These two words, opposites of sorts, may apply to many issues and situations in life. As a writer, there are times when I read and reread my words to be sure that they fall on the side of help and not harm. Of course, that is up for interpretation. What may feel helpful to me may come across as harmful to another. It’s a tricky dance. Personally, writing has always landed on the help side from the moment I sat in the woods with my back up against a huge fallen tree to sitting on my porch hiding from a storm writing these words. Writing helps me to revisit times and events as well as giving me a place for dark/scary thoughts and lovely/pleasant ideas. However, when I write to people or address certain situations I have to ask myself, which way will my words fall; help or harm? That was not always the case. In fact, it is a recent practice. I wrote to free myself, my spirit. I didn’t intentionally spew my words on the page with the thought of harm but that did happen. I forgot to ponder were my recipient was in their process or life to receive my words.
Medically the words, “Do No Harm,” are prominent. Unfortunately, as we “practice” our work there are plenty of people who land at our feet in the harm pile. Continuing to check in with ourselves and to clearly come from our hearts reduces the casualties. Although we can all benefit from the practice of being present, being aware, being kind, being considerate, our actions don’t always come across that way.
I recently attended a class. There was a great deal of love in the room. Most participants had been in practice for several decades. But as we were learning, we were all newbies. Even the instructors were learning something “new” from our group. What I learned was I need to “ask.” To ask for what we need is difficult for all of us but it is helpful to everyone. The rewards are great.
If you were to look at me, you would never know that paralysis lurked in my past. Although I am proud of that fact, it also causes harm at times. Being “unsure” of what I physically feel
has gotten me into trouble. When I check in with myself on a deeper level, I am very sure. In class, it became very apparent that what was happening, though beneficial, was harmful. It did change old, hard patterns in my body but it also hurt me. The experience flipped an internal switch. Suddenly I related to my paralyzed nineteen-year-old self. Someone was doing something to my body that was unpleasant and there was little I could do to STOP them. However, in class, that was far from the truth. All I had to do was ask and the situation would have changed. Instead, I laid there and wondered, “Is this ok?” There was too much stimulation for me to easily track and absorb.
Thankfully, I asked questions and my partner asked me to share. It was then the raw feelings came and my story poured forth.
I continue to learn about my body, mind, emotions, and soul. Of course, my past plays a part, in a way, so does thoughts of my future. But the truth of the matter is in the present moment. In that space and time I need to ask myself, does this help or harm? Then I shall make my move and be true to myself while considering others in my life. Be well… Nancy T