Living Arts Weekly: The Aim of Self-Development

November 13, 2022

This week I explore a facet of Nurturing Care that goes a little deeper, and invite you to reflect upon the message. The question of when is our inner work self-serving, and when is it truly in service of another can be a difficult one to face.  Yet it is a question very worthy of holding, even for a lifetime. We are all vulnerable, beautifully-complicated humans, and we will all take this lifetime to scratch the surface of this understanding! 


”Nature’s fruit has gone to seed within the Earth. Yet, in this season of the Earth’s retreat into itself, we are called to bear our own fruits, and, through these fruits, to give ourselves to the world.”  -Patsy Scala, Weekly Meditations: Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul with Accompanying Reflections

I recognize the brilliant colors of Autumn are fading fast, and consider this reflection for the week. Nature is indeed retreating all around us. We see and feel the great preparation for Winter, for the coming Darkness. Intuitively, we may draw into ourselves: examining, reflecting, dreaming. Patsy Scala continues in this meditation to ask, “What are our fruits? How do we offer them?”

In dark times, seasonal or historical, it is imperative that we are clear about the answer. We must ask ourselves in earnest what we contribute to the world, not just as the “fruits of our labor,” but as an endowment of our souls. I ponder the depth of that in the context of upcoming festivals of light, and receive this: when we can give and act from a place of love for the world, our fruits are of Good Will and Devotion. These are fruits that honor the ties we have to each other and the world.

I feel she is drawing us to recognize that the aim for all of our self-development and our inner work must, in actuality, be Self-less. Quite the paradox, but one that Rudolf Steiner urged was imperative for the course of humanity. In his lecture, Love and Its Meaning in the World, he says,

“Striving for perfection imparts strength to our being and to our personality. But our value for the world must be seen to lie wholly in deeds of love, not in deeds done for the sake of self perfecting. Let us be under no illusion about this.

And later- I find this to be a pinnacle of the lecture-

“When a man gains victory over himself, the unfolding of love is possible.”

In our little worlds, with our families and the children we care for or teach, we can feel the difference when we shift our thoughts, moods or habits with the goal of benefiting them. It starts there, with small steps. And in continuing to examine, dig into, unfold, and shed layers of egoism through our lives, we find ourselves on the arduous journey of understanding and actualizing true selfless Love.

Blessings on your work!