“You might worry that if you ask for help, you’ll never be able to pay the other person back. Our culture tends to see reciprocity is a quid pro quo. “You give to me, so I need to give back to you,” as opposed to “You give to me, and I commit to paying it forward.” Cultures before ours knew that when we know how to dance in the flow of giving and receiving, we weave strong webs in which our communities can flourish. When you gather people around you who have your back, it’s so much easier to be brave.”
– Katherine Golub
I want to speak to the beauty of tribe and asking for help. When shit hits the fan, who do you call on and who shows up? Make a list. These people are your tribe.
Who do you show up for when they call on you for support? Make a list.
Let the lists change and evolve, of course, but remember who’s really got your back.
This idea of who’s got my back came in last night when I finished my 100 outdoor farmers markets for the season. My loyal market staff loaded up the car with me, one last time until spring, and we hugged goodbye. I felt swarmed with gratitude for her help each week, rain or shine, muggy hot weather or below freezing. She was there, often with snacks for me and thoughtful gifts, like a fairy godmother. I never ever took her for granted. I always wanted to give her more ghee, more herbs, more money for her dedication.
When the giving and receiving flows effortlessly like this, I remember why I am here. The true kindness of humanity shines brighter than anything else. It’s such a gift to be part of this exchange of love and energy.
After the market, I came home, unloaded the car and my housemate had prepared us a salmon dinner. Because she wanted to. I didn’t ask her, she just felt the call to give. Why? Who cares! It’s love flowing from her hands.
Then, I bent over and my back went out. Now, on the floor moaning with a hot pad, my housemate offered to gently press my low back as I laid in child pose. Tears welled up. So much pain and so much love all at once. Isn’t this what the heart needs? To be held, especially in suffering?
Just in time to spend the next day hauling a 450 pound wood stove to my new house – and my back is shot. Yep. So, I rested, cried, felt frustrated, then asked for help. I had a few friends lined up to help me, but we didn’t have the proper equipment to load the stove. I called a friend at 8am. He said, “I’ll be there with ramps, a dolly and straps, Hannah. Just tell me when and where.”
This new friend who I’d only met twice before, offered to take the whole day off from his work, drive two hours each way to help me. The shame and disbelief rolled in like a tidal wave.
Do I deserve all this help on such short notice?
Am I worthy of all this support?
What did I do to deserve this?
When are they going to realize I’m not as nice as they think?
And, you’re probably thinking, what is his motive, what does he want from Hannah? Nothing. He would barely take any gas money, I had to force it into his hands.
Oh, sweet mind, please rest.
The more generosity I experience from others, the more I want to give generously. It’s a beautiful infinite circle of gifts. Such a blessing.
Of course fear creeps in at times and questions whether there will be enough, will I get my needs met, am I making the right choice? Generally, it’s just fear talking. Welcome fear. You have a place at my table, but you may not dominate the conversation, thank you.
When I listen to love and abundance, miraculous things happen. The biggest miracle that is only possible because of millions of tiny miracles is, I just bought my first house. I want to say “we” even though I’m the sole “title owner.” I want to say “we” because of the countless people, privileges and forces that are part of such a big life event.
Buying house and land brings up a ton of emotions. First and foremost, I do not believe in “land ownership” or “private property.” I simply don’t think anyone owns land. The earth is wild and free. But, we live in a society that functions with “private property” being the foundation of reality, even when it is acquired by mass genocide (another thing I’m not supportive of).
Rather than fight this enormous systemic oversight made by most of humanity, I’ve decided that being a strong female homeowner with intentions of creating a sacred space encompassing gardens, healing, community building and giving back to the land is a good place to start. If anyone is going to own property, how about women, first nations people, people of color, LGBTQ people? Let’s put the “private property” into the hands of radical change-makers, please. After all, the revolution begins inside the walls of our homes.
I truly believe this land I am “purchasing” called me home. Last August, a few major things I thought I knew to be secure shifted out from under my feet – home, primary relationship, car. Some big root chakra stuff, right?! Instead of turning inside and giving up hope, I turned my palms open to face the mystery and said, “Where do you want me now, Spirit?” Because usually, when tectonic plates like these begin shifting, there is something much much bigger waiting on the other side. We just have to be open to receiving it.
Kaboom! Almost like a lightning bolt, I found myself making an offer on a house, buying a new car, deepening relationships with my tribe family, and sinking my roots deeper into the earth than ever before.
I considered other options rather than home-buying, questioning my desire to feel security with so much uncertainty. I considered putting everything in storage and buying a ticket to South America. I considered renting a room. My body told me neither of those options were going to bring me the level of growth I was ready for. It was time to plant my roots deeper into the beautiful soil on which I was born here in W. Mass.
When you’re in a time of big transition, ask your friends for help, and also ask the Universe, Spirit, Divine, God, whichever name you call the great mystery that flows around and through us. Just like your friends, it has your back, too. Do not give up on the great mystery. We all have ancestors, guides, plant and animal spirits pushing us closer to our divinity. They are waiting to be called in.
For me, that has been pouring water in my garden, sprinkling cornmeal, calling in the seven directions, offering tobacco smoke to the ancestors. Smoke carries our prayers out into the great mystery. Someone is always listening. I thank my Navajo and Ojibwe mentors for teaching me these ways of offering prayers to the Earth & Sky and who encouraged me to seek a home for my garden where I can really sink my roots deep this time. “It’s time for you to show up to your garden,” they said. “So, you may need to find that land, sweetie-pie.”
Right after I signed the Purchase and Sale agreement, I went for a walk around a lake where I spent my childhood roaming in the woods. A bald eagle soared over my head, circling me for what felt like 20 minutes. If that isn’t a clear sign from my guides, I don’t know what is.
Thank you Eagle
Thank you Great Spirit
Thank you new friends
Thank you old friends
Thank you family
Thank you Grandma
Thank you Grandpa
Thank you Tulsi
Thank you Snake
Thank you death
Thank you rebirth
Thank you great mystery
Thank you Frost Moon
Thank you Attorney
Thank you Social Media
Thank you hot cup of tea
Thank you sunrise in the east
Thank you teachers, mentors
Thank you fairy godmothers and godfathers
Thank you contractors and all your equipment
Thank you muscle, bone, and ligaments
Thank you diesel and gasoline
Thank you bank
Thank you hearth to heat the home
Thank you gardens
Thank you chickens
Thank you technology
Thank you body
Thank you clean water
Thank you butterfly
Thank you drum
Thank you winds of change
Thank you Pachamama
I give thanks from heart to all the millions of seen and unseen magical influences that make my life possible. I see the beauty in all of them, even the diesel and credit reports. Lastly, thank you, Mom, for my birth – for modeling power, strength, compassion, steadfast commitment to truth and love, always following your heart even when it feels scary.