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Are You OK?

A while back, I came across a blog entry via Twitter that brought attention to an Australian social campaign called R U OK? It promotes starting conversations to let people know that they are cared about and to help them voice things that are not OK in their lives so that help can be provided before a situation becomes a crisis. It’s a beautifully simple concept really, and one that could realistically save a life.

This morning, I was reminded of this campaign as I was sitting on my front step waking up with a cup of coffee. This is a small community so most people know each other. When a car drove up slowly into my neighbor’s driveway, I noticed it of course but did not think much of it until the door opened and no one got out. The elderly man in the driver’s seat sat there for a few minutes and then put his head down, chin-to-chest, occasionally looking around then putting his head back down for a couple minutes. From this angle, he was acting as I’ve seen people with dementia act when they are confused, not knowing quite where they are or why.

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Alarmed, I got up but he picked his head back up and reached for something in his car. He seemed OK for the moment but I kept watching. After a few minutes of him just sitting there, his head began to sink again, so I went inside to get my phone in case I needed to call anyone. I headed over to his car and quietly asked him, “Are you OK?”

Startled, he jumped and stared at me for a moment before angrily telling me, “I’m napping!” The tone of voice made me take a step back and apologize, telling him I didn’t know if he needed help and I was just checking on him. He nodded then, and turned to put his head back down.

Since this was not anyone who lived there or anyone I had ever seen, I kept watch from my front step for about 10 minutes longer. Finally, he got out of the car and slowly made it to the front door where my neighbors apparently knew him and they helped him in. I apologized for startling him and was thanked with a smile and a wave that communicated to me, “It’s OK.”

Even though everything was OK this time, there may be a time that someone does really need help. The responsibility falls on all of us to be aware of the situations around us and to be proactive, asking even a total stranger… “Are you OK?”

From Silence Came Wisdom

In Response To: Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound Of Silence

In life, I am a very sound-sensitive individual. Certain pitches and volumes that would normally just annoy most people physically hurt at times. Too many differing sounds make me want to cover my ears and scream (perfect example: heavy metal music or a loud television with unpredictable shifts in volume).

Several years ago, when I was actively involved in meeting with my spiritual guide on the astral plane through meditation, I was sitting in my apartment one night about to crawl out of my skin. I ran to the back of the building to escape the noises of the air conditioner, the TV and the cars outside…

I closed my eyes and immediately sought my Guide who was waiting for me and he tells me, “Let me be your peace.” He takes me into his arms piece by piece, frequency by frequency, we shut out all the noise. In silence, he has me spiritually enter a tall, strong oak tree in my neighbor’s back yard and I become one with it. He tells me to hear the heartbeat of the tree.

I say: I know this tree.

He says: “You know because you feel . You feel because you are. Now, what do you feel?”

I say: I feel the heartbeat, which pulses once in a year. Once in a season. The roots swell with the rains and with the force of life which will push up into new leaves and blooms. I feel its slow strength. I feel its serenity. I feel every memory. I feel the cold earth surrounding my feet. I feel my arms reaching high in its branches toward the sun. I feel the energies it draws in and those it puts out. I feel the force of life ever flowing. I feel the dark stillness inside the heartwood. I feel the rush of the wind. I feel the complexity of its internal patterns. I feel its age. I feel it holding strong to its will to survive. I feel its faith. I feel its health and its dis-ease. I feel its healed scars. I feel its perseverance. I feel its slow pulse and the reason for its longevity. I feel its patience.

My Guide tells me: “In the end, what you feel is the secret of life. You truly are awakened. You know. This is your wisdom – the way to peace, to knowledge, to those things that you cannot learn from man. You are one with nature, and it is one with you. This tree has allowed you inside its very core. It knows you are of good will, and it knows you possess the Gift. The others will all feel the mark of its energies within you, now that you have joined it as one. You are indeed a very special, precious child. I told you in the beginning you were gifted. Now you understand… this is what I meant. This is why you are here, because all your senses are in tune with the nature that surrounds you. In silence, you can communicate with nearly everything. Many of us cannot. Many of us only possess a special connection with certain entities but you, my dear, you have the ability to hear the trees, the spirits of nature, the spirits of men, the spirits of all that surrounds you.”

My Guide continues: “I know that you have lost faith in men (people), but do not lose faith in nature, for that is what you are here to protect. Mankind has destroyed itself and now settles into its death. Nature… it will survive, but it will need to be healed and to be able to heal it, we must be able to understand its needs above what we can already see with our eyes. We must also apply our minds to the energies it gives us and decode its secrets with an understanding that very few have managed to achieve.”

From silence came wisdom and with wisdom, the ability to understand the world around me with closed eyes and an open mind. Sometimes after all, we must close our eyes to truly see.