This is a story about surviving, honey bees, and a girl named Alida.
The thing about survival is that it is intrinsically selfish but not necessarily in nature.
In other words, we must be plentiful in at least something so that we can offer it to others. Being generous begins by first being selfish. I think that’s something many of us have heard and probably even understand by now to one extent or the other. I know the people who made those airplane safety videos definitely do. But I think for me, survival is more complicated than just breathing.
You can keep your head above water and breathe, you can survive. But you don’t get anywhere just surviving. If you want to be out at sea, if you want to live, you’re going to have to think about what boat you want and how many people you’re willing to let in to help you with it.
I find the whole ocean and ship metaphor can be continued to describe life to a lot of its finer details and once even developed a method called the Ocean Philosophy to help you work your way through an issue.
But before this becomes a post about Pirates of the Caribbean, let me back to the point. Not only do we need others to survive, we need others to thrive.
At anything, not just being happy, but even doing well in something. There is only so much we can do on our own. If we’re happy with that “so much” than all the better, but if what we want is to be better, that includes a bigger ship.
Throughout my own life I have really considered it important to understand when I “should” be doing things on my own and when it’s ok or I “should” ask for help. My own nature is to recycle the talents and skills I have in one way or another so that they are of service to others, but also at all times I am self-nurturing one way or another. I have thus lived with the understanding that if I am not at my full capacity to give, then I will not give; because I will not be giving at my full capacity.
There’s more to it, but let’s say that’s a basic law in how I do things.
When I was attending the University of Santa Monica, (you know it’s going to be a good story when I start it like that) I met the most amount of kindred spirits I had ever met in one place. It was like suddenly finding myself in a collective of people that hard all joined together for the same beautiful purpose.
Among one of those fantastic people was Alida McDaniel (who you can find everywhere) who went from being classmate to friend, business and personal coach in one swoop and back and forth a couple of times. Kind of like a superhero. She was the Clark Kent/Superman to my Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde.
From the very first time I ever really had an actual conversation with her, Alida showed humility and wisdom in such a natural way I developed my first #womencrushwednesday before that was even a hashtag. (It isn’t one, I just made that up.) It was an instant case of the “I need dis girl in my liiiiife” syndrome, I was hooked. Every time she phrases something there’s such a fine-tuned level of intention I feel like I get more motivated just by being on Facebook at the same time she is.
As the months went by, I took to connecting with Alida when I needed a shift of some kind to happen. Every time Alida and I spoke, something in me moved. She helped me get my career started, helped me keep myself moving, taught me so many different things about myself I would have never have seen otherwise. Alida changed with me, she shifted with my needs because that is who Alida is intrinsically, so it comes out in who she is professionally and as a friend. By now, I know enough about myself to understand that it’s no accident.
I surround myself with people that will challenge me always, but also with people who will be gentle with me because that is what I know I need. Sometimes, in beautiful occasions, I meet people that are both. (Some of them can cook really good too but that’s just over-achieving, man.)
The importance of what I am saying and how that’s relevant to whatever is that you may be doing, (the point of this blog is not just to give you friend envy and talk about how cool the ocean is) is that Alida was the one factor that got me moving many times. Other times it wasn’t Alida, sometimes it was Dahlia, or Mittie, or Natasha, and sometimes it was me, and sometimes it was another name or someone I never saw again. But we use the factor that’s going to move us, and then we do it.
It wasn’t me on my own, but the fact that I had known how to and who to ask for help and that Alida had been so intuitive and knowing how to offer it and stick to it. In the end, asking for assistance is about co-creating what you want out of life with someone else at that moment so that you can be at the most effective in whatever it is you are trying to give your priority at that time, whether it be work, parenting, rest, joy, or any other form of wellbeing. But in all of it, you have to make sure you are surrounding yourself with the right people as well. It all takes up energy, make sure that energy will be refilled one way or another.
All my love,