One of my father’s favourite quotes when I was a little girl was, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
Some time ago, while pondering a situation with a friend, I found myself hesitating to intervene because, well… I couldn’t make them drink, or in this case, stop drinking. And I feared, if I said anything, they’d be upset and then it would all fall apart.
Except, it was already falling apart. Why did I hesitate?
I wonder what my hesitation is all about? I asked myself.
Is there something buried in my psyche holding me back that I can’t see? Is there a limiting belief here?
And then it struck me — beneath the ‘here, let me show you the water. you decide whether or not you drink’ is the belief — I am helpless to affect someone else’s behaviour.
I think that’s what they call. Bullsh*t!
I can’t change what other’s do but I am not powerless.
I have a voice.
I have the capacity to use it. To speak up and be heard.
Yet, I let the belief that I can’t make someone drink the water keep me from even leading them to the well.
Because the limiting belief is — What’s the point?
It’s not my business. It’s not up to me to intervene.
Actually. It is.
When I see someone doing something that hurts them or others, it is not up to me to walk away. It’s up to me to step in and intervene — lovingly. To at least say something so that they know I see them. I hear them. I feel for them and with them — and love them.
Love is not inactive.
It is constantly in action. In motion. In doing.
It’s me who isn’t always present to doing what I must to create a world of love — a world where I don’t stand on the sidelines watching someone hurt themselves, or watching someone destroy another, or watching people hurt each other or the world around them.
I may not be able to change the world but I sure can change what I do in it to create well-being all around me. And when I see someone hurting, I have the power to step in and ask, “I see your pain. How can I be of service?”
So dad, I know you’re gone from this world but I just wanted you to know, I get it. It isn’t about leading anyone to water or forcing them to drink. It is about what I do to create opportunities for them to see fresh water is waiting. And to know — I will stand at the well with you. I will hold your hair back while you drink. I will stand with you as you move towards the well just as I hope you stand with me when I need to drink of life-refreshing waters.
We are all connected. I can’t be in your pain with you, but I can stand with you as you dive into the well of possibility to find the other side where we all swim in this ocean of life together.
We are all drinking of the same well of Love. And if the water isn’t sweet, I do have the power to pour my voice into its depths and let it rise up in a song of Love.