I started to write my blog in Word. Not the same. Something was missing. The screen looked different. The connection felt different. I kept slugging. Kept writing. Opted to move out of 'blog thinking' to book writing. Not a bad idea! It forced me to look at my morning through different glasses. To shake it up a bit with a different way of doing things and to get some much needed writing done.
Like people. Sometimes I meet someone with whom there is no connection, or the connection is not what I think it should be. Sometimes, I get the sense that we are on the same page but looking at different angles. Sometimes, I think we must be on completely different planes going in opposite directions. Sometimes, our connection is only through our pain.
This weekend at Choices, I had to connect with a woman who's had very similar experiences with men to mine. I didn't want to. In fact, I wasn't sure I was the best person to do it as dealing with her issues meant putting myself back into mine at a point in the Choices process where I needed to be completely focused on this woman. I was scared. Could I stay connected to her process without connecting to my own story blocking my hearing?
Mary Davis, Thelma Box's daughter, came up to the circle where I was standing with this woman and said to her, "It's no surprise Louise Gallagher is standing right across from you in this circle," she said, her voice soft and loving. "But, I think she might need my help here. Do you mind if I step in?" she asked looking directly at me. I nodded my head quickly in confirmation. I needed her help.
With Mary's guidance we got through the process. It was a big moment for this woman. Her smile at the end was a huge reward.
But the tapes were still firing in my head. Why couldn't I stay connected without getting caught up in my own issues? I should have been able to do it. I should have been strong enough to let go of my story so that I could focus on hers.
Mary and I chatted later. "You looked pretty scared when I walked up to the circle, I figured I'd best step in and see if I could help," she said.
"I was," I replied. "But I was too afraid to admit it."
Mary took both my hands and peered deeply into my eyes. "You don't have to do everything perfectly. Sometimes, there are issues we simply cannot deal with in this setting. I have circles I do not enter as they are too close to my own triggers. The gift we give people here is to hear them and not our tapes. Your gift may not be in standing toe to toe with someone who's path has parallelled yours. Your gift may be in the books your write. The articles you publish that guide people through their pain into healing. You don't have to handle it all."
Not do everything perfect? Hello. Of course I have to be able to handle it all. The entire world depends on me! I have to have all the answers. Without the answers I might be... And the tapes in my head reel in horror. Not know it all? Oh my. Let people see I don't have answers for them and me. Horrors of horrors.
Now, I'm smiling as I write this, but in the moment of standing in that circle, the fear of not knowing how to connect safely with this woman was terrifying to me. I was 'supposed' to be able to do it. I was supposed to be bigger than my own fears. I was supposed to know.
Fear is the opportunity to be courageous.
In letting Mary into the circle, I found the courage to face the truth. I do not have the answers for anyone. And sometimes, the most powerful thing I can do to help someone else is to acknowledge my fear by asking, "Is there anyone else better able to help?"
Sometimes, the gift isn't what I have. It's in what I don't have. That day I didn't have the distance to not connect in a way that made it safe for that woman to take the steps she needed to take. I had to step back and give her space and give someone else the room to step in and help.
This morning I didn't have an Internet connection. It wasn't the end of the world. Simply a blip in cyberspace. I worked around it, kept going, kept looking for different answers, asking different questions. Doing things differently until I got what I needed to be 'in here' writing.
I don't need to be perfect. I do need to be perfectly honest with myself. When I connect too deeply to someone else's pain and/or story and confusion, I lose sight of what is most important. The circle we were in was not about me finding answers to my fear. It wasn't about me finding a way to do it all. The circle was about that woman finding the answers she needs to give her a tool that will guide her forever in her quest to be the most remarkable, amazing, awesome woman she can be. In opening up the circle to someone else's questions, I opened up my mind to the power in my heart to step beyond my fears.
I don't need to do it all. I just need to be all that I am meant to be when I live fearlessly in love with all of me, warts and all. When I step with courage through my fear of not 'knowing it all' I breathe life into my dreams of creating a world where women and men are empowered to stop abuse in their lives because they know it's not what an abuser does to them -- It's what they do with their lives that makes the difference.
The question is: Where are you being blindsided by your belief you should know better? Where are you holding onto being perfect because you fear being perfectly human? Where are you dishonouring your beauty by letting someone else hold you back from connecting with your truth?