WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
ANOTHER WAY TO UN-SEEING
Another way to expand your own repertoire of thought patternings is to talk it over with a friend. Be curious. Empathize. Check out another person’s beliefs and viewpoints to see what’s under there.
Perhaps there will be new information and perspectives that make more sense to you than the thinks you usually think.
If nothing else, you will at least get a good conversation going with someone and, perhaps, make some sort of connection between you.
One important skill is learning how to sit in silence and learning how to be with someone who is hurting. Even though it feels awful when you’re going through it, stepping into another person’s hard and just being a witness can be the greatest gift you can offer in situations when there’s nothing that your Inner Fixer can do.
This Moth.org video is a story recorded at a Moth Community Showcase on September 20, 2016 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City. The theme for the night was Global Stories of Women and Girls.
Sisonke Msimang is a writer and activist who has been published in the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, and a range of other international publications. She is the Program Director at the Centre for Stories in Perth, Australia.
The thing about this way of being a friend is that it does take time, often a lot of time. In order to walk in someone else’s world, you need to be available to do it.
Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom): a tendency to go beyond the superficial social niceties to true connection. [Since there are few people who are willing to invest the enormous amount of effort, time and energy that’s needed to develop real intimacy, this tends to limit your inner circle to a few brave souls. This is fine. It is probably all you can handle anyhow. Finding even one such friend is a treasure many people apparently never find.]
This poem is one I sent to a woman I greatly admired. When we first met she was going through a confusing time, one of those periods of growth that takes you over in the aftermath of a traumatic experience. It was causing her extreme distress and anguish.
The woman felt her world was falling apart and she was calling for help in every way she knew how. The way she moved pushed away the help she wanted, and I was moved by her plight.
I sent her this poem and she was grateful that somebody had heard her cries for help. We became fast friends over time, hugging each other warm through a very bad time for her. All I offered her were my ears and my smiles and my hugs. I sat with her and let her find her own footing. And she added so much joy and learning to my life I still smile when I see her face in my memory.
We were friends for only a few years before her unexpected death. She had already lived a long and varied life and I like to think that together we explored and tinkered and made some very good things.
I cannot do it.
I just can’t.
How can I share my sadness for you
When your fierce self-sorrow
Drowns out my timid compassion
In a woe-is-me mantra bigger than the sky?
I am sorry.
Yes, I am.
But I’m not strong enough
To lose myself again, sinking ‘neath
The painful tide of tears
Flowing from your sad eyes.
Joy, I wish you.
I wish you peace.
May you be free from all of this suffering.
But, what are my wishes – paltry things –
(Or the wishes of all your friends)
Against the tsunami of your pain?
I have been there.
Yes, I’ve done that.
Drowned the nascent sun rising in my eyes,
Clutched my pain like a worn teddy bear,
Rocking myself to numbness at the bottom
Of that lake of tears.
Time will pass.
You’ll still hurt, but the pain will ease.
The sun will rise again in your eyes.
Maybe then your ears will open.
Maybe then the wishes will come real.
by Netta Kanoho
Picture credit: Connections by Matthew Montgomery via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
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14 thoughts on “WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS”
Thank you for the lovely poem and wise insight.
Sometimes when I’m trying to help someone I care about, it’s easy to get all used up. And, there are people who thrive on dumping their pain on others. You have to be careful.
I enjoy your poetry and your website. Visiting your website reminds me of the coffee houses in the 1970s that had open mic poetry readings.
Welcome back, Gary. Thanks for your visit and your comment. I agree. It IS very easy to lose yourself in other people’s pain when you’re a helpful sort. You know you have to pull back when you get to feeling tired all the time. Retreat can be a good thing!
I love your coffee house comment. Please come again….
The website is really nice to explore.
I like the layout and the way you present the contents. It can only be a success – I am sure.
I can see that you have been doing a lot of work, and I envy you for the level of competency you have achieved.
I would really like to be able to get my site to a similar level – although you are setting the bar really high 😉
I think your site is a job well done!
Thank you for the visit and for your comments. I appreciate your encouraging words. Please do come again….
I like that your poem touches on the deep dark naked realness that is human sorrow. I also like that you are a peace seeker.
Dealing with difficult feelings is a big part of the path to peace. I think it’s something that we all sort of struggle with. I like your writing style. It comes off as open and honest when you use phrases like “‘neath”.
Thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts. I do appreciate them.
Please do come again….
Thank you for sharing your insights on friendship along with this beautiful poem of compassion. Having even one true friend during our walk in life really does bring so much more meaning and understanding to life. This post inspired me to look deeper at my own handful of friends. I will bookmark your site and share it as well. Thanks again!
Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Shannon. I’m glad the post was helpful to you.
Please do come again.
Hi Netta, I must say that this article is very helpful and inspirational. I could actually send one of these poems to my girlfriend who is in the other town. Can I ask you am I allowed to share this text on my Pinterest profile? I think many people will benefit from it. Thanks a lot for sharing!
Thanks for your visit. Of course you can share the text on your Pinterest profile. Just let ’em know I made it, please.
Please do come again.
Hi Netta, What an amazing article!!!
Reading through this poem, I’d say you have touched all the possible parts needs to be touched. This is a well composed and beautiful poem.
One thing I love so much about this poem is the contents and the fact that it passes a message and it has inspired me to look deeper at my handful of friends.
Thanks alot for sharing!!!
Miraclex, I do thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts. I am pleased the post resonated with you.
Please do come again.
Thank you for dedicating time to help this woman. And by doing so, you have also helped many of us that are also going through struggles.
It is amazing how our lives can be so different but we all experience similar periods of distress. This has been a touching poem, worth also sharing with some of my family!
Thank you, Abel. I appreciate your visits and the way you share your thoughts.
Please keep on coming.