What I Have Learned About Support?

Sometimes I have a really bad attitude.   At the beginning of this school year in August was one of those times.   I just didn’t want to be there.    The school moved me from one position to the other in what I would consider a non-transparent way.   I moved from what was primarily administrative and events management position to full time teaching with 5-7 years in physical education.

I guess you could say that I was looking for support for a very very long time from those above me in the administrative hierarchy.    It never came.  What did come was a lot of criticism and fault finding.    I became resentful and bitter.   I am a taurus, so holding onto negative things for a long time comes quite naturally to me.   When I began the new position,  I just tried to keep my head down, do the work, and then leave at the end of the day.

And then my body began communicating to me in profoundly negative ways.   The metaphoric place of where one gets support in the body is one’s back.   Mine reacted badly to my attitude.   I was looking for support from outside of myself from up above. It never came.  I felt completely unsupported.   And then my back went totally out.   The pain was so bad that on 3 occasions I went to the emergency room at 2:00 am to get a pain killer so I could sleep.    The most I slept at any one time was 1 hour and even then it didn’t feel like sleep.   I was taking as many pain killers as I could, but it was just sheer hell.    You don’t have to  tell me what hell is like.  I know.    Finally, between the work of a good chiropractor and some cortisone,  the pain subsided.

I think I can be pretty objective in saying that the people above me did not act in good faith,  but I know that I have a certain amount of responsibility to bear for it.   I was mostly hurt from them because I was looking for support.  They just didn’t know how to give it.    On top of that I held things strongly against them for not supporting me.  I allowed bitterness in.

For some reason maybe because the culture teaches it,  I have done a lot of support seeking from outside of myself from the leadership above me.    When I have had supportive leaders, I have thrived, but when people were not so encouraging,  I developed really bad attitudes with a lot of bitterness.     I wish that I had been more self-supporting in the past, but I wasn’t.   I suffered for it.   I guess I just had to learn the hard way.    The hard lesson for me is that leaders are just like everyone else only with power and authority.

I think that going for support from outside myself is a little bit like buying a lottery ticket.    You have about a one in a million chance to get it and even then it is only fleeting at best.   The real support is internal.

The habit that I have is based upon the belief that the leaders have the power to change things in an organization or in a country.   It is a huge myth largely perpetuated by themselves so that you will feel like they are so important.   The really humongous fact is that 99% of the time you are alone in your work.   It is you alone with the tasks or with the discussions.    They are not around and have little effect on the outcomes.   The outcomes of my work are always in my hands.  Even if the top leaders were to constantly encourage me and support what I am doing,  I am still the one doing the work.    I organize the experiences for my students and guide their interactions.     But the habit is to believe that the leaders are so important for the accomplishment of my goals.   The big wake up news for me is that they are not.   I am.

So what does my mind do.   First it imagines that they have a lot to do with my success.  It even sees them as big figures  much larger than me and believes that they can do so many positive things for me.    And then they always disappoint because the reality is that I am the big picture in my life.  They are very very tiny and insignificant.

So what does support look like inside then?  Here it is.   Support is seeing yourself as huge in relationship to the task.   You are huge inside and feel capable and confident to get the job done.   Others are non-existent in the image.  It is you as being large and the task small.  That is internal support.    This is what someone does when they are supportive.  They try to make you seem big so that you can do the task.

Here is how Baha’u’llah describes it to us.

Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form
When within thee the universe is folded?[1]

4 Comments on “What I Have Learned About Support?”

  1. Johanna,
    I like what you said about the youth. They are the group, that when included, change everything. Without them it is stagnation.

  2. Its so refreshing to read the words from your heart, to read about how you experience and learn from your daily activities and physical symptoms.
    Thank you so much for you capacity to share and your honesty that you reveal regarding yourself and your personal growth.
    Its interesting that no matter how far apart we are and how different our lives are, that there is a “current” of life lessons that we are all learning together…we here in Canada have just had a federal election. There is a large number of people who are awakening to the consciousness that it is not “them–those above us–the government etc” who have our interests at heart at all. One wishes that one day this could be attained, but at present there is not the spiritual consciousness present to put people before corporate control.
    Its time that we started caring about our communities and our country like we care about ourselves and our families.
    The other lesson that is paralleling this is that its not alright to yell and defame and backbite to prove one’s point, or gain power over others. This lesson occurred both in the media and the election campaign, with the people of the whole country decrying such behavior.
    Another point that was recognized was that youth feel they have no power and are therefore apathetic in participating in community.
    It was most heartening to see in our small community, the awakening of youth to participate in the election. Many community members encouraged the idea of voting with “heart”–ie voting for a person they believed had the integrity or dreams of community that they wished for, instead of a political party. When local election results came in and a woman of the highest ethics and integrity who refused to join in any form of slanderous, gossiping behavior won our riding the whole community experienced hope and joy…a new beginning, hopefully for our whole country.
    Learning to turn inward spiritually for our power and direction is such a huge lesson!
    It sure gives me hope to see I’m not alone in learning this lesson!
    PS> When my knees bother me, I am afraid of the future and trusting my Creator!!

  3. The main thing that I am trying to say is that humility is the virtue you need when you have major weaknesses. It helps by saying I really don’t know how to do this. I think that this is what you mean when you say you are a nobody and sinful.

    In this post I am saying that getting support from the Holy Spirit means getting internal support (spiritual) rather than support from the outside. The way to do this is to see that you were created with great gifts, that the Holy Spirit wants you to manifest them to help the people of the world. If you see them as nothing or sinful, then you cannot use them. If you see them as large and you as capable, then the Holy Spirit can guide you. It is why the research on encouragement says that we need a ratio of 5 to 1 positive to negative for children to feel like they are in a supportive environment. People that are in supportive environments feel like they have gifts that they can use.

    So you may have a gift for playing tennis. It is important then to feel like you are capable so that you will get out there and play your best. But you may have a weak forehand so you need humility to admit that it needs help like you are a nobody. By admitting to the weakness, the Holy Spirit can guide you to getting help to improve it.

    So really you need both. You need to see that you are nothing before God and also that God has put in you great gifts. In our culture we tend to make people feel like they are nothing a lot more than feeling like they are gifted by using a lot of criticism and fault-finding. When you feel criticized, you tend to go for support outside of yourself rather than feeling supported internally.

    In the way I do transformation work, the body is one of the main communicators. We use the body as a metaphor. The back is the metaphor for support so when you have back problems you know you are having an issue with not feeling supported. This means that you have a gift that you are not using very well. When you are listening to your body which has been created by God, it is like listen to God-given communication. It is an interesting way to deal with issues. Like what would it mean if you have bad knees?

  4. Many times I have thought about how our lives were so similiar when we were growing up and how different they are currently. The biggest difference is I know I’m a nobody and full of sin and sinfull thoughts. 40 some odd years ago I was purged and forgiven of these. I live today a free man, with peace and joy that was freely given to me, just by asking and submission to our Lord and Savior Jesus. He lives, He lives, He lives within my heart. The Holy Spirit guides me through all waters, both stormy and calm each and every day. I was transformed and live free, not needing support from the world. I’m free and have been released from the bondage of the world. You see, Jesus lives in my heart…

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