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The blessings I have received are so many. I often get the feeling of crowd surfing through life supported by the many hands of all those who provide for me.

Most recently, the outcome of a chance meeting on a train supported me with a free car, apartment, food and information. A few months ago, while waiting for the train having just finished a workout, all sweaty and messy, I found the eyes of a stranger upon mine. We smiled and blurred back into the masses of the crowd waiting for the train. Taking any seat available, across the isle again I found the same eyes. Words flowed out about what music we were listening to, vegetables and tattoos.

Connection is something that can be maintained for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there is a goal, an outcome, something we want from another person. Or sometimes people are little windows of openness to worlds the other lacks access to. In the intervening months we conversed frequently about lives and family. After establishing this kind of a baseline knowledge of one another, I felt I could ask for something from him. I asked about the option of housing for a few nights and it was gladly granted.

And so I was blessed with a beautiful apartment, a car to use, doggies to hang out with. All a gift of simple generosity, with nothing asked in return beyond taking care of the house and the dogs.

People fail to rely on those they know

and those around them all too much. I think it comes from a fear of asking for what we want. A fear of asking for help or a favor, and it seems the common answer when we do is that people are always “too busy” these days. Great excuse to brush people off and excuse ourselves from actually showing up or actually having to do something caring.

Asking for things used to be very hard for me. I think I was afraid of owing people something or being at their mercy. I also found out recent that I had an attachment to being tough. Looking deeper I saw that my attachment to being tough came from saying goodbye to my dad regularly. If I could keep a part of myself back then it would be easier to say goodbye when the visit was inevitably over each time. I never identified that piece or how it shows up in my adult life because I failed to see my toughness. I never thought I had trouble loving, which might be true, but I did have trouble loving deeply, or without reservation, from a place of softness. I was clinging to the identity of tough to protect me from the need to be soft.

I've relinquished my attachment to "tough" and am finding and seeking ways to be soft. Touching a stranger in gratitude. A smile that you don't cut off when socially expectable. A shared meal ordered by strangers and eaten with strangers and learning about their lives in a foreign country. Sleeping and slouching into my neighbor on the plane. Asking for housing for my friend of a few months. All exercises in softness. Ease. Lack of toughness, lack of fear of what the other might think/say/do. Just being at peace in myself and my desires and requests. I am eternally grateful for what is possible as a result and for people who are generous enough to share.


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