Have you ever watched someone you care about suffer endlessly? And there’s not a damn thing you can do to help? This has happened to me twice in this lifetime so far. The first was when my mother was dying of cancer. We all have the power to reverse dis-ease in the body. But we also have free will and choices too. And spiritual contracts that we need to fulfill. Even with that understanding, it can still be very hard to witness.
The second time this happened is now-ish. I say ish because it’s happened before, but not quite to this extent. Someone I love has literally been kicked in the gut—repeatedly, and she keeps getting up. But she’s getting tired. Actually, exhausted is a more appropriate word. And she’s losing her will to fight. And I desperately want to help her. But we all have to save ourselves. And this is hard work. Especially when you’re smack dab in the middle of it and it’s happening to you so you don’t have an outside perspective. You just feel like you’re caught in an ever-flushing toilet bowl that you can’t ever escape from. And you just keep taking in water.
I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out how I can support her during this extremely difficult time. The only option I feel like I have is to hold space for her. And even though I know that doing that is an incredible way of offering support, it doesn’t ease the feeling of helplessness. I don’t feel like we were put here on Mother Earth to watch each other suffer. We’re here to help one another, love another, and all that other kumbaya shit (to quote Frank Ocean’s “Nights”).
But there’s a difference between helping and supporting someone and interference. It’s a thin line, but one we all cross and have crossed many times. Interference is when you try to take control over someone’s life, telling them what to do, how to do it and not being satisfied until they do it your way. Help and support looks like actively listening, intently listening, being present when that person needs you to hear them, see them, love them, just be there for them.
I don’t mind playing the support role. In fact I love it. But it can be hard and painful. And I am learning not to interfere but be there for her in ways that even surprise me sometimes. What’s interesting too is that when we go through these periods of helplessness and of struggle, they are actually wonderful teachers. Because when we finally get to the other side, we have perspective and that other side feels sooo much more sweet because we now what the sour tastes like.
So I will continue to hold space for her until her struggle turns into ease and my helplessness turns into empowerment.