Sunday, February 12, 2006

Creating community

Today we had a Team Signy meeting. A group of about half a dozen women got together at my house and prepared me for surgery. Being women, we also ate some good food, and being my friends, we also meditated, chanted, prayed, and shared. The miracle of it is that in about half an hour we had brainstormed all that needed to be done, before, day of and after, and assigned roles for different key tasks.

So a bit of history on Team Signy is in order. Almost five years ago, when I got diagnosed with cancer I immediately called my 8 or so closest friends. The women I could count on. The people that I loved. I invited them to come and meet with me, and support me in my journey. Not surprisingly, all of them came. People want to help. I have already blogged about this, but it is so true it deserves repeating. When I ask, I will repeat that because it is key to the process and the point, WHEN I ASK for help, I am flooded with yeses. Flooded with offers. Flooded with people wanting to know what I need. And when a team/circle/posse/party of people shares the load, the load is lightened, even for the person who is under the knife and mainlining the chemo.

These people saved my life. In all ways: they carried the weight of daily life when I couldn’t (food shopping, apartment cleaning, meal making, sponge bathing); they created and protected the safe space for me to grieve, get angry, feel sorry for myself, the whole range; they were my hope on the days I ran out; they were my source of strength; they were the clear voice when I needed to make decisions but was overwhelmed. They were my north, my south, my east, my west, my working clothes, my Sunday best. And that was just the home team. I was in Roman Catholic prayer circles, prayed for in sweat lodges, was on the Dalai Lama’s prayer list and had all the witches of Norway working magic for me. I got so many cards, all filling my clear and specific request that I wanted them to tell me what about me inspires them, what do I bring to the planet, why and how is the world a better place because I am here (I needed to know this, to help me keep fighting on the dark days. And yes, there were dark days.). I put those cards on the wall, by my bed, to help me to remember my magnificence. Everyone, near and far, was a part of my healing.

Bottom line, this is not the time to go it alone, to be brave, to practice being independent. This is the time to ask for help. I need to keep remembering that people get from giving. They get their own sense of hope, they get to contribute. I believe we all hunger to be a part of a bigger whole, a part of a community.

So how do we do it, this creating community? Invite people in, ask for help, be willing to receive, open yourself up to receive some more, set aside the lying feelings of shame or incompetence (my grandmother role modeled this in the most amazing way. As she got old, she didn’t hide away, embarrassed about how her body was less able to take commands then it used to be. She just kept showing up and doing her best, being as present as she could and letting us love her. Boy, do I love her!). Let the people in, let them love you. This one act will explode your world. And that is where healing starts.


At 3:46 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Signy,

Thanks for the chance to be part of Team Signy - it's a priveledge (sp?) and a great pleasure. We laughed a lot and cried some, and the food and the women were awesome.

Are you sure you have enough support for the day of? I am worried that the plans we made don't guarantee constant moral support during the various procedures, medical professionals and recovery room. Of course I trust that you will ask for what you need and create what you want ... hmmm, so if I trust this, why am I worried? I think it is my own control-freak side, because I don't KNOW the woman who is driving you to the hospital!!! (I am sure she is an angel.) But also perhaps it is because maybe you might temporarily forget (because you were stoned the last times) that it is good to have a multitude of people who love you there at all times on the actual day.

Just a thought. Take or leave it, as you in your wisdom desire. I love you. Thanks for the blog updates!


At 10:36 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

My darling!

This is why I have you. Why, yes, I guess maybe I forgot. Man those drugs can get you good. I forgot that I forgot. So perhaps, when Lauren has produced the list of who does what, you and I can double check it and make sure I am covered. I am sure there would be many takers if I called for such specific help. I would just need to figure out what that help looks like. Maybe no return obligation phone calls of love. But that would mean I would need to clear my mail box, and I have important messages saved there, like when you told me that Madeleine was born. If we talk it through, it will become clear.

Thanks for your loving gentle way of pointing out an oversite and calling me forth to fix it.

Love you!

At 8:31 AM PST, Anonymous deb said...

I fargin ADORE you woman! Nice to be able to 'connect' (ah you know how i love to connect) via your blog. Sending all them juicy, loving vibes your way today (the day of hearts and flowers), and always.

Heading up the Joisey Team as ever! xo

At 9:53 AM PST, Blogger Signy said...

Welcome Deb!

And what an important team it is, this Joisey Team. I know you 'got the power', and understand the road I am walking.

Love to you always, you dangerous, bold, big (what were your other words?) powerhouse YOU!

At 10:03 AM PST, Blogger Alda said...

This brings to mind a line from one of my fave U2 songs: "It's no secret that a friend is someone who lets you help." So very true.

At 10:47 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was not able to physically make the Team Signy meeting, but was there in mind and spirit. One thought for the night before your "I AM FABULOUS NIGHT" - do all the things that make you feel fabulous - have your wonderful loving, committed group of powerful people over to pamper you....give you hugs, food massages, tuck you in to bed and read you a story - whatever your heart desires so that you know that you are truly loved, blessed and truly FABULOUS!!


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