Caring Openly for Each Other

From a talk by Tim Jackins at the West Coast North America Pre-World Conference, January 2017

There are no limits to how much we can care and show that we care in any relationship, including the Co-Counseling one. There is no rational need to be distant, and yet we are still carefully distant.

Because of distresses we carry about relationships, we have needed guidelines to keep confusions from happening, but then we often hide behind these guidelines to avoid the discomfort of showing how much we care.

We get to challenge this—not just in sessions but everywhere at this workshop. I challenge you to show each other how much you care about each other. I know you do, and I know you are secretive and modest in the ways you show it and don’t show it.

Your caring matters. That you care about people is a big thing in their lives. They are used to assuming that nobody cares and that it’s okay: “I understand.” They have lived their lives that way. They could continue on and live good lives that way, but there is no need for that. There is no need to leave the limitations in place. So you get to openly like each other. It matters a great deal that you do, both for you and for the other person.

You are going to have to trust somebody. You’re going to have to decide not to go on alone—starting here and now and continuing more and more as we go ahead. Doing this challenges where we gave up trying long ago and said “maybe later.” It’s time to dare to fight the battles that hold us back.


How many people here feel very separate from everybody else? Raise your hands (almost everyone does). Okay, look around, please. Now isn’t this sad? Everyone admires you—people admire us; they have never seen a group function as well together—and yet we are still this separated. We all have this work to do. It helps to see each other struggle with it. We often have our best session after our Co-Counselor has had his or her best session on similar distresses.

This is not a criticism of anybody. Everybody has done well. You must have done well—you got here; you made life work. Yet each of us is held back significantly. We still feel miserable about ourselves and blame ourselves for it. You have to understand that this is not about you individually. It happens to everybody. It’s not an individual failure. It’s also not an accident. It’s built into what happens to all human beings.

I suspect that it comes from the oppressive society. Organized societies have always been oppressive. It looks like no human being has ever lived long enough with the discharge process intact to have access to her or his full mind. We’ve each had to store a part of ourselves away and go on. Part of our work is to change society so that the distress does not get installed on everybody. We now have a good enough picture of the confusions to begin to remove them from each of our minds, and collectively. What would it be like not to grow up separated?

I think we each gave up on other people, slammed a door, and went away, and people didn’t notice we had left. They couldn’t pay much attention to the fact that we had changed in a significant way, one that would affect the rest of our life. Maybe they did notice—it would be nice if they did—but from all the people I’ve talked to, it didn’t look like that. At least they couldn’t respond or give us the resources to stay. We need to discharge on this having happened to us, so that we can really have each other in some full sense. We’ve done very well in spite of hauling this undischarged distress around with us over the decades. But there is a lot more of life behind that separating wall.


It’s clear that we can’t do it alone. This will probably be one of the toughest distresses we have ever faced. It will require something of us that we haven’t been able to generate consistently. We will need perspective—an understanding of the distress and that we have the ability to stand against its pull—so that it doesn’t determine how we think, what we do, and how much we show we care or look for caring.

As near as I can tell [as well as I can perceive it], we are all desperate for the relationship we should have had at birth, and we are pulled to find some version of it in the present that will contradict these old feelings. Of course that’s not really what we need now. That’s not the relationship we need. It’s a frozen feeling: “I need somebody who thinks thoroughly about me and will take care of me where I stumble.” We don’t need that, so we can stop looking for it. But you know the confusion of looking for something so you don’t have to feel the distress that you haven’t been able to discharge yet. Things don’t move forward on that basis. We can look now at how much we got hurt from not having enough thought or resource or awareness in our direction. Things will move forward as we challenge and discharge that distress.

Progress in this area will have a significant effect on our relationships with each other and with the people in our RC classes and in building the RC Community. Many different things rest on our ability to connect and communicate with other people. If we leave the distress in place, we can end up simply talking theory. It’s good theory, but we’re not putting it fully into practice.

You know how hard it is for you to notice that you matter to someone else—and you’ve had all of RC for all of these years. Somebody walks into your fundamentals class who has had none of this, you say all the right things, and too often it doesn’t get through. You know how many of your students stay in RC. Everybody feels bad about their percentage of retention in fundamentals classes.

Every child tries so many times to care about the people around him or her, and nobody is in good enough shape [condition] to show that they see the caring and let the child know that it makes a difference to them. This happened to all of us. So part of being human got taken away from us, and we’ve learned to live without it. Working on it may be a challenge, because we’ve built very tolerable lives—we like people and show it as much as we can figure out, and our efforts are the best thing most people have ever experienced.

What we need to do now is discharge these early hurts around separation and begin to show that we care deeply about everybody. We know it makes sense from our theory. Now we have to figure out how to put it fully into practice. We have to figure out how to care openly and deeply for people whom we don’t know well or who restimulate us and we avoid.


We can be deeply caring and working for each other’s benefit both as a leader and as a follower and supporter. The Community moves forward best when there is thought and caring in both directions.

It is important to be committed, thoughtful, and caring to the people we follow. We can work on the distresses that make us reactively untrusting (or blindly trusting) of leaders, that make us avoid thinking about them, and that keep us uninvolved.

To be committed, deeply and thoughtfully, to those we are leading is also important. And we can’t hold ourselves away from their caring about us. It can be hard to decide that it’s correct and good, not misleading, for people to care about us. Leadership in our society is built on different principles. It’s built on manipulating people, hero worship, and other things that corrupt any solid aspect of leadership. For people to have someone in their mind who represents people well and plays a good role in moving things forward, and for them to care deeply about that person, is important and useful.


We get to openly care about people. We may have to be embarrassed, shy, and awkward and do things that feel stupid. We may have to go through a clumsy period to figure out how to not stay so separate. Lots of confusions, frozen longings, and other distresses have kept us from moving toward each other fully, and this has kept most of us from being able to lead large groups of people.

We can’t be this separate. We have to do something significantly different—probably in every part of our lives, but it’s very clear here. So let’s do a mini-session on daring to show how much we care. Pick anybody. Pick somebody you care about semi-secretly and talk openly about it.

Tim Jackins

(Present Time 188, July 2017)

Last modified: 2017-07-18 00:54:58+00