The Power of Listening to the Universe

Sep 06, 2011
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This blog would have been appropriately titled, “The Power of Asking for Help”; however, I already wrote that one. What that tells me is that this is a concept that I haven’t quite mastered yet.

I have always fought with asking for help—from my family, from my teachers, from my friends, from my coaches, and from my lovers. I can’t quite figure out the origin of such a neurosis, but I do know that it is extremely hard to maintain especially since living life traveled in a wheelchair. Help comes calling in all directions to pick up dropped books, open stubborn doors, or navigate steep hills; but however convenient and open-hearted, I am still inclined to reject such an offer.

But sometimes the Universe wants you to learn a lesson, and when the Universe speaks, you listen. Over and over again I have poked my fingers straight into my eardrums just to mute the lesson that I obviously need most.

This week I came home long after the sun had set to a seemingly-Papa bear dancing into my backyard. My backyard is dark and my front yard is darker. My garage would be the perfect place to hide from a bear—that is if it weren’t detached from the rest of my house. I immediately felt stuck. I couldn’t get out because I couldn’t see where the bear may have gone. Having used a wheelchair for over a dozen years, I knew well enough that I was never going to be able to out run nor scare a bear from anywhere. So I drove away.

I did the only thing that I could think of—which consequently is also probably also the most ridiculous thing I could think of—and drove to the Wal-mart parking lot to prepare to sleep there. The insanity of the situation is a clear indicator of my resistance to ask for help. I could have easily called up a friend and had him come like a modern knight in bear-repellant armor to my rescue. I could have gone to a friend’s house to sleep. I could have notified my next door neighbors for assistance. I could have done a lot if I were just willing to swallow hard and ask for help. But I wasn’t, and the only thing that felt comfortable, ironically enough, was taking care of it myself and sleeping the whole thing off in the Wal-mart parking lot.

Sitting in the absurdly well-lit parking lot, my eyes began to stream with tears for my own feelings of violation and helplessness. That bear, as beautiful and unintentional as it was, had encroached upon my space and put me in a position that I dreaded with my every being. Those tears were also the reflections of my own understanding that there are always going to be things that I can’t accomplish solo, and that this bear could have just been the first of many—bears or otherwise—to remind me that there are going to be tasks and times for help.

Once my tears had finished melting, I picked up the phone, rather reluctantly, and dialed 911 to have them walk me to my door.

So the lesson learned? Nobody should sleep in the Wal-mart parking lot, especially if there is a way that someone can help you out of your sticky situation giving you the opportunity graciously appreciate that moment.

Going further, perhaps I will begin to try to address my desire to ask complete strangers in uniform to help, rather than those friends and loved ones who offer it plainly with their hearts. Baby steps, Ryan. Baby steps.

Author: Ryan McLean