​Asking for help is not really my cup of tea. I don’t know if it is my upbringing, or that I am a guy, and you just don’t do that, but … I am not good at it, and often to my own detriment. If only I had reached out my hand, or asked a question, connected to someone else, than I would have given another person the opportunity to do something for me, and have allowed myself to receive something from them.
Growing up in The Netherlands, whenever we ran out of sugar or salt or butter, and the stores had already closed at 6pm that day, or on a Sunday, we would just knock on our neighbor’s door, and ask if they could spare some. And almost always they could. It was a simple gesture of helping each other out, whenever we could.
It was all so normal. And I am happy to say I could do the same with my neighbors in Brooklyn, and now here in the East Bay. It is a great start. Now, my neighbor is bringing me avocados, because they have too many, and don’t want them to rot away. (And we give them of our abundance of Swiss chard and cilantro.) Receiving that gift, though, was a challenge at first.
So here we are, still inside, reassessing our lives, our ways of living, our ways of treating the Earth, and each other. Just a little longer. Yes, it is time to deal with everything that we, personally and as a society, kept sweeping under the rug: the socio-economic disparities based on lies and blatant racism, and our destruction of Mother Earth, stripping her of all her resources, exploiting her with detrimental effects for all of us, as a local and a global community, to just name a few.
During the shelter-in-place we had a chance to rearranging our lives, in a practical way, but our spirits were challenged as well. It brought about a mental health crisis that you hear about almost daily on the news. And the destructive effects of it: increased crime, suicides, domestic violence etc.
And… being where we are, we don’t have to go it alone. This is our chance to rebuild our community. We have the possibility to reach out to each other. It takes courage, to acknowledge that we, personally and as a society, are running up against some walls, and need the input of others. It takes courage to bypass the feelings of shame and guilt that have been installed from an early age on, because the “American Dream” told us that we as individuals have to do it alone. It did not teach us to ask for help within our community when we needed it. Quite the opposite. It would judge us as “weak”, based on a false sense of pride, and superiority.
As a person and as a healer, I had to make similar decisions as anyone else. I got stuck, felt I was not moving forward; I was looking for something more, inside my heart, and around me with the ones I love and cherish, family and friends. It took me some time to ask some of my fellow healers for help. I had to get over myself, and my programming of doing it all by myself. I had to talk about what bothered me, and ask for help, for input, a fresh insight into me-being-me. I had to surrender to someone I trust, and allow them to share their insights from a place of love. Unconditional love.
So here I am, so here we are. To move forward, to change our behaviors, we need to enter unknown territories, often accompanied by some level of fear of that unknown. We have a chance to make a difference, though. Yes, we can acknowledge the fear, and use our courage to get beyond it.
Our worries about our realities of lack of food, heat, water, about lack of documents, work, about abuse, racism, yes it is all there. It is real, and it is a challenge! And… we have a chance to deal with it, and heal it, for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community at large. One day at a time. And… we can ask for help! Yes, we can! There are people within and outside our community that can help, that will help, and that will do the best they can to help us move forward.
There is no magic bullet for anything, but there is the (often covered-up) magic of our shared humanity, and a little bit more patience that we learned over the past year, that will help us move forward together. Reach out your hand, ask a question, connect to someone, give another person the opportunity to do something for you, and allow yourself to receive something from them. Try it! Your heart will be better for it!
One day at a time.

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