This past winter, LES Speaker, Deirdre Faye, travelled to India to attend an Ayurvedic Retreat. Along the way, she encountered a band of women tea pickers and was reminded once again of our shared humanity:
A note for you from Deidre’s e-newsletter:
There are things we all need, so common to our humanity that we often don’t even think of them.
Unless those common needs have been mirrored, validated, and appreciated we don’t value them.
Many of us (and you, like me, might have had those common needs scoffed at, shamed, or humiliated). Needs like being reassured, calmed, guided, soothed, attuned to, seen and known, supported through conflict into having a more solid, secure connection with others and life.
On my recent three week retreat in the tea plantations of the Nilgiri Mountains of south central India I literally came face to face with this inherent need.
I was walking through the many tea plantations enjoying the quiet serenity when I saw this group of women tea pickers.
Waving to them I was surprised to have them indicate to me to come closer.
Sweetly and joyfully they wanted to teach me what they do. They proudly showed me the two leaves and a bud that they were each picking off the top of the plant.
(Amazing to learn that there are only two main varieties of tea plant in the world. It’s where it’s grown and how tea is processed that we have white, green, black or oolong tea…and the 1,500 or so types of tea that ‘flow’ from that …. but that’s a different story.)
This story is about the fundamental needs that we all have.
The woman on the far right side of the picture above asked me to take a picture of them.
She laughed as she said it, looking around at the others as they moved closer, saying she wanted it to be on a postcard. We smiled at each other and I agreed to share the picture as a form of postcard, a digital memento, with my community.
I obliged with a grateful heart for all the work they do bringing tea to the world.
It was only later, sitting with her words, that the universal truth hit me.
We all want to be seen and known.
It’s one of the fundamental attachment needs that I learned fifteen years ago from my mentor in attachment theory, Daniel Brown.
Wanting to be on a postcard – wanting to exist, to be seen, to be valued.
How essential are those needs to each and every one of us.
And, if we don’t have those fundamental needs met, or worse, we are shamed and humiliated for having those basic mammalian needs, we draw into painful states to ward off the hurt and native disappointment.
For those of us who didn’t have those needs met, in order to ward off the intensity of shame and distress that inevitably arises, we need to cultivate attachment-compassion, the compassion for ourselves for being human, for needing to love and be loved, to have kindness, to feel safely connected in order to be fully embodied.
To honor her request to have her picture become a postcard I posted on our modern digital postcard vehicles: Instagram https://www.instagram.com/
dfaypics/and facebook https://facebook.com/ healingattachment.
When I realized this was an important attachment need at work, so spontaneously spoken through her, I went back through the hills, looking for her.
The tea plantations are vast. The people working on them shift locations day to day as they only pick those top, fresh, two leaves and a bud.
I wanted to show her the picture and posts, the “postcard”, and all the comments and love she was getting.
I never found her again, yet I know this person will always live in my heart, gifted by her pure expression.
It’s one of the reasons I love to be with people, whether out in the tea plantations of India or in a workshop anywhere in the world.
When any of us connect, and especially when we are authentically resonating about both how hard the journey can be and the strength that comes from compassionate relationship, goodness grows.
I saw this, yet again, recently, when I wrote the newsletter, “Even in Paradise I can get triggered.”
My email was flooded with responses, there are still so many I need to write back to. I took a deep breath and even posted it on Facebook because it seemed to make such a difference (that takes courage!) If you haven’t seen the post, take a look at it. Here’s the link to it