Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Who's Helping Who?

Many years ago, I embarked on what can only be called “An Amazing Adventure.” Through a series of synchronistic events, I found myself in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a few hours outside of San Francisco, participating in a week-long personal growth workshop.

One day of the program was set aside for an outdoor adventure and the plan was to take a picnic lunch and go to a beautiful setting in the mountains and just enjoy.

So, a bunch of us piled into my rented car and off we went. We arrived at this national forest (or some such place) and we all got out of the car. At that point, I was told that the site where we were to have our picnic was down this small mountain ... across a creek and over some slippery rocks ...

My first reaction was “You have got to be kidding!! There's no way I can do that." Marsha, the workshop leader, calmed me down a bit by saying that she would help me. She would take hold of me and I would lead the way. She told me to take tiny, baby steps ... one at a time ... and that way we would make it, together.

So, I did exactly as she said and held on tightly and took teeny, tiny steps, carefully placing my feet into little cracks and crevices and somehow miraculously we made it to the bottom. Then some of the other group members got on either side of me and helped me across the wet rocks and I made it to the other side.

After our picnic and a beautiful time spent sharing with each other in a magnificent setting, we reversed the whole process and I made it back up the mountain. I don’t remember at what point Marsha and I shared about the experience ... And she told me that she was almost legally blind ... and I just about flipped!!

There I was ... with a pretty severe physical disability and certainly unable to have ever done this thing on my own, being “helped” to succeed by a woman who could barely see and who might very well have been unable to accomplish the task on her own, either.

Moral of the story ... I have spent so much of my life feeling embarrassed and helpless when I have to ask for “help” ... and here was a classic example of allowing myself to ask for and receive “help” and I ended up helping the very person I was receiving help from! So Who Ended Up Helping Who

The idea of giving and receiving being the same action can be a hard one to grasp ... but in this instance, it seems evident that on some level, anything that happens between two people is actually an even exchange. In giving, we are also receiving and when receiving, we are also giving.

© Susan Schanerman 2013

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