Remember, You’re Not Alone

You don’t have to do this alone.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickr

The truth is, even if you could do “it” alone, whatever it is, so much more is available to you.

This physical existence is an amazing thing. It’s through this body that I experience my footfalls along the familiar forest path. These eyes witness soft snowfall and radiant sunsets. It’s with these arms that I hold those I love. This sense of longing, of passion to take action toward my dreams, my values, my intentions – that longing and passion are felt in my body with a sense of expansion in my heart and a physical pull toward what matters to me.

While inspirational and empowering, this physical experience has its pitfalls too. So easily we can end up feeling alone. Grounded firmly in a sense of separateness. I get an education. I build my career, develop skills, start a business. I acquire possessions, accomplishments, retirement accounts. I plan vacations, fill the bird feeders, do the grocery shopping.

Add to that the complications that come with life’s transitions. Whether it’s a transition of your own choosing, or one that has been brought about by external forces, it can feel disorienting and overwhelming. In some way, what you’ve believed about yourself and your life is changing in a fundamental way.  For many of us that brings up a reflexive attempt to go it alone, to try to look good to the outside world, while inside we feel like mush.

At a workshop recently I heard Tara Brach say, “Humans would rather feel shame, guilt, and self-hatred then feel helplessness.”

Here’s the pitfall. We become so convinced of our separateness, our self-sufficiency, our independence, our responsibility to manifest the perfect life, that we recoil from the very idea that we can’t do it alone. If you live in an industrialized, Western culture, you’ve no doubt been steeped in the idea that staunch independence and self-sufficiency are an ideal to reach for and a source of pride. If by any chance you grew up in a family that struggled with chronic illness, addiction, mental illness, or trauma of any kind, you likely learned self-sufficiency as a critical ingredient to survival. 

There’s a Sufi teaching I learned from Mark Silver, Founder and Healer at Heart of Business, Inc.  “Do not drink to quench your thirst. Rather, develop the perfect thirst, so that you never stop drinking.”

Needing help is at the very core of our nature.

We’ve become so convinced of our separateness, or invested in the notion of self-sufficiency, that we’ve forgotten that our fundamental neediness is a gift.

It is a bright light that points us toward a deeper truth. The truth that within the human experience of “I” there is a deeper, more vast “we” that holds us all. Needing others creates an opening for connection that is essential to a full and satisfying life. 

The state of needing help, that we so often avoid, is a call to remember.

Remember we’re not alone. Remember we’re not meant to do it alone. Remember the love, the connection, the strength, the inspiration, the momentum that comes when we allow ourselves to open and receive the help that is available to us.

A call to remember to keep drinking.

It’s a paradox, this individuality and oneness. This separateness and connection. A paradox and a basic truth.

As we make the countless choices a lifetime holds, there is wisdom in opening our hearts and welcoming the vast support we need to live that full, wholehearted life that’s calling.

 

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