Do You Know Your Neighbours?
A few weeks ago I was woken in the middle of the night by loud banging on my bedroom window. At first I felt quite frightened because it sounded like whoever it was outside really wanted to get in, and at 2am I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of opening my front door, not knowing who would be on the other side. I noticed I had slipped into a place of fear, so I checked in with my intuition about what action to take – although the banging sounded aggressive, the energy behind it felt desperate. Could it be someone needing help?
I decided there was only one way to find out. As I opened the door I heard a weak voice shouting “Help me, help me”, crouched around the corner I found a very frail 94 year old lady in her nightie and stocking soles, who had wandered out of her home, become disorientated and was in a state of complete panic. She took my arm with sincere gratitude and I invited her in to my home for a cup of tea. Once she had calmed down we had a little chat.
The little lady told me how she lived alone, family all grown up and moved away. She no longer knew any of her neighbours and felt lonely and afraid, confused by the constant changes going on in the street around her. I managed to find out where she lived, take her back to her cosy bed, tuck her in and call her care service who were due to visit a few hours later.
When I was a child neighbours looked after neighbours, almost like an extended family. Times are changing and our communities are no longer as they were. Our population is more transient. Many of us have broken off from our original communities and forgotten to honour the value that communities hold. Building connections with others is important for our collective evolution. We have far more power when we come together as groups, rather than standing alone. Technology is enabling us to form such connections in other ways, using virtual tools like Facebook and Twitter, but we don’t get close contact in this way- this means it has become harder for us to reach out and ask for help when we need it.
Do you find it hard to ask for help? It is a common issue, especially for women (like me and you) who have a habit of doing too much. We have become accustomed to proving that we can multi-task, be independent and do it for ourselves. We tie our value up with how much we get done in a day and how many things we are solely responsible for. We get caught in an illusion of control, feeling like we have to control everything in our lives and that we can not ask for help, because that would mean handing over the reins (and therefore also the control) to someone else.
For this to change we need to open our hearts, release our struggle and start reaching out to others to ask for help. As we get better at doing this, our connections with other people will strengthen, our ability to form communities will return and we will increase the collective energy of our groups as we learn once again to value the gift of receiving help and in turn being in service to those around us.