As I wrote last week, my healing process has been really beautiful, made so by my own commitment to it, my planning and my community. But that did not come without effort and a major shift in perspective.

I am someone who had to grow up very quickly and was always super independent because I had no choice but to be. My independence became a pillar of my rebel nature and it led the way as my flashlight along a lone, dark journey.

For years I’ve been chipping away at my own façade of independence, what my mentor ALisa Starkweather would call being an “Island Woman.”

This past year, I experienced the greatest grief I’ve ever known. The day I got to the bottom of that grief, the deep darkness of the well, what I found was an overwhelming connectedness to the world’s grief. I felt oneness in a deeply meaningful way, for what experience is more human than grief and loss? We will all experience this in our lifetimes.

In healing from that loss, I could see how my independence had become a shield that protected me from really living my life. My orientation to this part of myself finally could shift in my new understanding of what interconnection really is. This was not some new-agey artificial proclamation of “we are one” but a deep knowing of a story I’ve carried in my bones and cells from my ancestors for lifetimes.

I have not been a person who easily asks for help. This has been a very hard thing for me to do in my life because I did not always get help when I really needed it. Most of us “island women” and “island men” do not want to be helped. It’s painful even to acknowledge we need it.

This illusion kept me separate and lonely in many ways in my life. I’m not interested in that anymore.

So my surgery approached and I called for help. I knew I didn’t want or need to do this alone. I made it clear I only wanted people to do it if it felt easy and good for them to. I trusted they would do what they could do. And I had to practice asking for help over and over while I was in it. From help with household tasks I could not do, to just moving from up to downstairs, opening windows, cooking and all sorts of little tasks I could not manage.

Healing and allowing others to do things for me has been a practice in humility and gratitude. I am humbled by so much love and generosity.

This is far better than the illusion of living on an island. This is living and healing in the presence and arms of real love.

If you have a thought about it, leave a comment!