Recently a dear friend reached cried out to me with a deep plea from his soul. He wanted help. His cry was “Come get me. I can’t do this alone. I need help. I am dead. I am sick. I need help. This is more than I can handle”.
Did he just say these words? No. He screamed them from the center of his soul. He begged, demanded in a way that no one could deny. It was deep, profound, the kind of cry that you instantly reach your hand out to, no questions asked. Included in his plea was the statement, “If someone does not come in this door within a few minutes and put their arms around me tell me they love me, I am going to die. It was guttural.
I came. I had never heard such a deep, honest and courageous, yet demanding plea as this. I had to pack, fly, rent a car and drive, which took me only 24 hours. He told me he would sit on his couch and wait for me, that he would not move. He waited. I arrived and he grabbed me, held me and sobbed in gratitude.
His courage to express his pain and reach out with total abandon of any self consciousness was refreshing. Although painful, it was beautiful. Most of us don’t have the courage to be so vulnerable. Many of us don’t even know when to ask for help, let alone how to.
We talked for hours, and I fed him of course. I listened and tried to meet him where he was. He was so stressed over money, rent, his car, and his girlfriend. He was spiraling down through a maze of ridiculous confusion over what seemed to me really simple matters. Simple to me. but to him, his whole life, purpose and the value of his existence was wrapped up in it and her. He also kept saying he was so afraid. I asked what he was afraid of, and he could not answer. He actually looked at me with surprise in that he thought it was obvious.
At one point after sharing, a new space emerged and we discussed action steps. I asked, “What do you want?” His only answer was, “I don’t know?” Over the course of a couple days he was able to express what we wanted within the situation. But, since the situation would determine unidentified long term outcomes, I thought it important to look ahead. He could not find the answer of what his soul wanted in his life. He just wanted this situation to be resolved. I got it. How can we even think long term when we are sitting in the midst of a crisis? Most of us just want the crisis to be over.
With reflection I began to ask myself, “Why is it so much easier to express our pain rather than to express our desires?” Even though many of the details were worked out regarding the rent, landlord and the girlfriend, he still could not articulate what he really wanted in his life. In retrospect I think he just wanted all his past efforts toward a particular outcome to turn out golden, and that is not what was happening. There was a sense of defeat and failure that he could not accept or deal with. He could no longer proceed alone. He needed help.
With further reflection I saw that many of us move from one crisis or situation after another. We often lack the foresight to create a vision that excites us and fulfills us with a sense of purpose for our entire life. I get this. I have done it as well. All of a sudden we find ourselves older or old and it is too late to fulfill dreams we had when we were younger. Or, we fail to continue asking ourselves. So many of us are just responding to life, and putting out fires.
I remember when I was 42 years old, I realized that I would never be a professional dancer. When I saw that it was too late, I cried– sobbed with regret and mourned the loss of what would never be. Why did I not pursue it? I certainly could have, but I just let life get in the way by responding to circumstances and fulfilled shortterm goals. I did not pay attention to the deepest expression that my soul yearned for. Dang.
How about you? Can you claim your desire with the same intensity that you claim your pain? Can you connect to your higher power and ask yourself, “What do I really want from the deepest part of my soul?”
Can you cultivate authentic curiosity, identify the essence of your unique desires, and then muster up the courage to dare believe it could be yours, and act on it?
My friend has the kind of emotional courage I admire. He was not afraid to ask for help. Perhaps from this new place of confidence, knowing that friends show up when he asks, he will find the space in him to identify his desires beyond his immediate needs.
Despite what is going on in your life, I suggest we all continue to ask ourselves what do we really want. Asking this question will probably also alleviate the pain, because the pain often comes from dreams unrealized. Where is your pain, and what do you need to do to alleviate it? Does it have anything to do with your deepest desires. Check in and ask yourself.
Self awareness is not always easy, but it is always valuable. It just may contain the revelation you need to move forward.
Do you need help? D you have the courage to reach out and ask for help.