate person did not know was that only through the birth struggle can the wings grow strong enough for flight. Its shortened life was spent on the ground; it never knew freedom, never really lived."

I call it learning to love with an open hand. It is a learning which has come slowly to me and has been wrought in the fires of pain and in the waters of patience. I am learning that I must free the one I love, for if I clutch or cling, try to control, I lose what I try to hold.

If I try to change someone I love because I feel I know how that person should be, I rob him or her of a precious right, the right to take responsibility for one's own life and choices and way of being. Whenever I impose my wish or want or try to exert power over another, I rob him or her of the full realization of growth and maturation. I limit and thwart by my act of possession, no matter how kind my intention.

I can limit and injure by the kindest acts of protecting and protection or concern. Over extended it can say to the other person more eloquently than words, "You are unable to care for yourself; I must take care of you because you are mine. I am responsible for you."

As I learn and practice more and more, I can say to the one I love: "I love you, I value you, I respect you and I trust that you have or can develop the strength to become all that it is possible for you to become - if I don't get in your way. I love you so much that I can set you free to walk beside me in joy and in sadness. I will share your tears but I will not ask you not to cry. I will respond to your needs. I will care and comfort you, but I will not hold you up when you can walk alone. I will stand ready to be with you in your grief and loneliness but I will not take it away from you. I will strive to listen to your meaning as well as your word, but I shall not always agree. Sometimes I will be angry and when I am, I will try to tell you openly so that I need not resent our differences or feel estranged. I can not always be with you or hear what you say for there are times when I must listen to myself and care for myself, and when that happens I will be as honest with you as I can be."

I am learning to say this, whether it be in words or in my way of being with others and myself, to those I love and for whom I care. And this I call loving with an open hand.

I cannot always keep my hands off the cocoon, but I am getting better at it!
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:15 AM
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Wow - fantastic post
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:42 AM
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This story was shared with family members on the last day of Family Week at my daughter's rehab. They gave us our own coin, similar to the ones given at AA/NA meetings, with a butterfly on one side. I keep it with me always and think it about it often.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been looking at my family tree with new eyes. When I see the people who have struggled with the basics of living life, I've also seen how their growth was stunted by good intentions. It has made my resolve stronger not to enable any more.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:51 AM
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This is an "oldie but goodie" I pulled out of my files. I needed the refresher myself as I was noticing an inclination to "help" my adult son with some of his life choices. I am working extra hard to not foresee the trainwreck that could happen and instead keeping the focus on me-here-now.

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Old 12-02-2008, 01:03 PM
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Thanks! I really needed that today to keep my mind off of my son. We seem to be hit with something every few weeks and its so much easier for me with my reading here..your all such strong women and I have the feeling that I am climbing that ladder with you all. Thanks again for the great read. Hugs, Bonnie
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:04 PM
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Thank you for the reminder for me, Cats, I needed to read those words today. Great story.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:03 PM
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This is so strange that this paticular post was posted today. For I have had this very same revelation today. I love my ex very much and want more then anything for him to come home to his family but only in this fashion as described in the poem. I love him enough to say that this has to be his journey and not "ours". I had wanted to post something earlier but decided against it because I could not put into words what was just described above.

That is real love. Being able to step aside and allow them to pass and know that they may stumble and they may waiver but that it is their path to take. I really pray for him to have the strength to do this alone. I know that if we are meant to be we will find our way back to each other and all of this will just add to the depth of our relationship.

I have truly found peace in myself about all of this.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:14 PM
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This was the subject of my meeting tonight. We had a lot of parents that are struggling with letting their addicted son/daughter go and give them the dignity of making their own choices. It is something that I struggle with too at times but I am getting better at. Thanks and hugs, Marle
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