Pretty much, that's it.
You don't need to tell the person you're trying to help about books they ought to read or share what your therapist said to do or talk about what you did in success camp or hug them or give the person a Kleenex. You don't need to run away or plan how you'll tell your friends how fucked up the person is later or share how fucked up you are in order to make them feel better or offer a drink or tell them to cut out red meat or gluten or suggest herbs or, worse, essential oils that they probably ought to add to their life.
I mean, you can do any or all of those things if you want and your ideas can actually be really helpful. But usually what you say is less important than the fact that you are being there, with your friend, in the midst of something he or she is struggling with.
I had one helluva yesterday. Stepped into the sadness and frustration that hit me like a ton of bricks when I was around 8 years old and that has sort of plagued me off and on since then -- a familiarly numbish place. Maybe you know that space too -- let's call it the Kingdom of Sorrow. When you're in that terrible empire and look around and all you can see is grey and tearful and ever unchanging it's only natural to want a way out. And that's when having someone simply be with you is totally life changing.
I'm not sure about you, but I don't like to answer my phone when I'm stuck in the Kingdom of Sorrow so it's not very easy for anyone to help me find my way out. Yesterday was no different. Rather than pick up when I heard my Samsung buzzing, before bed I listened to messages and heard the following:
Hey Donna. I'm just calling because I'm happy that you're my friend and I think about the things that you say to me all the time and I'm thinking about one of them now and I'm just so grateful that you exist and I wanted to tell you that. Ok. Bye.
Honestly, I had my head buried in a book all day and night and when I listened to the message I thought, whatever. No one really cares. I didn't call my friend back because that's actually been true. There really have been so few people willing to hang out with me, especially during rough times, without judgment or suggestion or fear, that I often don't believe that kind of presence can exist.
It does though. When I woke up this morning and called my friend, she was completely present in the Kingdom of Sorrow with me. She giggled in a way that let me know that she had some kind of immunity there that granted her the strange ability to visit without getting lost. Then she said I've got you. You can go into it fully and I am here. I won't let you get stuck. She said lots of other stuff too but it was her ability to give me a bit of a rope to use to ferry myself out that started things unraveling.
Why am I telling you this? I'm not sure. To share a the energy of a new possibility? To appreciate and acknowledge the gift this friend is? To have this here, in my blog, so that I can read it later and be reminded that I know a few people with skills and true caring? To pass the time?
Yep. All of those.
Can I share something with you?
I don't always embrace change.
I know, I know. I should. I mean, there are memes dedicated to jumping blissfully off the cliff into the adventure of living circulating on every social media site at least seventeen thousand times a day. There are board-breaking success camps and motivational courses dedicated to helping people transform their lives. Many of my friends have titles like transformation artist and change agent and personal success coach. That's what I do for a living too -- catalyze change.
Really, there's no excuse for me not to emerge easily and willingly from cocoon. Period.
No excuse and still I'm prone to digging my heels in the sand and I think we can agree that no matter how cute the heel, it's much less sexy when it's clawing its way into earth.
Here's something else you might not know about me. Or maybe you do, you're awfully psychic after all. I love to sleep in my car. Yup. I'd rather, when the weather allows, drive to a lake, park, and expand into water molecules and quiet, gentle breeze as I sleep than slumber at home.
In fact, I woke at dawn just this morning snuggled in fur blankets and gazing up at the moon, which hung like a lantern over the great Rocky Mountains. Late last night I nudged my car into a grove of trees who promised to take care of me and after admiring a solitary Blue Heron that was gliding swiftly across the blueing sky I thanked the trees and the stream they drank from for hosting me through the night. Grateful for the planet's willingness to receive me and nurture me, I cranked the car on and got rolling into today.
Driving back into the city I could feel everyone's worlds: their problems, their worries, their sadnesses, their anger -- mostly I could feel their limitations and numbness. My body and being still buzzing and expanding, the smallness so many people live with hit me in a different way than it usually does.
I asked myself how expanded I truly am. Got curious about how big my world has gotten over the last few months and stepped into a sense of the me I'd been pretending not to be. I could see how much I've been trying to fit into a world I've outgrown. Tapping in and expanding, awareness of things I can be doing and places I can be going, both internally and in the world, started to shimmer.
The thing about edges and embracing change is that usually I avoid it because I'll emerge greater than I've decided I can. Like, my life will actually be better than it was before. Rarely do I sidestep change because the possibilities will become lesser or diminish. Actually, it's the opposite. When I resist changing, endless possibilities begin to extinguish.
If this sounds familiar to you here are some questions you could play around with (and by the way, asking questions is about opening doors and inviting All-Of-Consciousness to support you, it's not about having answers):
Oh, and this post wasn't just inspired by nature, I discovered this video "What does it mean to be you?" from Dr. Dain Heer and it made me smile and giggle and remember to have some damn fun with all of this. Check it out!
Lit and Comp teacher gone rogue, disguised now as a Living and Relationship Coach, Body Worker, and Access Consciousness Facilitator, I still sneak off to write because, well, it makes me come alive and it's one of the joyful ways I create the future.