Can You Help Me?               


We live in a world filled with suggestions that someone or something can make our life complete. However, the real help we seek comes from the journey into our own unique spirit.


I belonged to a loving, supportive spiritual community in Ohio, where I participated in a monthly Sweat Lodge for several years. A man named Tim, who has become an important life-teacher and friend, was the Water Pourer. I learned a lot about myself and grew under his loving guidance and support. He helped me to find a different approach and understanding of my path and a new way of viewing the world around me. Also, through Tim’s support, I grew to know and understand one of the essential elements of my journey. I learned that we could meet people who could show us the road along the way. But, the ultimate decision for changing and growing or remaining static and stuck is our choice.  


One Sweat Lodge stands out in my mind, which brought me to this understanding. If you haven’t done a Sweat Lodge, let me share with you that each ceremony is different, with its own unique gift. During one of the hotter sweats, I was feeling a great deal of discomfort on every level. The Lodge was dark and very hot. I was sweating buckets, and my heart was racing. I thought I was going to pass out. It was at this point that I knew I had two options. One was to bail, ask for the door to be opened and just leave the ceremony. The other was to do something that didn’t come easy for me. And that was to ask for help. So, I shouted out, “Tim can you help me?” He said, “no.” 


“No,” I heard myself repeating. “No,” as in you are not going to help me? “No,” as in you don’t want to help me? Or, “no,” as in you don’t know what to do for me? After all, my ego assured me, hadn’t I done the right thing by asking for help? Or, was I begging again, I asked myself, wondering which ego voice was speaking. I have a history with a couple of different voices within me. Whichever voice was speaking, there wasn’t time to stay with that kind of self-talk. The ceremony continued. Translated, that means Tim added more water to the already glowing rocks in the center of the Lodge. More heat, more steam. The moment for discussion and decision had passed.  


Later, as I looked back on this particular day, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was thinking. After all, what could Tim really do for me?  The purpose of a Sweat Lodge is similar to any other ceremony I participate in; it is a mirror of my life. By going to the Lodge, I was presented with an opportunity to bathe in reflecting the light of my own life. I clearly saw how I handled part of my life in this instance. My question for Tim, asking for help, reflected the expectations and limitations I have placed on my own life. I came face-to-face with the not-so-hidden, childlike desire for someone to help me – to make my life and me different. Yet, in my consciousness is a knowing that I am the only one who can make those decisions.