A year ago I was faced with an impossible situation. The house where I’d been living got partially flooded by a neighboring building’s burst and thawed pipes, which leaked nasty smelling and allergy-inducing water into our walls. Two different elders told me: This might take a while. You’d better put your stuff in storage, and maybe move out. But as I was also heavily concussed at the time, I couldn’t imagine doing much of anything, let alone packing and moving.
At first I didn’t know what to do– I had already received so much help since my concussion, and didn’t want to ask for more. But sometimes a crisis can really stretch you beyond your self-conceptions, and I brought myself to reach out again, in detail, through emails sent on my behalf to a large group of friends and community.
What followed felt nothing short of miraculous. People showed up bearing gentle hugs, soft songs, open ears and hands to carry out what had seemed like an impossible task to me… After five surprisingly easy days, my things were washed, packed, and stored, and I had a place to land with friends and focus on my healing. Between long naps and extremely slow walks from my healing nest, I remember drawing a circle, like a navigating wheel or seed of intention, with these words around the edge:
Ask Receive Absorb
In the midst of a personal crisis, I learned that truly absorbing the support of our collective body is just as important as drawing support from within ourselves.
When guiding clients to listen to their inner wisdom, I’ll often invite them to ask their body what it is they need in a given moment or situation, and just to notice and honor however their body responds. When a response emerges— an image, thought, impulse, or sensation— I ask them to take a moment and just absorb the benefits of whatever has come up to support them. As they follow this guidance and appreciate what it brings them, they may notice something soften inside them, and a surprising new insight come to mind about how to address their needs.
This month my synagogue community began hosting and sponsoring a Salvadoran refugee family while they find footing in Philadelphia. I think of all the support we have received and absorbed that enables us to lend a hand to this family. I’m struck by the cyclical nature of giving and receiving, and feel a sense of renewed commitment to sourcing support from within and from others and supporting others to do so as well.
Here’s to you asking for, receiving, and deeply absorbing all that you need this month and beyond.