Though I’m not a fan of her music, I do love the passion, courage and creativity with which Amanda Palmer approaches life! Her TED Talk – The Art of Asking – released earlier this month was a powerful example of this.

I was deeply moved by this video, and yet for a while I couldn’t articulate why – where was the resonance?

Weeks later I’m still being drawn back to it, and some of those resonant places are clearer!

Recognizing our shared powerful desire for belonging and connection came easily. I know the enormous power of a moment of human connection. Simply through eye gazing or a touch we can experience a sense of belonging. If only for a moment, in being seen by another member of our human family, we get that we’re not alone.

The vulnerability of seeing and being seen I was able to embrace, but there was this other piece that felt much more tricky for me – the vulnerability in asking for what I want. Over the years I’ve learned to ask for those things I really need, but the idea of feeling a desire, and vulnerably standing and saying “I’ve just realized this is something I’d love to have/experience” seems much more challenging!

For years now I’ve participated in and been on the support team for HAI (Human Awareness Institute) workshops. One of the things I’ve learned there (at least cognitively!) is the value of being willing to ask for 100% of what I want 100% of the time, being prepared to hear ‘no’, and negotiating a win:win. To be clear, for me this asking is not from a place of neediness or begging, but an expression of intimacy as appropriate for the relationship.

When I’m asking from that place, a win:win response could be a ‘yes’, or a ‘no’, or we might choose to co-create a different alternative. Whatever the response, the deepening trust and intimacy in opening to this vulnerable connection is in itself a win.

In watching Amanda’s TED Talk video I could feel how far I was from embodying this. When I ask for what I’d love to receive – especially with those closest to me, I’ve felt like I’m opening myself up big time. My younger self gets anxious and I hear or feel her contracting, not wanting to be too much. She repeats the words she’s heard so often. “We have lots!” she says, “life is really so good, don’t be greedy!”

Over these last weeks as I’ve sat and witnessed her experience and soothed this younger part of me, I’ve recognized that at the core of her fear was the feeling that my asking was begging, and there was shame in there. The deeper truth I hadn’t recognized, acknowledged, or come to trust – as Amanda had – is that the moment of vulnerable human connection is in itself of great value and a very fair exchange.

From this space of really getting the value of the gift of asking, even though I’m not likely to actually crowd surf like Amanda, I’m committed to expanding my capacity to both access and speak those deep desires that life is wanting to express through me!

What about you?! I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas.

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!