Since I discovered that I have ADHD a few months ago, I have started the steep learning curve of understanding what it means for me. I have read many books, listened to many podcasts, and been in various support groups online. This exploration is showing me something very clear: that I am, and have always been, very hard on myself. I am starting to see more clearly how this pattern plays up in my life.
One of the ways it manifests is that it makes me blind to my gifts (what comes to me easily), and hard on myself I could do better, work harder, do more etc.
For example, in the summer I attended a friend’s birthday. As it was fairly short notice I didn’t have the time to craft the gift I would have liked to make for her (a shamanic rattle). Instead I collected some items in my house I knew she would like, and gifted them to her. She was delighted with them but I couldn’t help but feel this wasn’t quite what I wanted to give. I attended a dance retreat last month. I had planned to bake a cake but I ran out of time so I made a chia chocolate pudding instead, because it was quicker. Many people approached me asking for the recipe, as they found it incredibly delicious. I was amazed as I contemplated the contrast between my standards (how I was judging myself for making what felt like a cop-out, versus the reaction people gave me).
For as long as I can remember, I have been a nurturer. It’s no wonder I became a doula, and it’s no wonder I became a healer. Because these things come to me easily, I tend to forget about the many caring acts I have done for other people. Because it comes to me so easily that I don’t think it’s a big deal. I wrote about this in my blog post Do you confuse productivity with effort?
This week-end I had an even deeper learning moment about this in the most beautiful touching way. Knowing how much I am struggling with my mental health at the moment, a group of friends from my local conscious dancing community got together and organised a healing ceremony for me.
When I arrived at my friend’s house, the first thing I saw was a massage table laid with several rebozos on top of it. I asked “where did you get all these rebozos?” and they reminded me that I had gifted them to them over the last couple of years. I had completely forgotten that I had done that. I also noticed deep discomfort at the idea of being at the receiving end of such love and care, like somehow I didn’t deserve it. I noticed how I am more comfortable in giving than in receiving.
My friends had made an altar. They held me as I cried, they invited me to pick a couple of beautiful tarot cards, which were placed on the altar. They held me, wrapped me with the rebozos, massaged me, and drummed over me as I laid on the massage table. Nobody has ever done anything like this for me before.
After the ritual I felt soft and warm and deeply loved and cared for. Then we read the tarot cards, and we had tea with a cake they had baked for me. I left my friend’s house with a deep sense of joy and gratitude. I felt loved, and belonging, and deeply cared for.
It felt like such a beautiful example of a kindness boomerang. An example of how blind we can be about the love we put into people, and how it can come back to us in the most beautiful and unexpected way. My friends also reminded me that they were able to give me this ritual because I had taught it to them (I taught it for free as part of the dance retreat, the one where I didn’t bake a cake…).
Does this resonate? Do you too notice that you are blind to your gifts, that you dismiss them as not being a big deal because they come easily to you? If so I invite you to share stories in the comments, and also to notice this pattern in your life, so you can be more gentle on yourself.