My Week: Asking for Help

I have always felt a great deal of resistance around asking for help. This became quite apparent to me this week as it was lovingly brought to my attention by a coworker.

My reasons for resistance are complex, interconnected, and mostly subconscious. I strive for independence, I like to challenge myself, and I prefer to be a helper rather than a beneficiary. But at the same time, I yearn to be vulnerable, to trust, and to learn from others.

In a letter to Anais Nin, Henry Miller wrote, “by receiving from others, by letting them help you, you really aid them to become bigger, more generous, more magnanimous. You do them a service.” By accepting help from others, we can both benefit. When we reject or do not intentionally seek the support and help of others, we are passively, albeit unintentionally, shutting them out of our lives.

This past week I also began my first coaching relationship (I am the coachee). I was approached by the coach; it was not something that I pursued on my own. I naturally feel open to the process of self-discovery and transformation so I was excited about this possibility. Yet, when the coach started to dig a bit deeper, I felt threatened. I felt as though I needed to maintain the illusion of having it all together and being successful. This is one of the greatest ongoing failures in which I continually submerge myself.

I never hesitate to help others; yet, I do not seek help for myself and sometimes resist or reject help when it is offered to me. I am going to continue to be aware of how I feel in response to accepting loving help and support from others, and push myself to open up to the generous gifts of their minds and hearts. My goal will be to appreciate what others have to share and to balance what I give with what I receive.

Be the Rose

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” – Gandhi

Just as we ought to be the change that we desire in the world, we should be the rose that others will want to stop and smell. Be still in the present moment and blossom. Grow your roots, soak up the water and sunshine. Feel the gentle breeze rustle through your leaves. Relax and connect in the quiet open space of unlimited possibilities. Appreciate your beauty and the intricacy of every delicate petal that is your conscience. Engage all of your senses and absorb the aromatic nuance of unconditional love.

L3: Appreciate Beauty

Ben was my one true love. He was 36 years old when I met him; I was only 11. I never imagined that I could love someone so unconditionally and completely. A lot of other people didn’t like Ben and they didn’t understand why I was so taken with him. He was older and had a scruffy appearance. But to me, Ben was my entire world and I loved everything about him.

Ben was a lesson horse at a local stable where I attended camp and hung out after school and on weekends during my middle school years. I met him on my first day at camp and, though I hated camp at first and wanted to quit, I fell in love with both Ben and summer camp by the end of that first week.

Ben’s age was obvious; his ribs and other bones protruded from his skinny, but sturdy, frame and his movements were slow but steady. But to me, he was the most loving, gentle, kind being I had ever known. I was only able to see Ben’s beauty: his silky, long mane and tail, his fuzzy brown fur, the stubbly whiskers on his chin, and his enormous size and strength all impressed me. Ben got more attention and tenderlovingcare than any other horse in Allentown at that time.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had chosen to only see Ben’s physical challenges. By seeing Ben for who he truly was, a beautiful and graceful older gentleman, I learned about the true meaning of life and was transformed.

We are all perfectly imperfect. Horses, people, trees, and rocks alike share this characteristic. Imperfections are reminders of our humanity and a call to find and appreciate true beauty.

It is easy to become frustrated with other people. They don’t always understand us or do what we think they ought to do. Focusing on other people’s flaws may bring temporary relief when we are feeling hurt or disappointed, but doing so further damages our relationships and make us feel even more miserable in the long run. All people are beautiful human beings who happen to have flaws. This can be hard to remember when someone is really pissing you off; if we try, we can remember and recognize the strengths and virtues that person has to offer. Strive to understand their point of view and help them to see yours as well.

On a daily basis, recognize the voluminous beauty that surrounds you. When you see a field of dandelion, appreciate the beautiful color and healing qualities of this herb; don’t think of it as a noxious weed. Seize every possible opportunity to appreciate beauty, if only for a fleeting moment. Cumulative moments of joy make a big difference in our lives.

Leadership brings with it overwhelming responsibility. Take the time to discover, appreciate, and celebrate the beauty in the people, situations, places, and systems in your life. Take nothing for granted and seek positivity – the lesson, the light, the love, the good – in everyone and everything. Use your influence and resources to illuminate these beautiful ideas, things, and people so that others may be nourished by the beauty in them as well.

L3: Recognizing Value

All we have is this very moment. In fact, we don’t even have that – that moment is already gone. And that one. And that one. And that one. Everything is in constant motion and transitory. As we dance in response to the rhythm of life, it can be easy to take things for granted.

Every day offers multiple opportunities and these are revealed to us through other people, objects, and circumstances. At every moment, we are exposed to intra-, inter-, and extra-personal energies that have the power to transform our thoughts, feelings, and actions both in the present moment and throughout our lives. When we are open to goodness, we will find it everywhere.

We have to actively seek value when we feel challenged, tired, overwhelmed, angry, or otherwise miserable. The gifts of the universe are not always readily apparent to us, particularly when we are enveloped in negativity. It sometimes takes years of developing understanding and reflecting upon our experiences until we are able to recognize the good among the bad.

On what was supposed to be my first day of high school, I was raped. This event, and especially the response of my family and police to the situation, emotionally wounded me and shattered my young life. I submerged into a dark depression and did not begin to make headway for about five years. What were supposed to be the best years of my life were actually the worst. I was not only angry about what happened to me, I was stuck in a hopeless response that further damaged my psyche and soul. I did more damage to myself than anyone else could have ever done to me.

I now know that I would not be alive today, and I would not be the vibrant, radiant, energetic, positive person that I have become, if it were not for this experience. At the time of this event, I was already spiraling down a dangerous path. Without this intervention, I would have most likely either killed myself or been killed. During those five desperate years of yearning, I explored all aspects of humanity imaginable which developed my insight and understanding about myself, others, and the universe. Although this was the most tragic and difficult experience of my life, it has also taught me important lessons that I needed to learn in order to survive.

I would never wish tragedy upon another human being, but recognize that in my life, this was my path toward personal growth and spiritual enlightenment. By choosing to seek and understand the positive aspects of our life situations, our ability to graciously feel and express gratitude will grow.

Live your life filled with gratitude, wonder, and delight. Express gratitude for all the good in your life through stewardship, affirmations, prayer, and sharing with others. Take time to show interest in others and genuinely express your love for them. Express gratitude to others for all that they have shared with you through personal notes, words of praise, and favors in turn. Be consistent and thorough in showing appreciation for, and reverence of, the people, things, and opportunities that make up your life.