I have a need to repair things. It manifests in many ways: tinkering with broken things, a desire to help others, attempts to help mend relationships, assisting those who find themselves at forks on the road, repairing negative outlooks, helping animals. I’ve always had a need to make things okay in the lives of others. Sometimes, whether I know them or not makes no difference. I’ve come to realize that this can be problematic.
It was at an early age that healing became an interest. Through caring for others, we give of ourselves and we become a part of something bigger - healing. This was my first inkling of a desire to fix things which has remained an aspect of my soul’s call.
An exchange I had with a friend once awakened me to the realization that not everyone needs or wants help. My friend shared a deep realization and the process it took to get there. He and I over the years realized that we were sharing similar experiences on different continents over the years. We were always amazed once we did connect at the parallel spiritual scenarios we shared. At one point as he spoke, I sought to lend another point of view, thinking it would aid him in his understanding. At which point he stopped and looked at me directly and made me aware that my perspective and opinion had no place in the conversation. He said; “but what you are saying is not helping me”. “In fact, I am not getting anything from it”.
Shocked by his response, I swallowed pride and got quiet trying to figure out what went wrong. Did I miss something? Did I overstep my boundaries? What had gone missing in our conversation and connection? After a lengthy pause he added, “you know when I tell you these things, I am not telling you for you to say anything, because the answer is something, I need to realize for myself. I am sharing with you because I just want to share and possibly in sharing, I will realize it or get closer to it.”
This felt familiar.
I had a similar response from a close friend. It was my first spiritual teacher who on a few occasions let me know that she did not need me to help her realize anything when she was in those subtle periods of deep transition. At the time I was too naive, ignorant and proud, to simply sit with her and listen. It felt like a smack down.
From my perspective, sharing was about give and take between two or more people, to see things in new ways to arrive at new realizations or to share simply in the similarities of our experiences.
I realized my friend, like my teacher (both Gemini’s by the way) relied strongly on his inner guidance, and shunned external assistance when going through a process. It was a solo experience that did not include the opinions of others, but rather the ear of someone who would allow for a reflective moment.
In that moment I faced a choice: to understand the need and be open and listen or to feel rejected and shut down. I could move beyond myself allowing for spaciousness; that space needed to could incubate thought, feelings and arrive at something new…, or I could stay small because of my own insecurity and hurt feelings.
Unfortunately, I have, on more than one occasion, experienced shifts or turning points in the lives of those close to me as a possible loss of friendship. I sought to mimic what I thought all friendships were based upon, an unspoken agreement of shared viewpoints, likes and dislikes, similar perspectives. I didn’t take into account that in cycles there are bends in the road where we evolve and perspectives changes. Relationships, to work, have to have given and be able to remain fluid enough to allow for periods of expansion and contraction. Friendship requires one to hold space for the other when going through metamorphosis leading to growth and evolution.
My lack of understanding as to the needs of my teacher and my friend in those moments of deep transition, were skewed by a fear of losing connection. Little did I realize that holding space for their transition provided an opportunity for us both to grow individually and together and could result in a deepened friendship and understanding.
I was at choice as I shared this moment with my friend; unfortunately, I chose to keep talking. I posed different angles as though he was not hearing me. He could not have heard me properly, I thought, as my intentions were good. Perhaps it was the language barrier in that he had a different native tongue. As would be expected, this led to a disconnect in the conversation - an impasse. He let go, determined to work on his transitionary moment on his own. I felt I had done him a disservice, that I had not heard him and thus, I did not help him. It never occurred to me, as hardheaded as I am at times, that there was nothing to do but to say, I hear you, I understand.
Emotionally, I’ve learned the best way to assist sometimes is to just Be with someone. No need to do anything more. Feel where they are, breath into that space. So much takes place subjectively in those moments. Fixing does not need to be an action or objective. Passive or subjective fixing through silence and stillness is even more powerful. Symbolic of nature in a forest, a sunrise, a sunset, a beautiful blue sky, a mountain or a river. Not a word is uttered but it gives so much. It fills us with love and awe. One’s consciousness is shifted every time.
Now, I become the spaciousness in which the healing, the transition, the shift can happen through stillness, silence and an attentiveness to the currents within the other person. Volumes can be said in silence.
There are many ways to assist others. Each scenario requires its own way of handling it. Knee jerk reactions never work and when someone is in need, the ability to get out of self, to not make it about you takes discernment, unselfishness and skill. Life demands that we learn to open more and more to what others need and not what we need. If our focus is always self, we can’t help anyone or anything.