Thursday, March 15, 2007

Needs: Finding Joy with Unmet Needs

Here is a comment I received on last year’s Teleclass on Needs: "Usually when I become crabby and irritable it is because my tiredness is a result of taking care of other people, their feelings, their needs, etc. As a result, I usually have put my needs aside. It is important to put our needs aside for others, of course. There are many good reasons to do that. However, if I do it for too long, without taking a moment for myself, even in a small way, I become deficient in my ability to be patient and loving."

I know many of us feel this way, when our cup is empty we have nothing left to give. But why is this? Why is it we need to have a fully cup to not resort to a negative state? I can understand we might not feel full of vim and vigor, but to feel negative? To lose our “love place” (as we call it with the kids)? Some of you have read my story about how YLC came to fruition. My second child had just been born. He was colicky and I was exhausted. I slept for around two hours each night for the first two weeks of his life. My poor daughter, my eldest, was feeling challenged in accepting this new being in our family with an open heart. She didn’t understand why mommy’s lap was often busy. I just found myself feeling irritated and frustrated with her almost all of the time just when she needed my loving attention more than ever. At that time, I was watching Wayne Dyer’s special on PBS called The Power of Intention. In that talk he said, “When you squeeze and orange you get orange juice. When you get squeezed, what comes out?” I was being squeezed and I did not like what was coming out. I felt like my complete exhaustion was stripping me bare and what was left was negativity. Ever since then, I have worked on compassion and love being what shows up when I am bare; at least compassion for myself, if nothing else. It is definitely a work in process…

I asked the participant to take this awareness more deeply and encouraged her to explore why it is she becomes crabby when she wasn't taking care of her needs. Why does that make her irritable? I am looking for us to remove another layer. We often stop with I am grumpy because I am tired, hungry, or not having my needs met. Explore more deeply. Can you discover how to be joyful even in the face of fatigue, hunger, or unmet needs? I would love to hear your thoughts.