The theme of the day is help.
Today was a mostly dry day in what seems like ages of rain stretching out through “both” directions of time here in San Diego. Dry, but grey.
And cold I think. With this paralysis came a radically diminished capacity to sense temperature. Instead of just the touch of cool or warm on the skin to indicate the ambient atmosphere, I tend to find my body delayed in that awareness, only swinging wildly into stiffness and spasticity when cold, or dropping into delirium when overheated.
In response to this, I have tended to keep temperatures quite cozy indoors to eliminate the variable of suffering a chill and having to spend the energy and time in reparations. Budget Zero has me dressing warmer and turning down the central heat. It’s hard to tell if this is working as my body still tightens causing me to turn on the local space heater for an acute fix.
Anyway, it looks cold outside. Of course this is San Diego so 61° counts in my book as quite wintry.
“I’ve probably needed to help all along.” He said, in a non sequitur way…
I appreciate this reflective writing space as both a way to recapitulate the day, unpack thoughts and emotions, and share something that might nurture a sense of loving connection, or even become appreciated (to create more generosity) by a reader. As such, my eyes will often drift from the page as the words form, glancing over the calendar, out the window, or even through text messages or email, just noticing where I’ve been since the last entry.
Much of the theme today in both my mind, and also the moments, has been that of help.
I was just on a call with an alumni group from the GTC program and Simon reminded us here in the throes of our global pandemic, a flickering light on the backdrop of climate change to remember our connections, our unity, the help we are to one another.
I woke this morning, well rested, but unsettled nonetheless. Of course I live in the context of a very overt and constant help – Caitlin would be arriving in just a few short hours to help me rise into the day, get breakfast, and various other services… I am also aware in these moments of the help that I will need in those mere moments to come.
I will need help with finance, or I will need help with travel, or I will need help with housing, or I will need help with wisdom, or I will need help with intelligence, or I will need help with knowledge, or I will need help with my spirit, or I will need help with my offering… Or I will need many of these, or all of them, or none… I will need help from those I know, I will need help from strangers, I will need help from the system, I will need help from myself. Or I will need many of these, or all of them, or none.
For those of you following, unresolved remains nearly all of the existential questions on my plate – where will I live, who will care for me, how will I cover those costs, how do I move from here to there, what will I take with me, what will I leave behind… What is the balance between moving in a direction, and staying open to possibilities that is wise and right in this moment?
I’ve probably needed help all along, I realized a moment ago, taking in an email from my dear friend Andy.
“How can I be of help?” He asked.
I enjoyed the privilege this week of being able to really help at least six people to meet their moment, recognize a tension, and move into it with a sense of empowerment.
Today, Daniel, Lisa, Katie, my mother, Andy, aunt Ann and uncle Robert, and aunt Jody all stepped forward either asking if they could help, or offering some direct service. Seems the theme of help is on the air…
So many vulnerable to this pandemic and all of its systemic ripples, be they social isolation, economic hardship, emotional distress, and confusion… As Simon suggested, now more than ever we are compelled to learn better how to help, and perhaps to be helped.
For most of the 17 years since my injury, I have taken the approach of a kind of radical self-sufficiency, perhaps as a reaction to the acute need for care. Wherever I could anticipate a need in myself or those close to me I would always strive to address it directly and quickly, prioritizing the efficiency of elimination, perhaps over the efficiency of learning…
As a result of my injury and your great care dear Charles, I received a settlement, the source of those monies I have lived on for those years. I knew on the date that it was received and in the way that it was structured that it was not an indefinite amount, and trusted that I would find a way between there and here to grow beyond that resource into a larger creative capacity.
I think something I might’ve realized then, had I the wisdom of now, I probably needed more help all along…
This question of help, this theme is on my mind today like a drumbeat. I know that I will need some support in an acute sense, I realize now, I will probably do well to learn more about help, care, support, and connection going forward, perhaps not only for myself, but maybe for us all…
Today I’ve been working to put together a better network – working to enable comments and dialogue in response to these journal posts – working to enable subscription and more robust connections to possible readers in this space – and finally, working to put together a crowdfunding campaign to secure resources for care.
All of that has me asking questions about help. Do I deserve it? Why? What help is appropriate? And from whom? Who seeks the help and on whose behalf? Who offers? And for what purpose? Where am I in each of these places, what is wise, what is kind, what is empowering, and what is of value?
I hope that these explorations will prove fruitful, and that I might have something to offer well enough that it touches someone somewhere well enough to have been worth the effort.
I started the day, once risen, working on my current painting project. While I do imagine one day hosting a show of my work, this past time today has very little perceived value in terms of meeting the pressures from which my “I” sense suffers.
Again, on the other end, I set aside the urgent projects to participate in monthly GTC call I mentioned above. And from there, into this hour and more of composition.
I can’t say that these activities directly nurture my soul in some way meaningful to the life conditions at hand. They certainly don’t move forward anything linear that lessens the pressure of time and finance and a schedule of care.
What is wise, and what is skillful, are often questions I find well answered in retrospect, but always only a gamble going forward. Speaking of both directions of time, the rain can dampen our spirits, or it can bring May flowers, perhaps none of these, perhaps all.
In the alumni cultivate, Tom mentioned that place in our early infancy, just after birth, when everything is okay – our mind has not made the complexity of trouble – and we can rest in trust. Now with so much frightful going on in the world, isn’t it important, he suggested, to remember that place, to allow our nervous system to relax and simply meet the moment as it is, without fear or agitation?
I wondered… In that place in our early infancy, is it really trust, it’s really okay, or are we just still so nascent to our cosmic existence, that we haven’t disturbed the neutrality of coming and going constructs of trust and fear, okay, and not?
At the end of the day, it’s less about ideas, and whether or not what we are doing helps. Helps what is up to us, we will help and care for that which we value.
As the pace of the world quickens, and everything seems to become unstable, what do you value? How might you more simply place your care in action, where have you not allowed yourself to be helped, and how might that shift?
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…