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Giving my Ask a trial run

 “Inherent in every desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment.”                            ~ Deepak Chopra

Canoe Bliss

Canoe Bliss

And so came another obstacle: ASKING for what I wanted when I wasn’t entirely convinced I deserved any of it.  In my past, I had been trained and become accustomed to accepting crumbs with a deep sense of gratitude as if they were diamonds showered upon me.  Tolerating not enough was how I lived my life…

Four years ago, I remember being in an experiential Expressive Arts group activity where we were asked to create an individual art piece and find a way to connect it to someone else’s in the room.  There were about 25 participants in the space creating all at once.  It was both scary (what if my piece is judged? I feel really vulnerable right now…  Everyone else is so much better than I…) and shame-filled (I’m no good, no one will want to connect to my piece…).

There was one pivotal moment for me, when a woman, whom I did not know, walked over as I was creating a path to someone else’s piece, gazed deeply and lovingly into my eyes, and placed a small piece of cardinal red paper on my trail.

An offering.  A connection. Love.

I fell apart.

Accepting this small token felt like too much.  I could not receive such a gift, so raw, so honest, so desired.

Yet our task was that we connect.  I knew this entering into the experience.  What I came to realize was that it was okay for me to connect with others, to give freely.   Just not to receive.

I wasn’t worthy of such unbridled loving.

I proceeded to unravel in the middle of the room, among all these creative strangers who continued their projects while holding space for me to grieve how little I have always accepted as enough.  It was the push I needed to begin to ask for more of myself and from my life.

And the necessary beginning point for me to receive with much more abandon four years later….

But first I needed to learn how to ask.

These were the kinds of asking I had known up until that point…

The Silent Ask.  You know.  The kind where you wish you had the ovaries to open your mouth wide enough to risk rejection. This form happened in my head, died a slow, painful death, festered and rotted inside me, and created the kind of aloneness I would not wish on my worst enemy…  The kind that eats away at you, and leaves you feeling a victim, invisible, unimportant, worth and power less.  It was deeply steeped in shame.

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” ~ Brené Brown

The Sheepish (or Flabby) Ask. A variant of the silent ask.  The kind with slight audacity, but with eyes downcast, chin low, tail between my legs, voice quivering.  This form was most frequent in my past.  It got me very little if anything at all.  It was the kind of ask that meant resignation to it’s non-fulfillment.  And confirmed as such.  Shame was even larger here, because I was bold enough to say something.  My desire was out in the open and therefore subject to belittling and rejection.  This felt even worse than remaining silent.

The Fucking Pissed Off Ask.  The kind that occurs after stuffing the desire, and stuffing the desire, and stuffing the desire and reaching a salient point where all hell breaks loose.  You can’t fucking take it any more and unleash your rage and venom upon anyone who is within earshot.  My friend Gabriel Colella recently told a personal story of his Native American teacher’s response to his statement: “It takes a lot to make me angry.”  “Bullshit.” he said, “It takes a lot for you to express your anger.” The Fucking Pissed Off Ask is fueled by lack of expression.  This ask can burn down whole villages in its wake…

The Manipulative Ask.  A fave of my ex-husband’s…  When you do “x”, I’ll do “y” for you.  It’s a form of strong arming, leveraging, bullying for the result.  This one I can’t recall using myself.  But I know it well having been at the receiving end of it on more occasions than I care to remember….

If I were to ask for a Legendary Love Affair, I would have to own a different kind of ask.  So, in the past three months, I have been cultivating and practicing:

The Unabashed Ask.  This one comes from the heart.  It comes with no negative energy charge.  In fact, to ask unabashedly, the opposite needs to be in place.  I had to feel really good before I asked.  No hidden agenda.  No game-playing.  No manipulation.  Just a clear path to express what was desired with a sense of appreciation and gratitude.  I wanted to practice something new.  I wanted to have an authentic, grounded in my feet, tapped into my pussy, heart open, unabashed ask.

It is THIS ask I utilized to do research on my first dating desire: kayaking with my card-asking man.  The first iteration of this ask looked like this:

“I am having a craving for kayaking (even though I don’t own one).  Would you take me?  I am available Monday. Thank you so much for considering this.”  I wrote to him in an email weeks after our first hike together.

Which engendered this response:

“Would canoeing suffice? I have one of those.  Monday would be great.”

I was floored.  Really?  That’s all it took?  Clarity?  Appreciation?  Gratitude?  This one was new.  And he was saying yes.  Holy shit.  Really?  Yes????

Kayak or Canoe, I didn’t care.  My underlying desire was to be on the water on Memorial Day week-end.  It was easy as that.

He took it the extra mile and went through the trouble of picking out the most perfect lake – which happened to be one I was familiar with and where I had spent a major part of my time after leaving my ex-husband thirteen years earlier.  I knew that lake.  I had danced by it.  Cried by it.  Swam in it.  The choice felt right – that I should start this new journey where I had left the other one off.

He picked me up at my home, canoe strapped to the car and ensured that everything be perfect.  He even packed a lovely picnic for us to enjoy afterward.  We spent a long time by the lake chatting, getting to know one another.  He shared his attraction to me.

It was lovely.  It was sweet.  I was touched.

And before we left each other, I stole a kiss.

I did not it know then…. But that, seemingly. small act was about to send me on a ride I hadn’t prepared for.

In love, service and pleasure,

Joelle Lydon

 

 

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