Be Ground
Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
— Rumi

Like many people, I value information, most of which I garner digitally. I spend vast amounts of time on my phone and laptop, reading and writing and making intellectual and emotional connections. In fact, I am communicating within and for a two-dimensional world right now.  

But a penchant for the virtual doesn’t mean I don’t value three-dimensional needs.

Touch is a three-dimensional need.

We’re often ashamed of our interdependency. But the biological truth of being human is that dependency is a fact. We were born dependent, and every one of us spent the formative years of our lives dependent on the care of others, whether that care was adequate or inadequate.

We need each other.

To admit need isn’t the same thing as being needy. There is a clear difference between asking for help to meet a genuine need, versus consistently outsourcing one’s needs to others.

Interdependency is how we have survived as a species, and it is how we thrive as individuals.

I want to be cared for, so I am responsive to others’ need for care. This can be a worthwhile exchange. But I am starting to recognize that it’s not healthy to generically take it upon myself to heal other people’s pasts, or to try to take away their pain and discomfort.

I can’t even heal my own past.

I am uncomfortable with the vulnerability of this truth. I don’t want to believe I need anything from anyone. I push back against trust, and I would rather be the rescuer than the rescued.

But rescuing others is often arrogant, selfish and unnecessary.

We do not earn love by denying our own needs and trying to meet someone else’s. Meeting their needs will not meet ours.

I am willing to sit with the pain and discomfort in my own life. I accept this as part of being human. I need to trust others are willing and able to do the same.

Last spring, I recognized a need. I reached out with courage to ask for help. But I backed away before the help was given. I retreated rather than risk being disappointed.

I regret this.

I regret that I didn’t surrender to the vulnerability of my desire or my need.

But failing is part of the process. As Alain de Botton says, “Love makes us feel safe enough to be horrible. Love lends us the safety to reveal our more disturbed emotions and show our partners who we really are.”

Unless I measure my worth by how someone else responds to me, vulnerability is a manifestation of strength and power.

My vulnerability came from the strongest part of me.

I want to be loved for all the soft places in me. I acknowledge this, name it, surrender to the desire.

I am practicing vulnerability, while trying not to attach myself to an outcome.

I recognize I am loved (by whatever energetic forces exist within and around me) in all the soft, squishy places, claimed and unclaimed.

I am loved.

Michelle Dowd