This week I learned something about the vulnerability of asking for help. My beloved husband has had some serious health challenges in the last two weeks or so, culminating in outpatient surgery yesterday. Roy is on the mend now, but he suffered excruciating pain that more or less confined him to bed for the last week. He had to rely on me to bring him things, to prepare meals, to help him move from bed to chair to bathroom. I understood the vulnerability of being sick, but somehow it hadn’t occurred to me to think in terms of the vulnerability inherent in asking for help. Seems so obvious now, but the notion was revealed to me yesterday when I had a conversation with a friend who has experienced both sides of the coin; the one providing the assistance and the one requiring it. When Roy & I talked about it last night, he mentioned that often what he considers is, “what if she says ‘no’?” And although the likelihood of my saying “no” is remote, the possibility still informs the asking. It’s worth mentioning that Roy always asks skillfully and with kindness.
Naturally, my mind turns to the notion of vulnerability on the dance floor. How do we ask, nonverbally, to join another in duet dancing? Admittedly, this is an entirely different level of vulnerability, but still worthy of contemplation. There are so many different ways to ask someone to dance. Do we slowly sidle up beside them, keenly aware of visual cues? Do we come straight at them, making fierce eye contact while providing our most dazzling smile? Do we gently bump into them, getting their full attention with direct contact (whispered aside: this could be viewed as risky behavior and not recommended unless the person is known to us). How do we approach? And then the question becomes, “how do we receive someone into our space on the dance floor?” How do we say, “yes?” Or, on the other hand, how do we skillfully communicate a “no” or a “not right now”?
My husband kindly tells me I strike the right balance between being available to help when he’s in need, but not hovering either. Phew. Surely, it’s not the thinking mind that leads me to this behavior pattern. Instead, it must be my years of dancing (and perhaps hospice work too), that leads me grasp the nonverbal cues.
Dance! Oh, this marvelous thing we do, friends. It serves us and serves the community in innumerable ways!
Joyfully I tell you we are blessed once again to have Cathy Ryan at the helm tomorrow.
Here’s the link: https://openfloor.discology.me/events
9:45 at Corte Madera Park
And here’s a little poetry for your contemplation:
Note: I was looking for a poem that would address vulnerability, but instead I found this old favorite and it seems perfect because, in this moment, with the fresh eyes that come after a particularly challenging time, the world seems new and possibilities abound.
You Reading This, Be Ready Starting here, what do you want to remember? How sunlight creeps along a shining floor? What scent of old wood hovers, what softened sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world than the breathing respect that you carry wherever you go right now? Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this new glimpse that you found; carry into evening all that you want from this day. This interval you spent reading or hearing this, keep it for life -
What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
~ William Stafford ~
Ahhh, yes, the gift of this present moment awareness.