Week 10: connectedness
Our experiment was to help a stranger every day. Like many this is part of my life...not stalking strangers as I endeavour to help them and then give myself a lovely pat on the back...but just being aware of others and helping where I can. Yes, I suppose I reached out every day, but I didn't keep a tally, it's just part of my life.
I live in a rural Yorkshire town. Living here for 17 years means it is my home. Walking around town many people acknowledge each other, chat to others if waiting in a queue or crossing a tricky road. There are children I don't know but I have seen them grow up, I recognise their resemblance to siblings, parents, grandparents. Working in a school brings another community, there are many students I don't teach but we say good morning, would chat at the photocopier or in the lunch queue.
Connectedness is crucial to me, an openness towards others - to how you can help, to how others are feeling, to being curious about them. This experiment made me slightly sad that anyone would have to 'work' at it- surely it is basic good manners? But I know I find empathy easy and I also live in a small town, work in a relatively small environment and have reached that time in my life when I have lost my fear and inhibitions when interacting with (most) others.
For those who find connecting with others more challenging, who find it hard to read the cues, I would hope you realise how much life can be enriched by looking out for those around us. This connectedness is so crucial: in our day and age more crucial than ever. To feel you are part of something bigger than yourself and to remember how it feels to need help in what ever way it is needed. It doesn't have to be grand - a smile, to listen, to be aware, to donate. I hope to whatever power that is within us and around us that this awareness of how we can help will continue through the generations and we all have it at the heart of our lives and that fear or apathy doesn't get in the way.