In times past, a tribe was there to support one of another through the full monty of the human experience including the things that we most hide in privacy like guilt, shame, grief, and anger.
Back then, people held space and witnessed one of their members go through these times, not to embellish or voyeur without attachment, but to allow the full release of the energy that can regenerate as it breaks one down....because it gave them a chance to heal, too.
How far we have come, not in a good way, from allowing ourselves and each other to immerse into the full monty.
I write this post because Anthony Bourdain is dead, someone I enjoyed "traveling" the world with through his show and admired greatly for unapologetically bringing empathy and light to me through him just being himself.
This comes on the heels of Kate Spade leaving us as well, someone who gave her gift of design that resonated with so many people.
"We are failing one another." Danielle Campoamor
Each of us can do better, not only through support or referrals to the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) but with these steps, too, as individuals:
- Hold space for yourself or someone else, even if you don't know them, when you see them going through the full monty. This means, neutral, without judgement or recommendations of "do this, not that," or "you shouldn't feel that way."
This is much harder than it sounds and it takes much strength and integrity to do so. Maybe you've experienced the filtered, ulterior undercurrent in spiritual teachings or normalized therapy.
Allowing the "witnessing" part in a clean, safe space is important.
Our emotions, the full range, were meant to be a part of our full experience, not carried alone in isolation. If you've been in a dark place, you know it sucks like shit, compounded by having to go through it alone. To not being able reach out a hand because we're not taught how to do that or because there is no tribe to place a hand on our back.
- Talk about it if you're going through the monty, or simply listen if someone else is. Wholly. Let it be expressed so that all of us can heal.
- Then, if it's needed, get help from where ever you need it. In my view, though, Steps 1 and 2 can do much more than first appears on the surface.
We often only hold space for the joyful parts of the full monty - birthdays, births, celebrations of that nature. But only limited space for the other parts, anger (for short periods of rants) or only some parts of grief. Perhaps it's because many people don't even have full ownership of who they are (North Star), so the ability to hold space for the full monty is limited....we just don't know how to hold space when our capacity to do so has been drawfed over generations.
As individuals, we are much more powerful than we know when we hold ourselves true, in raw form, to our place in the tribe.