Last summer I taught a “Healing Trauma to Reverse Autoimmune Disease” course for the Shift Network. Before they launched the course one of their correspondents, Phil Bolsa, contacted me for an article. He asked me to answer the question, “What’s the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?” This was his write-up to my response.
As you read it, I pose the same question to you. What’s the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you? Did it trigger a life lesson for you like it did for me? How did you feel in your body as you received this beautiful offering of love? Where does that memory live now in your system? These kindnesses extended by others are called “resource spaces.” They can be energy channels that you can switch to, much like changing a radio station when there’s a song you don’t want to listen to and finding one that brings you joy.
One year I went through what I called Blacktober. It was a time period when my washing machine broke, my dryer caught on fire (twice), and my car broke down on the side of the road with smoke pouring out from under the hood. As my blender and VCR stopped working, it seemed like every electrical appliance in my house was breaking down. How was I handling this catastrophic crash of a flooded laundry room, multiple house fires, the loss of transportation?
I was stoically shouldering it all and not really telling anybody, just dealing with it. My husband was away out of town for a year in Australia. I had four kids at home and just kept putting one foot in front of the other with a frozen smile plastered to my face. As the month wore on and my laundry began to smell as I was awaiting a repairman for the washing machine, and a water damage expert and plumber for the flooding, I could feel my bandwidth and resilience shrinking.
My running partner and I had been running every morning together for years and we were now best friends. I must have given some indication on the telephone at some point in this mess that my washing machine had died. The next morning, she showed up with all these garbage bags and brushed past me into my demolition-zone house, heading straight for the swampy laundry room. I said, “Oh, you shouldn’t come into my house. This is not a good time. It’s really gross back there. I’m waiting for the repair people to come.”
Now being the dear friend and lovely soul she is, she just ignored me and walked on into my laundry room where all of the wet laundry from the washing machine and dryer were busy mildewing. It was such a mess. She began stuffing all the wet, stinky, clothes into the garbage bags without a word. Then, with my help now, hauled all the heavy garbage sacks out to her car. And the whole time I’m protesting, “Jan, Jan, you don’t need to be doing this! They’re coming in a couple of days.”
She laundered all of our clothes, and brought them back neatly l folded, and said to me, “Every single time that you don’t ask for help, it deprives somebody of being able to make a difference in your life.”
WOW! It was the most remarkable lesson for me. Her words went in and created new tissue in my heart – opening it up. The idea that I had to do everything by myself (and not be a burden to others) came from past childhood trauma and the internal beliefs I had put into place as a consequence. It was this event that cracked that hard pattern open like an egg. It was so beautiful. From that point on, I have been able to ask for help with conscious intention, overriding the part of my ego that still fights to do it all on my own, without any help.
That’s one of a long list of nice things the people around me have done for me in my life. That same month members of my church community rallied around and helped me get a new washer and dryer installed into my laundry room, fixed my car, and so much more. Most Octobers are ones of great challenge and subsequently, great growth. I call them Blacktober, but should probably change that name to Growthtober. I’ve got a whole new set of stories and pearls of wisdom as this last October has come to a close.
As some of you look toward the American tradition of giving thanks…What are you thankful for? Who can you thank for the kindnesses that shifted your perspective? The gratitude that comes from these memories can replace the resentment that courses through you from traumatic memories, if you let it flow.