The metaphor and reality of crutches

As I am slowly transitioning from 2 to 1 to no crutches, I am finding it interesting to dwell on the metaphor of crutches in life. I am totally grateful for having the crutches over the last 4 months, without them life would have been way more difficult and painful. There are times now in the house when I can move about the room without any at all which feels liberating. Outside on uneven, sloppy ground (which is most of Applewood to be honest) I prefer to use 2 still. And getting up the stairs it’s useful to use 1. I see that it isn’t always wise to try and abandon crutches too quickly. There are times when I am using them out of habit perhaps rather than the real need.

This sparked me to thinking – what are the other things I use as crutches in my life? – chocolate, social media, internet can serve as crutches sometimes and drinking and smoking have been crutches in times gone past. It seems addictions become crutches, and crutches can become addictions. The term seems to have negative connotations and implies something that props us up unnecessarily, but crutches are useful supports.  I also have positive ‘crutches’ or supports in my life – women’s red tent circle, yoga nidra, sit spots, gardening, creativity, friendships are amongst them. The internet can be positive or negative, just as crutches are useful supports for us, but we can become over reliant on them. Sometimes it depends on how often we ‘need’ or use them or how dependant we are on them as to whether they are enhancing or inhibiting.

Now as I am transitioning, I am noticing the edge, and the feelings that are associated with this. There is a mix of feeling unsteady, empowered, aligned, limping, excited and tiring to do too much.  I can feel off balance and coming into balance almost simultaneously.

Using crutches has invited me to be more resourceful and energy efficient about getting around; I’ve even found a way to move my cat around (OK she does move around herself, but there are times I want to take her upstairs and she misinterprets. She is the only one of my cats that is happy in the bag, and she will stay in there for ages). Not so much letting the cat out of the bag, as putting her in it.

So some questions for you and I to ponder – what are the crutches or supports in your life? Are they enhancing or inhibiting supports? Are there times when we are acting more out of habit than necessity? Are there patterns that need disrupting? How can we transition from crutches we no longer feel we need in a gentle but stretching kind of way?

(For more reflections and insights on creating positive patterns for well-being in our lives see People & Permaculture )

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