This is one of those ‘confessional’ blog entries in which I come out of the closet and acknowlege that I am….oh my gosh….human. I present as someone who is confident, self assured, independent, a self starter. Once I get on the metaphorical bicycle, I keep pedaling to maintain momentum. At my full time day job in a hospital, I walk quickly, stating half jokingly, “You can’t hit a moving target.” I do what is expected of me most of the time and when I am unable, I renegotiate. A saint, I’m not….just reliable. All of this adds up to….physical and emotional exhaustion at times. Why? Because I have this erroneous belief that I have to do it all myself, like a little kid who wants to tie her own shoes, button her own coat, walk to kindergarten on her own, just to prove that she can. Not arrogantly believing that my way is the right way, as much as feeling that I ‘should’ be able to keep up, carry the ball, be ‘the rock’, the caregiver….ad nauseum. It’s what I have been hardwired to do and have learned from a master…my sweet mother who is probably still playing that role in her new Home for the past nearly 4 months, orchestrating from on High.
A few years ago, I attended a workshop at The Omega Institute called Broken Open; led by Elizabeth Lesser, David Wilcox and Nance Pettit. One of the partner exercises had me teamed up with a woman who gave me a huge wake up call in the form of a response to an instruction at which I balked. We were to tell our partner about our greatest area of neediness…not needs, but neediness. Just the thought of admitting needs let alone neediness, made me want to puke. I told this woman how I was feeling and she said, not unkindly, but rather sharply “Do you think you’re better than the rest of us, that you don’t have needs?” It took me but a moment to acknowlege the error in my thinking. When I am the one providing for someone else’s needs, I am in charge and get to decide how much to give, to whom and when to stop giving. When I am on the receiving end, I am at the whim of their decisions…I admit it, in that regard, I feel like a control freak. Now, years later, I had fallen into spiritual amnesia and had to be remind anew.
As part of a workshop I did this past weekend, called Zoetic Expansion, the facilitator, Liora Hill, did a dialog with me about my lack of self-permission to have needs. She reminded me that no woman is an island and that needing is part and parcel of being human. “Yes but…”, my monkey mind chattered, “when you need someone, they will either leave or die first.”, which is the truth of relationship, “or you will leave or die.” That occurred 12 years ago, when my husband passed. While she agreed with me, Liora pointed out that then I had other needs, such as community support and love, spiritual fulfillment and such. “Ok, what about asking for what you need and someone says no?” How silly was that question, when I facilitate a workshop called Cuddle Party that is partly about that very dynamic? When someone says no, it’s not a rejection and it means you move on to ask someone else or find another way to get needs met. And then I told myself that I have ‘desires’ and ‘preferences’ not ‘needs’, so as to avoid disappointment and the feeling of dependence. Such a clever thing, is the monkey mind; attempting to convince us that needs= weakness. It’s kind of like the Henry Winkler Happy Days character “The Fonz” having a hard time choking out the words “I was wrrrrong.”
What I am coming to realize is that this pseudo self-sacrificing belief and behavior keeps others at bay and prevents true intimacy. The truth is, I NEED YOU! That generic human YOU, whether I have met you or you are simply in my cyber world. I can firmly state that we are inter-dependent, if this experience shows me nothing more than that. The people in my life; my family and friends, are willing to be there for me, to help meet needs. They can’t do it, though, if I don’t ask or aren’t willing to receive if they indeed offer. So here and now, I am willing to exercise my ability to ask for what I need and to graciously receive. I can trust that when called upon, the Universe is waiting to meet my needs. For that I am grateful.
And as a further reminder…the Beatles, serenaded me with this song tonight.