I remember lying in bed the evening i heard our Eco-lodge went up in flames. I remember that instant feeling i had: we need help. We cannot do this alone. I remember my head tolling and spinning, thinking about how i could reach out for people, for our friends and family. It felt like such a natural and instinctive thing to do in times of crisis that it did not even occur to me that for some people, it is not.
Big was my surprise, when I shared with my partner my intention to write a letter asking for help, to get anger and resistance in response. He did not need help, he would manage on his own!
It made me realize that there was a veil of pride hanging over the simple act of asking for help. What would people think of us, poor beggars…
It was confirmed when i went ahead with a letter, and posts on Facebook, and even a crowdfunding action. My partner told me of the judgement he felt, the contempt poring over this holding up of our hand (or was it his insecurity?)…
It made me conscious of the taboo that was resting on the theme of help in our culture. For endless hours i tried to figure what i could do to break this taboo.
I understand cultural values are not changed overnight and by means of one mere individual. And yet i feel the urge to share what happened inside me. Let us break taboo’s to open new ways! And maybe, just maybe, next time will be easier for someone to ask for help when in need.
It started with the recognition that we somehow had ended up in a situation of crisis, where in our case, all our investments and the base of our income had been erased by something bigger than us (but it can literally be anything, any kind of personal crisis) AND that i felt and recognized our vulnerability.
This was followed by the trust that asking for help (or anything, for that matter) is an open-ended question where everyone is free to do as he or she wishes. The trust that no one would do something against his or her will (and if so, would be responsible for that himself). So those who would feel inclined to or would be able to give help, would do so, and those who would not, would not. As simple as that. Free of any judgement from our side.
And then the support started to arrive. Heart-felt messages, offers of manual help, financial gifts, hugs of compassion…it did not matter what it was, every little bit went straight into my heart and was received with an infinite gratitude never experienced before. Exactly that is what made the initial loss bearable: the presence of so many people, from so many places in the world and in my life, who took the time to react, to do something. Who felt with us and who expressed their solidarity in one way or another. It felt like one huge ocean of soft containment, a drop carried by all the many drops surrounding it, floating in the sea of love.
Gratitude is a noble feeling. It gives wings and it makes you humble. I felt so humble receiving all that help, and at the same time, it felt empowering. Because i knew: today is my time to receive. But there will be a day that someone else will receive, and i will give. And it is exactly that: the balance of giving and receiving, the beautiful circle that is made of both, that needs both, to keep it round and soft.
I believe in that world. A world where we help each other when need arises. A world of love and support where there is no fear of reaching out for help, and where someone will be there to hold that hand for just that time needed until you he can let go again.