In thinking about talismans, I have invariably found myself thinking about people. I guess that's inevitable: I tend to associate the specific power of physical objects with their maker or giver.
However, I have also been thinking about the people in my life who are like talismans themselves, representing a particular quality that I am keen to call upon when I need support or a sounding board, or when I need my own strength and wisdom reflected back at me.
It seems to me that I have been given to underestimate the value of this of late, confused by the fog of unwellness, martyrdom, resentment and unworthiness. But there have been very compelling signs that certain aspects of particular relationships offer a blindingly powerful source of love that I often don't allow myself to tap.
Take, for example, my sister. I didn't think to call her when I was unwell recently. There were all sorts of "logical" reasons for this. My sister works full-time and is busy. She doesn't live all that close by and she doesn't have a car. She was also unwell herself. But something nagged at me to send her a friendly email, asking how she was, then tentatively mentioning something that had upset me and asking for her advice. This resulted in a protracted, earnest, emotional and compassionate exchange that left me with the most incredible sense of peace and connection.
I realised that I hadn't contacted her because she wouldn't have been able to offer practical support. But what she could have offered, and what she has always provided unconditionally, was empathy and acceptance. My sister gets me. She is always in my corner. And, as she pointed out, when we disagree on things, we usually know why.
In so many ways, this would have been so much more valuable than practical support. So why didn't I seek her out in the first instance? Why did I deny myself her wisdom and kindness and gorgeous humour and perspective? What compelled me to disregard one form of support, just because I wouldn't receiving other (perhaps more obvious) forms?
This week, I invite you to think of the various people in your life who represent important qualities that you value and admire and perhaps wish to cultivate (or recognise) in yourself. But I would also like to encourage you to refine the filter that you use to identify the people and qualities in question. Where would a more nuanced analysis be valuable? Could it be that people you would not ordinarily consider -- because they can't offer you the a, b, c that you require -- are being overlooked even though they could provide you with x, y, z? What are the reasons that would prevent you from accessing these important things?
Would these people really be reluctant or afraid or confused or upset if you expressed the needs that you know they would be able to meet? Could it be possible that they haven't made the first step because they haven't quite realised the depth of what you are experiencing and they also have a fair bit of their own stuff going on... but they would actually be proud and relieved and excited to be able to share this part of you? And that, by seeing your vulnerabilities and fears, they might also feel less confused and alone?
Recent experience has shown me that reaching out can reap extraordinary rewards. And it can also enable me to shine a tiny light on a deeply hidden part of myself that I did not feel worthy of sharing.
I'd love to know your thoughts and experiences on this.
You are worthy of the love you need, even if it's not the love you think you deserve.