We seem to be the nation of the independent personality disorder. We want to do things Our Way. Asking for help is a sign of weakness, rather one of a collaborative spirit. But sometimes a quick call for help is all we need.
I have the good fortune of having a 24/7 confidential voice mailbox. This is one of the greatest gifts I have given to the people in my life. They do what we call “book-ending” — calling before they do something daunting and calling again after completing it.
Life is filled with daunting tasks. Change is hard. Life often hurts. We live this life of “quiet desperation” while trying desperately to look right. Counting Crows had a lyric: “She has trouble acting normal.”
Many people I know guess at what normal is.
Sometimes the road to equanimity means admitting how very Not Normal we are in order to change. Book-ending can be a part of that. When we are in isolation, we often get paralyzed and are unable to act. Choosing Just One Action that would tell us that we are moving (don’t worry about whether it is backward or forward motion, that only creates more fear and perfectionism and paralysis) is the first step. Then, calling another person and telling them what we are going to do activates something within us: I would call it our Jizo Nature in that it grounds us and holds us safely. This center, whatever you care to call it (higher power, god, God, center of the soul, center of the mind, Self) blooms when we reach out to another. That life force energy is then freed up to MOVE us, wherever Tao, the path, may lead.
When people call my 24-hour line, they often sound very young. I think this is because it makes us feel little to ask for help. We regress to an earlier time. But this is necessary for growth. That stunted inner child-self needs to have room to say “I am going to do this thing, whatever the outcome!” and not have anyone say “Oh, that will never work” or “Why on earth would you want to do that?” or worse, “You don’t want to do that.” (My father’s voice. Yours?)
As people become familiar with book-ending, their formerly wobbly Self becomes stronger, more Centered.