Strong Women Need Love, Too

“What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

“You didn’t need me… I needed to be needed.”

A former love interest told me this a year ago, explaining why, from his perspective, our relationship never worked.  We were long over, and our connection broken, so while, at the time, I knew his perception was inaccurate, I didn’t bother to argue the point.  I just filed it away and moved on.

But it’s come up again recently – this idea that somehow, because I am a capable human being, a caregiver, I do not need… the implication being that, therefore, I am somehow both less deserving and less desirable in relationship.

Not only is this both painfully invalidating and hurtful, but the basic premise is simply not true.

I won’t argue that I need someone to screw in my light bulbs or pay my rent – or deplete their life savings buying my psych meds as the above ex-boy friend did with one of his desirably needy girlfriends (who then dumped him) – but being capable of surviving in the world is not the same as not needing other people.

Part of my calling as a healer is to caretake other caretakers.  I know when the person whom everyone leans on leans on me, allows me to hold them, to ease their pain, to offer them comfort, to support them through transitions, that I have been both honored and graced.  Honored because their willingness to let me help signals their trust in my abilities and my capacity to hold them, and graced because that level of faith is both humbling and sacred.

Even caregivers – perhaps especially caregivers- need a community of people – however large or small it may be – where we can let go and lean, where our growth and becoming is nurtured and cared for.  Where our humanity – our vulnerability and fallibility – is acknowledged and cherished.  Independence can only take a person so far; thriving as human beings takes interdependence.

(Just look at the research on failure-to-thrive babies, children who have been deprived of touch and affection, if you don’t believe me.)

When I begin a relationship with a potential partner, I am saying to him, “I see in you the possibilities of someone I can rest in, someone I can play with, grow, explore, and simply be with.”  I want to unfold with him, to partner with him, to discover if the strength and capability I sense is indeed his truth, so that I can honor and grace him with my leaning, with my vulnerability, with my surrender.

In the end, I think it’s not a question of my not having needs, but of the cost to the giver in fulfilling them.  Someone who is broken and needy gives their rescuer the illusion of strength and capability without ever having to do the self-work to really be emotionally strong and capable.

I know.

Like many healers before they accept their calling, my past is littered with boys-with-broken wings…  individuals so messy and in need that I not only got to feel altruistic and strong, but to avoid owning my own brokenness.  “Loving” them was so easy because I could lose myself in them.  There was never any chance that they were going to ask me to look at my own issues; they were never going to ask me to lower the walls I’d built to protect myself and be truly open and available.

Being with someone who has done and is doing their own work demands that we step into our truth and integrity… that we move beyond the stuck and hurt places that have become our hidey-holes and armor against the world and into the undefended space of true vulnerability and shining authenticity…

And for some, that price is too much to pay.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Begin the Beguine

“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” ~ A.A. Milne

SOOOOOO… it’s been just over 3 months since I last wrote.

To be honest, I didn’t actually set out to take this much of a hiatus.  I meant to take a little downtime away from the pressure of writing every day, some time to regroup and refocus, and…. well….

3 months later, here we are.

It’s not that I didn’t WANT to write sooner.  Any number of times I sat down, pulled up my handy word processor – sometimes, I even managed to pick the quotes to begin and end the piece – and then I stared at the screen for a while, either completely blank or completely frozen, until I shut the program down and slunk off guiltily to do something else.

I don’t know what it is about starting over that makes it so difficult…. Starting never seems to be a problem, but having to re-start… soooo not my thing.

Many of us have this problem.  Just ask anyone who’s ever fallen off the diet wagon over the holidays, or tried to get back on track with their exercise program following vacation or after houseguests have come and gone…

You wonder how something that was once second nature and an easy priority has become so difficult and effortful

I think some of it is that the newness has worn off.   For those of us who are “NP’s” on the Myers-Briggs scale, we love a new idea, the possibilities of it, the adventure.  By the time we get distracted or knocked off track, we’ve usually discovered the daily grind of our grand venture and the fact that, yes, we DO actually HAVE to do the details.  So coming back to a task doesn’t have quite the joie do vive that beginning something new does….

This explains why I have about 35 projects lying around the house, all somewhere in process and none of them completed.

In this case, I think there’s also been an added component.  The further I got away from writing the more I felt pressured to come up with something REALLY GOOD when I started up again.  Whatever it was had to be poignant, moving, meaningful, the writing poetic, yet succinct – Pulitzer material all the way around!!

No wonder it took me 3 months to start again… oy!

But lately, the Universe seems to have taken to pretty much bashing me upside the head as encouragement to get back to writing.  The “signs” have been coming fast and furious, each more obvious and hard hitting than the last.  This level of “violence” has only been necessary, you understand, because I’ve spent… oh, let’s say…. 2.5 months or so, ignoring the much more gentle and loving signs that writing is somehow part of my own personal movement forward as well as being a good tool for connecting with HHP’s greater community and forwarding my own personal purpose in the world of helping people to recover authority in their own lives…

What can I say?  I’m stubborn… and a little thick, sometimes.  I’m pretty sure that at one time or another all of us have avoided taking action in a direction that we know full well would set us free.  I personally will avoid taking an aspirin for hours in the face of a blinding headache even though said aspirin has been proven over and over again to be 100% effective…  stupid, right?

But in the end, as always, the Universe wins and here I am – contented just to start and not worry so much about being brilliant… at least not THIS time… 😉

To be honest, it’s a complete and total relief to be here.  It feels good to be tapping away, the rapid-fire sound of productivity, the slick texture of the keys comforting beneath my fingers.  In a way, it’s akin to the feeling you get when you are finally underway again on some long journey.  The stop and the rest were nice – but forward motion towards the goal….


“We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.” ~ Louisa May Alcott (Jo March from Little Women)

Healing Crisis

“If a culture treats a particular illness with compassion and enlightened understanding, then sickness can be seen as a challenge, as a healing crisis and opportunity. Being sick is then not a condemnation or a moral judgment, but a movement in a larger process of healing and restoration. When sickness is viewed positively and in supportive terms, then illness has a much better chance to heal, with the concomitant result that the entire person may grown and be enriched in the process.” ~ Ken Wilber

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to have more faith and trust that, even in the face of things seemingly going wrong, ultimately my greatest good is being looked after.

This, like all good resolutions that push us to grow beyond our limitations, is easier said than done.

As anyone who practices intention setting will tell you, when we ask for opportunities to work on something – whether it be our concerns with money, relationships, tolerance, body image, etc. – what the Universe gives us are challenges which bring up all the false beliefs and fears we have around the issue.

It’s a little bit like being a snow globe… there’s all your “stuff” – which you knew was there, lying on the bottom of your consciousness, mucking up the works – and now it’s flying through the air like so many flakes in a snow storm.  You can’t pretend it’s not there anymore – and remember, you don’t want to – you just have to deal with it.


In healing work, we often talk about a “healing crisis”.  It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.  If you’ve been sitting on your foot for the last hour, and it’s gone numb because the blood flow has been restricted, the process of getting your circulation back before your foot falls off is going to include all the “pins and needles” tingling, pain, and cramping that go along with feeling and flow returning.  Your foot wasn’t troubling you before you stood up; it feels measurably worse now as it returns to health, but, as painful as it can be, we know that it’s necessary.

We’ve been through the process before; we know how it turns out.  So we breathe, and groan, and hop up and done until the icky sensations subside, and then we go on with our lives without fear of gangrene and amputation.

It’s the same process in psychological healing.  Unfortunately, there’s no set time line or regulated mile markers that we can take note of as we pass that tell us how much longer we’re going to be in the pins and needles portion of this journey. It can be terribly difficult when we’re awash in the sea of emotions, fears, and bad beliefs, to hold the bigger picture – that you wouldn’t be feeling so deeply if the work wasn’t working.

Breathing, journaling, connecting with trusted loved ones, sharing with outside observers who can offer their objective observations on the process… these things aren’t luxuries but necessities.

They are lighthouses and rescue crews, helping to navigate the rocky waters of our becoming.

Me… I’m going to practice faith in the absence of knowledge, trusting that by walking this road, by constructively confronting the roadblocks that come up, I will reach a point where my surrender will be rewarded, which will, in turn, make the journey easier next time.


“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” ~Victor Hugo

Love Pharmacist: Dispensing Hugs!

“Happiness is an unexpected hug.” ~Author Unknown

“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

I was back in rehearsal this morning – a one time only (most likely) appearance as Calpurnia in one of my best friend’s productions of Julius Caesar.

It was early – very, VERY early by theatre standards – and there were more than a few people who looked like they’d rolled out of bed not too long before. I’ve already talked about how much I love people first thing in the morning when they are fuzzy with sleep with a foot still in the dream world and inhibitions dialed down, so imagine my pleasure when I was greeted with hugs by many of my fellow actors.

Ahhhh… BLISS… giant, full body, all embracing, agenda-less hugs.

Theatre people tend to be more touchy-feely than most… I’ve always joked that if anyone ever sued anyone else for sexual harassment, the whole industry would grind to a halt. If you do it right, acting is a little like doing psychology from the inside-out. You have to be brave and comfortable enough to be vulnerable, which, in turn, breeds intimacy and familiarity with your cast mates.

Especially if you spend lots of time with them at the crack of dawn.

I’d forgotten, being out of the business, how good this casual intimacy feels… how good it feels to be greeted in body.

(I wonder if the banking business might be less cut-throat if the CEOs started their meetings off with a great big group hug… 😉 )

I remember being told by my college roommate, a stage manager, how her high school director had banned “A-Frame” hugs on stage. An A-Frame is what you get when you stand 2 feet away from someone and lean in to hug them around the shoulders without actually touching bodies at all. The director was insistent that no one really hugs like that…

One can understand why high school students, with all those rushing, surging hormones complicating everything, might feel compelled to A-Frame… but it seems to me that we have become an entire society terrified of physically connecting. We’re so riddled with sexual harassment suits these days that everyone is afraid of touching. I know teachers in the public school system who long to hug hurting students, but fear the repercussions too much to risk it.

We are starving for connection, and there is nothing more visceral than touch…

According to the experts, the leading cause of Failure-to-Thrive in infants is lack of touch; how is the lack of physical contact affecting all the rest of us?

All I know is that I am MUCH better for having gone to rehearsal this morning… thanks, guys!

“Hugging has no unpleasant side effects and is all natural. There are no batteries to replace, it’s inflation-proof and non-fattening with no monthly payments. It’s non-taxable, non-polluting, and is, of course, fully refundable.” ~Author Unknown


“When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.” ~ Albert Einstein

Tonight, a mogul skier broke Canada’s long winter gold drought… he did it by skiing the fastest and by sticking the most complicated jump.  When they interviewed him, he said that he’s done it for Canada, but more importantly, he’d done it for his brother.

His brother has cerebral palsy and spends most of his time in a wheel chair.  Yet, still he skis and never complains, nor does he let his disability stop him from achieving.  Not only does he help his brother to keep things in perspective, but he inspired him to gold.

I once watched a man, his body terribly twisted, a pronounced limp slowing his gait, make his way to the end of an EL platform.  His pace was so slow I could easily have traveled the same distance multiple times over…

By the time he reached the end, I was weeping.  I was completely overcome by the amazing beauty and tenacity of the human spirit he revealed to me.  I carry him with me to this day as a reminder of what is possible if we are determined.

I’m sure if he had known what he inspired, he would have thought I was nuts.  He had obviously made peace with the pain he lived with every day.  He was doing nothing more than I was- going about his day.

It’s really all about perspective, isn’t it?  To me- he was noble… to him- he was just doing his errands.

How much do we take for granted every single day of our lives?  We take for granted that our bodies work as they are meant to, that our minds are able to see, comprehend, decipher, connect… we take for granted the amazing fact that any of it works at all – that it truly is miraculous that the sun will rise tomorrow on Life on this small blue planet, in a galaxy far, far away (from somewhere anyway).

If we could just hold the big picture, how small would our problems become?  If we could keep a universal perspective, what could we achieve?

How many golds could we win?

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” ~ Paulo Coelho