It seems like lately I’ve had a lot of nights where I stayed up wondering how to “fix” tomorrow so that it would be a day to look forward to, an exciting day, and not just "another day." I was desperate for tomorrow to be different. I made a lot of changes, like going to the prayer room at the hospital first thing in the morning before I started work, and it certainly helped, but each night kind of just felt the same no matter what I did. I felt fully responsible for this emptiness and I didn't understand how to fix it. Then one night this week I was in the middle of a 31 hour shift and I was just ecstatic. It’s a feeling that I’ve missed so much. I started talking to one of my colleagues and it was clear that while he was barely keeping his eyes open, I had so much energy I was nearly bouncing off the walls. He asked me where this energy came from. A large part of it was certainly helping to deliver a baby for the first time- nothing can beat that excitement. The rest of it was the fact that I was happy that I was part of a team that treated me with respect and I felt like I belonged. I was able to function to maximum capacity instead of being in survival mode.
I think maybe because our society focuses so much on the need to be independent, and that a "strong" person does things on their own, that I started to tell myself that I shouldn’t need to rely on anyone. I thought that I could just keep praying and get some peace so my environment doesn’t bother me anymore, simple...Not that simple! You don't just do simran in one day and then suddenly the toxic work environment doesn't affect you. It takes patience and practice, and its a process that you need lots of support for. That’s the purpose of sangat, because as humans we all need connection, love, respect, and trust. Connecting is the process of having someone sit with you while you are processing what you are going through and just listening and offering to be there and pray with you and do simran with you. They are part of your healing. When I’m scared I like to hide in my turtle shell, but its when I need people the most and those who care will climb into the shell with you if you let them. It is scary to let yourself really be seen- for all the flaws, the emptiness, the hardship, and to reach out. Everyone likes to be in control, and when you step out for help you are trusting someone else with that. There have been times in my life when I simply said, I need you, but the words were so hard because I didn't want to need. I wanted to be able to do everything myself, and also because I was scared that the answer would be no. I learned that I can survive no matter what the answer is, and also that in order to get support and to trust someone you need to let go of the fear, the pride, and the control. Even when we go to Guru Ji, we need to give over our own mat and accept Gurmat.
I am still kind of making sense of all of this, but realizing that its increasingly important for me to just take in the opportunities and the times that I do get deep connections with people, even if those are one second of someone being able to just “see me” and appreciating it. In December I sang a poem about the Sahibzaade at the Gurdwara and a few days later an Uncle ji came up to me and he gave me this picture of the Sahibzaade. He told me that he felt I needed to have it. It touched my heart because it was an exchange of human understanding that he had “seen me” and understood. This moment is especially close to my heart now that Uncle Ji has passed. With all the deaths I have seen in the last two months it just continually reminds me that our time in this human form is limited. Whoever you have in your life that "sees you" and values you, no matter how long they are there, remember to love them fully and climb into that shell with them when they need it. Those moments are special and you'll never regret having reached out, having cared, having listened. Even one day of trust and respect and connection can mean the world of difference because it is universal to both want and need to be supported and feel understood.
“God’s slaves are God’s saints and comrades, meeting with whom doubt is dispelled.” (Ang 1264)
P.S. Don’t forget about simran upstairs on Sundays at 1 pm!