No Telepathy Required

I remember a scene from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle.” Tom Hanks’s character is on the phone with the radio call-in show talking about his late wife, and Meg Ryan is in her car listening to the call. He describes how it felt to fall in love, and he says, “It was like…,” and they both say together, from 3,000 miles away, “…magic.” The magic of knowing and being known. Finding the missing piece of the puzzle. Discovering your person. These beautiful images of early love offered in movies and books fill my psyche. The ease of finding “the one” who sees you for who you are, knows your heart, and just “gets” you. Even if you take romance out of it, who doesn’t want this kind of love?!?! Easy magical connection with partners, friends, children, co-workers.  Love as telepathy! 

As a coach, I see every day how people want to be understood with ease. We want someone to see our needs and jump in to support us. We use lots of terms to define this. Sometimes we say it is “Doing the right thing,” or “Paying attention,” or even “Getting your head out of your *$$.” In reality, we want to be seen and understood…and loved, without having to explain ourselves. In fact, I hear so many people say, “If I have to tell you what I want, it makes it less valuable when you do it.” The closer the relationship, the more we crave this kind of magical knowing.

On the flip side, most of us want to know how to love others the right way with ease. We are looking for the rulebook or handbook of love. “Love Languages,” “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” “How to Hug a Porcupine.” Shelves are filled with books attempting to explain how to love someone. We want answers. We want to develop telepathy. We want to love the right way, with value. We want to develop telepathy. We want to be powerfully magical in our ability to love!

This month I am thinking about self-care. (Okay, I’m ALWAYS thinking about self-care, but this month, I’m thinking “out loud.”) Self-compassion is the foundation of real self-care. In her book, “Real Self-Care,” Dr. Lakshmin defines “real” and “faux” self-care. Real self-care, she writes, is a verb. It is an action. The action begins with knowing what you are actually needing, then taking action to meet that need. One of my nonviolent communication mentors says, to get your needs met, you can make a request of: yourself, the person in front of you, or anyone living on the planet. I love how expansive that feels, but I am always struck by the “make a request” part. Telling someone what I need and giving them a clear, specific request to support me feels so radical in the face of our cultural value of telepathy. Making a request demystifies the process. Making a request lets us both feel good. You know what I need, so you can help me get what I need, so you feel effective and I feel whole and… isn’t that a kind of ….”magic.” 

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy steps up to the wizard during their first meeting and says, “We’ve come to ask you…,” but he interrupts her with, “The Great and Powerful Oz knows why you have come!” Then, instead of meeting their requests, he sends them on an impossible mission. Later, when he is unmasked, we learn he is afraid he can’t satisfy them because he has no magic. It is only when they put magic aside that they all get what they need. In this honesty, the wizard even gets a chance to go home. No magic, just vulnerability. (I know, Dorothy ultimately uses magic to get home, but metaphors aren’t perfect.)

Real self-care can feel boring. No magic words. No rides on flying monkeys. Just feeling whole and cared for and connected. Caring for myself also cares for you. Real self-care changes our relationships, or work, our lives, and the systems we live in. Real self-care brings its own magic to change the world.

I’d love to have you join me in this conversation this month. Read the book with us. Join the Facebook group, and, if you want some interpreting CEUs, register here:

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