Getting help can be one of the most important efforts we make in our journey towards health and wellness. I have been in North Carolina with a daughter who will be having her third child in a few weeks. She has a four year old and an 11 month old, and her husband is deploying. I often looked at her and said, “How are you going to do this?” and was pleased to hear her say, “While he is deployed he is making pretty good money, and I have no problem spending some of that to get someone to mow the lawn or help with the housework or help with the children for a few weeks.” It has caused me a lot of reflection on the unnecessary suffering we often put ourselves through instead of getting some help. I was super guilty of this.
Another experience I had a few months ago also comes to mind. I was in New York training with Yamuna and was having a Body Logic session from her. There is a place deep in the middle of my body that I have felt was “broken” for a very long time. As she went deep to find it, she said, “That’s definitely psoas.” I asked, “So how do I get to it?” She said, “You probably can’t.” I recognized in her response that as much as I love the self-empowerment that ball rolling has given me, there may be areas that I cannot get to by myself, and I need to get help.
I had a wonderful student of mine come to me a few weeks ago. She had decided to give her newfound freedom of movement that the ball rolling had given her a challenge and train for a marathon. She had asked me to help her. After working with her she said, “You know, as much as I love the ball work, I needed this extra help.” And that is the truth I am wanting to share today. Self-sufficiency is great and very empowering and important, but sometimes we need some extra help.
One of the foundation principles of the 12 step program for addiction recovery is that we cannot recover by ourselves, that isolation actually contributes to and is part of the problem.
Reaching out to get support and strength from others is key to our growth and healing. Sometimes we need professional help, and that is okay, too. I am grateful that getting therapy or counseling no longer has the social stigma it had when I was young. Getting help is actually a great show of courage and often the gateway to healing.
Here are a few ideas to consider as we get help.
- Who we get help from is critical. I would guess that most of us have had the experience of hiring someone to help us and having the help cause more problems than we originally had. One of the great blessings of our technological age is that there is so much information available. Reviews are very important and can be extremely helpful. There are also referral agencies and companies that make their living from doing the screening and shopping you may not have time to do. And, of course, there is probably no substitute for a referral from someone else who you trust. Doing our research is very important.
- Shop around. In the early 80’s I only owned a couple of record albums. One of the songs on these albums was Captain and Tennille’s “You Gotta Shop Around.” Great advice 35 years later. That is exactly what we need to do, whether it is a doctor or a massage therapist, an AA meeting, an electrician, or a plumber. Sometimes the first connection is all we need, but if we are not comfortable for any reason, we should keep shopping until we find a “fit.”
- Do not reject help just because it does not fit your preconceived ideas. Often our expectations can be our worst enemies. If we expect understanding when we go for therapy but instead get some difficult tasks to complete, we may turn away from the very help we need. This can also be true if we reject innovative options which we may not be familiar with.
- Try it. I often tell people who ask me about various holistic therapy options to try it out and see what they think and how their body responds. Everybody is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another person. I have seen this time and time again. Acupuncture is a good example of this. I have had some people say it worked remarkably well while others say they did not notice a difference at all. Because it may not have worked on your friend does not mean it will not work for you. If you are in this experimental stage, I would also suggest that you try one option at a time so you can “test” your results more clearly. After testing to decide which ones work best for you, then certainly combine them to find a mix that helps you the most.
- Be an advocate and teacher for others. If you find things that work for you, be sure to tell other people about it. Perhaps you can help them in their search for the help they need as well.
We are all in this together, and we need each other’s support and help. What are some resources you may have used to find help when you needed it? Were you ever surprised when help came in a package you did not expect? What help has been most beneficial for you?