My first time meditating after a couple weeks of traveling and I feel melty. The comfortable embrace of the duvet. The soothing tones of the guided meditation. I am not feeling wrapped up with some new idea or concept that I must talk to you about. Even though there are a million thoughts and ideas I want to share and savor by writing them out for you. Right now I am thinking of my own inner peace and my true desire to be of help to others.
Perhaps today’s message is not so much about helping others but about how we choose to engage. Our role is not to be the solution but to be a port in the storm. A temporary life preserver or raft that helps someone take a break so that they may find their own way. We all need a friendly port from time to time, somewhere to rest and recover. Someone who sees that we are in trouble and reaches out to help.
In order to reach others we need to come from our own place of calm. Peacefulness can stem from calm seas and also personal choice. We are responsible for our own actions, attitude, and mood. It is when we are in our own comfort or peacefulness that we are able to be attentive to what is happening outside ourselves. And perhaps that too is a way to give ourselves peace by asking after a friend, reaching out to someone we love.
I’d like to make a distinction here between reaching out from a sense of comfort to share our bounty. As opposed to reaching out as an attempt to control or out of a codependency habit. We are not enmeshing ourselves in someone else business or their problems. Not solving their problems for them but making ourselves available to listen. Offering only support, not guidance or direction.
Offer a helping hand but not at risk of falling into the abyss yourself. Brenee Brown talks about being a supportive friend or partner when someone is in a pit of despair (Princess Bride, anyone?). We do not help others if we crawl into the hole with them just to suffer by their side. It is not supportive to sacrifice ourselves so that someone else my climb out of the hole and escape. Our role is to be there with our friends as they figure out their own escape. We call down what we see from our position or reach out a helping hand when they are ready for it. Think of this like handing a racer water as they run past – you’re not in the race but your are facilitating its completion.
These metaphors can sometimes cloud the issue but they drive home the same point, we are not above, beyond, or better than our friends and neighbors that are suffering. We are simply in a different position. If you look around and find yourself in a place of abundance and from that position you’d like to help someone else, reach out. Let people know that you see them. To know that we are not alone has its own healing power.
Even while writing this I took a break to reach out to a friend. She is transitioning between businesses, closing down a brand she built and creating something new. I have no doubt in her abilities or her timing. But when we are in the thick of change it can be overwhelming, so I sent a supportive note to let her know I’m on her side. To tell someone we see their strength helps to fuel their progress. I know that she will weather this storm and come away stronger. And incase she forgot it herself, I offered her my peace with no agenda. Helping others feels good.
These tiny actions help others to feel seen, us to feel generous, and anyone who witnesses our kindness benefits feels good too. This reciprocity is what keeps our relationship thriving. And bonus, long after this interaction when we find ourselves in a sea of change, we will know that other’s did it, and we can too.
How do share your peace with others? How do you reach out without getting pulled down?
And if you’re looking for more calm in your life – here are some tips to help get you there.