If you’re lucky, you can convince an introvert to go to a concert or a movie. They’ll enjoy it, but what they won’t enjoy are the crowds. Standing next to a stranger at a concert who doesn’t understand personal space is somewhat of a nightmare come true for an introvert.
“You want help? Ask for help. You want love? Ask for love. If you want anything from the universe, anything from yourself, you must first ask.”
Several months ago when everyone was so angry and continuously expressing their opinions about the ‘presidential candidates’ on Facebook, I responded to a comment and a woman wrote back, telling me I had no compassion.
So thinking of a way to explain that I actually was very compassionate-a stupid game I realize- I sent a link to my gofundme page which tells of some of the work I’ve done over the past 30 years with terminally ill people, parents who have lost a child, Native American People and Elders. I wasn’t asking her to contribute, I just thought after she read about my work, she would understand.
But she became even angrier and accused me of being a self promoter.
This was funny because being a self promoter has always been very hard for me [funny too because the politician she was defending was and is a self promoter extraordinaire…they all are]
Anyway I’ve never liked being in the spotlight, I hate public speaking…I would always rather be in the background..behind the scenes, behind the camera rather than in front of it. I don’t mind promoting someone else though..that’s fun for me.
The first time I remember being consciously aware of this was when I was in the second grade at the Hockaday School in Dallas. We had to play Bingo and I was so shy and so afraid I might win that I didn’t put my chips on the numbers when they were called..I didn’t want my name called out.
And that’s really never changed.
Many years ago I was in British Columbia, participating in one of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s Life Death and Transition workshops. There were usually about 70 people in these workshops and anyone who wanted to, worked with Elisabeth individually but in front of the group.
This seemed pretty terrifying but I was there to finish ‘unfinished business’ so when my turn came I made myself go up to the front to work with Elisabeth. Elisabeth never used a textbook approach. She worked with each person individually and her intuitive understanding of each person’s needs seemed to come from a much higher source……which was why she could never train people to take over her work.
So… when my turn came…she gave me something that she wanted me to do which was to go up to each person in the room and ask for a hug. And she told everyone that I had to ask first, otherwise they were not to give me a hug. She would leave the room while I was doing this.
“No, I don’t want to do this!” I thought..but I had to.
When Elisabeth came back, I had finished and she said “Did you learn your lesson, did you learn that you have to ask for what you need?”
But I didn’t really learn. Several years later I had a small grant to give presentations on AIDS to church and community groups. I was doing this through RITES OF PASSAGE, the non profit I had founded to provide care for people with AIDS.
One Sunday I gave a presentation for an adult Sunday school class at an Episcopal church in Austin Tx. After my presentation [which went pretty well because I showed a video] a woman came up to me and offered to help with fundraising ideas. She was a professional fundraiser and when we met a few weeks later, she first asked me about any connections I might have. So I told her about my background and she said “You have connections I would give anything for. Why don’t you use them?” “I can’t” I said “I’ve always felt like Cinderella.”
“Well” she said “Maybe it’s time to get to the end of that story.”
So why am I a self promoter today? Because I need help. I’m asking for help. For me.
I’m asking for help because I’m about to lose all my electricity. I’m asking for help in raising money so I can replace the batteries for my solar system. The batteries are old and if I don’t replace them very soon, we will have NO electricity here. I live off the grid and the solar system provides all of the electricity for my home. No electricity means NO WATER because the batteries also run the pump for the well. I live very, very simply but I do not think I can live without water.
I have animals ….they need water. It’s a very frightening feeling if you can imagine.
And why should anyone help me? I don’t know..why does anyone help anyone else? Why are some people so quick to offer help and others prefer to sit in judgement. Do I deserve help, does anyone…does all the help I gave to others qualify me for help? I don’t know.
The story most of it-of how and why I lost everything is on my gofundme page so I’m not going to write anymore about it here. These past 2 years have been incredibly hard. Trying to pay off a lot of debt because I lost my salary and my savings, trying to live on $600 a month [if you think it’s easy, do an experiment and try it for a couple months], trying to feel happy and to have faith when I feel terrified so much of the time…wondering if I’ll be sued, wondering if I’ll be homeless.
Several friends have helped me as I climb out of this very dark hole…they have made contributions, they have listened when I was at my lowest point..they have not judged me and I am thankful.
I started writing this blog for a few reasons but probably the main one was as a way to share some of what I learned from my close relationship with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, with Native American Elders and other spiritual teachers as well as what I learned from hospice patients, from parents who have lost a child, from living in a multi cultural community.
This blog has been a way of continuing the work I did..in another way. Though I still try to offer emotional support to people in need, I cannot do what I used to do with no money. Our last film, THE LIGHT IN THE SHADOW on the US Prison System will not be finished because our funding was lost but I can continue to share what I’ve learned and I will for as long as I’m here.
I updated my gofundme page yesterday. If you want to help. I need to raise $4000. I don’t know what else to say other than I appreciate..so much..whatever is given and though these last years have been very hard, maybe this was the only way I could learn certain things, things I came to learn.