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Asking for Help Without Shame or Fear

Suffering is a big word, and a very popular one in Buddhism. I know many people who’d say that they are not suffering even though they experience jealousy, anger, regret, sorrow and many more emotions and thoughts that, simply, cause us suffering.

When I heard that concept for the first time on my first meditation retreat back in 2001, I understood it. Intellectually. But a few years later, on another retreat in the desert, where I finally dived into the pain of my childhood traumas, I couldn’t stop crying for about five days, I couldn’t bring food into my mouth, and I knew that suffering is not the star of a drama movie but a guest in our daily life.

Suffering is narrow like the birth canal. In both we get pushed through to different spheres. While in birthing our wisdom we’re pushed into the spaciousness of life, in suffering we lose touch with spaciousness, drowning in the loneliness of a dark, narrow room.

Getting caught in the turmoil of our own difficulty parches our point of view until all that is left is a slit through which the single thing our vision can land on is that “my problem is special because….. and it’ll be so difficult (or probably impossible) for another to understand or help me because…”. I fall into this trap at least twice a day.

It goes without saying that our lives are different in colour, texture, intensity. But I haven’t yet met a person who doesn’t know what loneliness is, how anger tastes, what the sensation of disappointment is, where the hiding place of shame is and how many furrows on our forehead measure out our worry. Suffering, in all its shapes and colours, is human. It connects us more than we can admit.

One of the most common isolating experiences I know, and hear a lot of from my Life Alignment clients and meditation students, is the thought that “if I’ve learned so much about myself, and I have healed so many parts within myself, and I’ve invested such a lot in getting help, then I must be able to deal with my difficulties by myself. Shouldn’t I?!”

This is an illusive thought born out of a society that admires individualism to the extent of severing itself from the first principle of life we learn in birth:

We all need help, from birth to death

Each time you move forward from an old pain, pattern and achievement, you advance towards a fresh threshold where new questions, decisions, dreams and aspirations are waiting for you patiently. They all kiss the unknown.

We’re not supposed to control the unknown but to merge with it. Any thought starting with “I should” will end in loneliness, severance or contraction. And any request for help will be answered.

Help is the glow of a night star

Help is the brittleness of a cloud

Help is the lightness of a falling leaf

Help is a breath that breathes for life

Asking for help — how to feel safe in doing so, when is the right time, what to do if the helper doesn’t help us, are just a few of the juicy elements Andrina and I discuss in the latest episode of her Life Curation podcast.


And if you’d like to expand your resources for dealing with pain and growing into joy, there’s still space in the Deepening meditation group.

What’s Deepening in a nutshell:

A closed meditation group that meets twice a month for an hour-and-a-half to learn from the Buddhist teachings, to practice meditation and to converse with like-hearted people.

Participation is based on pay-from-the-heart

You’re asked to hold the intention to participate for at least six months so there is more stability for the group and a sense of community can be cultivated.

If you’re not sure about it, no pressure, you can join once and then decide.

Zürich group — Three spots left. Every other Monday 18.00-19.30

Online group — new group. Six spots left. Every other Tuesday 18.00-19.30 CET

Here’s what Zuzana from the group says:

“Shelly‘s deepening sessions are islands in my busy life. Islands that I look forward to landing onto and retire, relax and let go of all the scattered energies of every day's hustle, islands that provide the space and creativity for explorations of how to live in the here and now.

The exchange with the group brings in a variety of perspectives on ultimately the same daily issues and longings and helps to unearth them and explore possible ways of dealing with them. In a loving and caring way Shelly has the incredible ability to unravel intricate knots, pinpoint root causes and offer crystal clear guidance on possibilities how to embrace change and nourish the neglected and fragile. The sessions spark creativity and confidence and have helped me connecting my head to my body, allowing me to feel more 'at home' with myself.”

Join by applying to make sure we are what you are looking for and vice versa. Write me an email, tell me about your meditation practice and whether you’re interested in the Zurich or online group.


Shelly's helping women who live a connected & engaged life to heal old wounds, deepen their self-trust so they can be an authentic expression of themselves.

Learn more about Life Alignment


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