How can I help?

For people in need of help
“How can I help?”
can be an overwhelming
question.

Instead,
listen and inquire deeply.

To unearth
their unconscious concerns.

Respect creatively.

To make value
from their unappreciated concerns.

Request permission.

Before sharing the load
of those specific concerns.

Be honest.

Enough to share
your own struggles.

And most importantly,
follow up.

Soon,
the need to ask
“How can I help?”
will vanish.

Rehearsal vs Performance

Rehearsals
may seem a mere means
to memorize the lines
and behaviors
so as to re-enact them
during performance.

And yet,
the power of rehearsals
can be unleashed
when it prepares us
to improvise
during performance.

Presence

“Can you hear the time?”
asked the art teacher.

“What??”
he responded,
bewildered.

“The time.
Can you hear it?”
she asked again.

“What the hell
are you talking about?!”
he asked,
now annoyed.

“…”
she paused.

“Can you tell me what time it is
without looking at your watch.”
she eventually spoke again.

“No.
I can’t.”
he replied,
indignantly.

“Just a few moments ago,
the church bell rang
to indicate noon.
If you want to make art,
I want you to learn
to be present enough
to hear that.”
she replied.

To be a Person

The Chinese character
for person (人)
are two strokes
leaning against one another.

As if to signify
that to be a person
is to be there for each other
as each other’s support
at. all. times.

At first,
this seemed
impossible.

After all,
we cannot
actually be there for others
at all times.

That is,
until I realized
that others can sense our support
even
in our absence.

Thus,
being there for them
at all times.

But then it seemed
unnecessary.

We don’t
actually need
others to be there for us
at all times.

That is,
until I realized
that the moment we sense
we have no support whatsoever
is often
when we take
our own lives.

Thus,
needing someone
to be there
at all times.

Pause, Reflect, Relieve Tension

When we live a life
too busy
to pause
to reflect,
we can feel overwhelmed
with things
to do.

We’re constantly seeking
to release our tension.

Yet no matter what we do
we don’t feel our tension
release.

Mired in tension,
we also don’t feel
we have any room in our being
to be fully present
with others,
to be wholly honest
to others,
to be sufficiently receptive
of others.

So we interrupt them,
we present them
with a mask of politeness,
we yell
and criticize them.

All behaviors
that fuel disconnection
despite best intentions
and our—ironically—
deep-seated need
for connection.

One of the simplest,
yet most important
and difficult things we can do
as founders
is to relieve ourselves
of our own tension,
by realizing empathy
with ourselves.