Although I was thinking of writing about Rest and connecting with my own experience of Rest as a need, this week Support has shown up in so many ways that there is a synchronicity I'd like to honour. Support in the form of friends, family, and total strangers, especially on days when I really needed that support.
The absence of support - or the perceived absense, or Support-when-it-is-an-unmet-need - brings up a sense of something like infinite isolation. Perhaps there is an underlying current about being disconnected from the world, and other needs like love and care and belonging that are not met. Ever have those days when it feels as though everything is falling apart completely and nobody around you seems to notice that you are coming apart at the seams? I know I've had plenty.
Usually, at some point of time during a day like that, I make some decisions about my life, like:
These are very sneaky ways in which unmet needs show up - needs that very deeply rooted and need a lot of nourishment. Usually, for me, Support is one such need, and because I've spent a lot of time trying to make sure I can survive in a world that can be overwhelming, my need for Support is quite neglected as well. Sometimes it arrives like this, in thoughts that try to bring me all the way down to where it is buried. And at other times, when I am not ready to travel down to the unmet need (in any which way), then the unmet need arrives in a blaze of glory and makes itself known. Loudly.
So why has this week been different?
I am honestly not sure. I think I may have my unmet need for Rest to thank for it because all of my attention has really been on wanting about 4 more hours of sleep everyday! Perhaps in focusing on the absence of one key thing - and indeed the absence of it altogether - has helped me not put energy into creating this spiral of how "everything is awful". For whatever reason, I've had the privilege of experiencing a lot of support and love and kindness this week!
Support feels like the qualitative opposite of isolation, which is bringing me to the idea it is about inter-connection and inter-dependence, and in a very real sense, about being loved and cared for by people, situations, and things - or the universe. For me, the longing for Support felt very guttural, almost recalling childish longings for my parents, though not always as intense.
When someone turned up without being asked, there was a sense of unconditionality to their presence, that I so valued. Unconditional in that there was no binding agreement pushing me towards a specific kind of response. And when someone turned up because they were asked - several people this week! - it was still beautifully unconditional, still a kind of holding, a kind of warm loving, that inspires trust in that things are working out in the best possible way. Which perhaps points to another aspect of the need for Support, in that maybe for this need more than others for me, there was also a sort of spaciousness and openness that needed to be created beforehand. Not something huge, but along the lines of a small opening to possibility. Perhaps even in simply acknowledging to myself that I needed help, there was some openness in me to receiving said help.
In some cases, it also requires me let go of my ideas of what Support looks like. Sometimes support is not my friend meeting me at the time I want her to, but a stranger buying me coffee, or another friend warmly inviting me to her home (sublimewe calls this "an unasked offering"), or a cabbie who tells me a story about his family. Rather than being attached to an outcome - like "this conversation is meaningful only if my question is directly answered" - when I am open to hearing other things, sometimes my questions are answered in altogether different ways.
All these ways of Support turning up are ways that are so enriching, and maybe if I had had more energy this week to be attached to my preferred outcome, I would have missed out on what could arrive in the real, authentic sense, in longing for what could not be! This also points me to the learning that attachments to outcomes like these take a lot of effort!
And how it feels in my body is kind of like what a big, warm, cuddly bear hug feels like - my senses are soothed, my bristling back calmed, my panicky bits held, and a sense of deep, hopeful belonging.
Can you think of what Support feels like for you? Has Support ever turned up for you in an unexpected way? Or do you have troubles asking for help, and what holds you back?
The Weekly Needs Study is a study of Needs as I understand them, in the context of Nonviolent Communication, or Compassionate Communication. For this study, I intend to stick to CNVC's list of Universal Human Needs. The idea is to do one need at a time, every week, in a personal, investigative (rather than informative), and open manner, to create a space for learning, reflection and conversation!
Please note that this is based on my understanding of NVC or Compassionate Communication, and there are probably a gazillion other ways to understand Needs, and indeed, NVC itself. Please feel free to check out CNVC for more information.