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Life in the Trenches: On Asking for Help

Posted Dec 13 2012 2:00am

Well, I’m learning another Life Lesson. Sigh. I guess these darn lessons never do end! And, you’ve guessed it – I’m learning it through my body. My lesson du jour is all about asking for help. Really asking.

Apparently, I normally try to whiz through life being uber-competent, ahead of the game, and on top of everything. I work fast. I’m efficient. I’ve got things under control. These are the things I used to think.

And then, I had a baby.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

You would think that would be enough to teach me that I cannot do life perfectly, alone, uber-competently. And it might have. However, I guess the universe decided that I needed to REALLY learn this lesson, and fast.

To be honest, the Universe was probably right. I really did have fairytale visions of parenting in my head. I’d be pretty perfect at it, in my fantasy. I’d listen to my body, use the mind-body tools, listen to my baby, and all would be rainbows and sparkly fairy-dust. Joy would emanate from my home in large, effervescent bubbles.

I didn’t realize I had this vision in my head until a few weeks ago. Shortly after Aela was born, a lot of stuff started happening. I kept feeling extreme frustration – my body felt awful, I was having trouble with the baby blues, I had NO IDEA what my body was telling me, much less my baby… it felt like a giant mess. I had fully entered The Mess . Pollyanna had left the building.

Then, I realized I had made a huge error. I had planned to be perfect, take on all the responsibilities of motherhood and entrepreneurship and wifehood and be incredible at them, and to use my mind-body tools to make all this happen. In other words, that sneaky old Control Freak had snuck back in under the radar. Yep. I was using the tools to try to control. Everything.

It is indeed possible that the Universe thought I needed a serving of humble pie.

Because really – when you look at that goal, it is ridiculous. I can’t be perfect at motherhood. Or entrepreneurship. Or healing. Or wifehood. And to think I can just do or take care of everything and get it all done all the time is just plain silly.

So, instead, I had to start learning about asking for help. Asking my husband. Asking friends. Asking family. Let myself be incredibly imperfect and vulnerable. Let myself fall apart and be completely re-born. Let myself reach out and show my naked underbelly, and beg someone to rub it kindly and murmur reassuring words.

I had to actually learn much deeper levels of self-compassion and kindness. I’m still learning them, right now. I’m still in the process of learning to ask for help. I’m still learning that I will not do it perfectly – whatever it is – EVER. I’m still learning that there are always life lessons and that when I’m not truly tuning into my soul wisdom, my body will help me. It will remind me to stop pressuring myself by speaking up – sometimes loudly.

So, here I am. I injured my tailbone during childbirth, and it is a very slow healing process. I can’t drive. I can’t sit. On top of that, I needed a small surgery for another childbirth injury and I’m still slowly recovering from that. My pelvic muscles are all tight because I keep pressuring myself to heal faster, be a better mom, be a better wife, etc. You name it; I’m pressuring myself to do it.

My body is teaching me. It’s saying, “relax.” I think it’s funny (sort of) that instead of the rainbows and fairy dust motherhood picture, I’m hobbling around, weeping regularly, lucky to get my baby in matching clothes, and hoping to bathe her sometime soon. I’m seven thousand years behind on thank you notes. I have barely cooked anything at all. I have no idea what I’m doing. I constantly ask for help now, and still have to work on releasing guilt each time I do so. There is not a rainbow in sight.

I cannot control my life with the mind-body tools. I cannot make my body hurry up and heal from injuries. In fact, trying to do so has made them last longer, I’m sure. I can’t make myself perfect. In the process, I seem to have forgotten the whole point of mind-body healing and the tools in general: to return ourselves to ourselves. To hear body, emotion, and soul wisdom. To trust ourselves. To listen. To learn. To surrender. To love ourselves.

I’m working on remembering all this – imperfectly.

To be honest, I was afraid to write this post. I was afraid that if I admitted my truly incredible imperfectness, it would be awful. The world would end. People would be horrified at my incompetence.

And then, I heard my soul wisdom. It said: you must write this post. There are so many people who struggle with the same things, and by being vulnerable and honest, you show them, along with yourself, what true self-kindness and love really is. You show them that it’s ok, too. That we’re all in this together.

I’ve long known that I learn as much from my clients as they do from me, because when we meet up for a session, the Universe delivers wisdom for both of us. I’m only using tools to guide a person back to their own soul wisdom, and it always guides me back to mine. Now I guess I’m expanding that to writing and teaching on a much bigger level. I’m getting more honest with me, which means I’m more honest with you. Which means we all get to hear more soul wisdom.

It’s ok to need others. Truly, we never do anything alone. Ever. We create together, always.

It’s ok to reach out and ask for help. When you don’t, it only gets worse.

It’s ok to be imperfect. That’s how life works. Trying to be perfect creates tension and stress and pain. It’s not alignment.

It’s ok to go through major life upheaval. It’s part of the process. We all have to do it.

It’s ok to heal at my own pace, whatever that is, no matter how many times my mind asks my body to hurry up so that I can go on being uber-competent and perfect, dammit!

It’s ok to be just as I am, right now. Slightly crazy, Mind-Whispering only moderately successfully, emotional on a daily basis, and physically worn down.

It’s ok to get coached, a lot, from amazing coaches. Coaching myself alone during a time like this is sort of like a surgeon trying to perform surgery on herself. It’s kind of a mess. (And this is why I train mind-body coaches ! We can’t have enough of them around!)

So, off I go to be more imperfect than I ever imagined, humbled, and hopefully the tiniest bit wiser now as I relearn everything I thought I knew. On a much, much deeper level. I’m pretty sure motherhood alone would teach a person this, but you can’t miss it when your body is not functioning normally. Oh, how I long to sit on a sofa! Ah, someday. When my body is ready.

And now, I’m going to Ask for Help. I’m asking you, my amazing and incredible readers, because together we can connect to our soul wisdom with amazing strength. It’s not just me, writing to you. I get so much out of you writing to me. I love your comments on the blog and always have. I love getting emails from you. I love answering your questions and sharing tools and tips. I know I do that when I invite you into my honest journey here in the trenches. I know I do that when I open the doors and step out vulnerable and real, to talk to you.

The help I’d love right now is just to hear from you in any form, comments, Facebook posts , or emails . I’m feeling tired. I’m feeling bummed out. I’d love encouraging words from mothers. I’d love encouraging words from anyone, about anything. I just want connection with other lovely human beings right now, because the love we all create when we connect is truly healing. So – my love to you all, right now! And thank you for letting me be in your inbox, in your world, and for having been kind enough to me already that I feel safe and loved as I share so honestly with you.

Much Love!

Abigail

This post is part of the “ Life in the Trenches ” series.

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