On the 30 Jan this year there were a total of 17 fires burning across the South of WA as well as the most horrible fires in both the Pemberton district and around Boddington. My Husband, Martin , is a member of the volunteer fire brigade and is involved with helping to fight these fires.
This got me thinking about the importance of community. If you have ever been involved in one of these fires or any other emergency situation you will know that a natural disaster brings together everyone in a community. The community support at these times of emergency is tremendous. Social media lights up with offers of help offering places to stay, horse floats attached to cars ready to go, safe paddock for adjustment of horses and stock and trucks with fire fighting units attached with volunteers ready to help. This is not including the large numbers of volunteer and paid fire-fighters, and the all important providers of food and drink to sustain those involved. The community spirit at these times is inspiring.
This is when you will really experience community spirit at it’s best. There is strength in this togetherness, this common focus, however this is not always the case. I’d like to tell you a little story to illustrate connection and the importance of being connected. A few years ago an intense storm went through our property and in the morning it looking like we’d been hit by a cyclone, there were branches all over the pace. On out property we have a large area on one of the boundaries which is thickly covered in trees. After this storm, some of the trees had been snapped in half and branches blown off, but not one of the trees had been blown over, however there was a single tree in the middle of one of the paddocks and this tree had been completely uprooted.
This is such a good example of how important that community spirit really is. When we stand together we can draw our strength from each other and together we can form a really strong base from which to build up the communities we live in. If we support and encourage each other and figuratively hold each others hand in times of trouble, how much more connected we would be like it used to be in times gone by. It always amazes me that in these days where there are so many ways that we can keep in contact with each other, phones which we all carry with us all the time, social media, like Facebook where we can have 100’s of ‘friends’, Skype and face time etc. etc, we as a society are more disconnected than ever before.
How many of you really know your neighbours? When was the last time you really sat and connected with someone? In the cities, houses are virtually on top of each other but we are so isolated most people don’t even know the names of their neighbours. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for nearly 15 years and there are still people that I don’t know.
We are all so very busy that we forget that there may be someone who is just longing to connect. I read some shocking statistics recently. These were recorded in 2012 and were the most up to date statistics available about suicide rates in Australia. You can imagine these figures are probably even more frightening now.
These statistics stated that suicide is one of the leading causes of death between the ages of 15 and 44. There is on average seven deaths by completed suicide every day. More that 200 people attempt suicide every day which in real terms means there are more than one new attempt every 10 minutes.
On top of that around 250 people make an actual suicide plan every day and that is not including the 1,000’s of people who think about suicide every day and the frightening reality is that these statistics are taken from those who actually admit to having these thoughts, what about the 1000’s of others who don’t talk about what they are feeling.
Isolation and loneliness and eat away at your soul and can rot you from the inside out. What is the remedy for this? Connection and community. Reach out.
After a natural disaster has ravaged the land and everyone has gone home again, don’t forget those who have lost everything. Reach out and offer your support. Sometimes it just means a phone call. This is not only after there has been a big disaster, it can be after everyday occurrences.
My uncle recently passed away, and my aunt remarked on the fact that for about 3 weeks after he passed she was inundated with people calling, popping in, sending her flowers, making her meals etc., and then it just stopped and everyone got on with their lives, and she was left totally alone in her grief. All of a sudden she was in the middle of a city, but completely alone.
Fortunately she is a strong lady and she was able to reach out for support, but there are many many people out there who haven’t got the courage to reach out. Like that poor tree standing all on it’s own in the middle of my paddock, which without the support of the other trees around it, succumbed to the raging winds, while the ones that were within the strength of the other trees were able to stand up to the winds and the storm.
So my challenge to you this week is to reach out and connect. If it’s been a while since you called your neighbour why not pick up the pone and give them a buzz. If you don’t know your neighbour now would be an opportunity to make that contact. Go over and introduce yourself.
If you are the one that is alone and feeling isolated then you make that call. You can do this on the pretence of finding out how they are. If you really are struggling with life in general, get in touch with a professional. Your GP, a counsellor, a psychologist, someone that you can just talk to.
Going to see a therapist doesn’t mean that you are weak, rather it means that you are starting to take control of your life. It is actually a sign of strength that you are taking control and are no longer prepared to live in misery and pain and are reaching out for support. Having worked in the counselling field for many years and having gone through crippling depression myself for many years I can only encourage you to reach out. I always encourage my clients to get involved. Maybe do some volunteer work or join a social club.
Reach out, lets make WA into a land of strong supportive community spirit. I would love to take this opportunity to challenge each person listening today to reach out, reconnect, say hello. In conclusion I would love to get a bit of feedback from the listeners on what you would like me to talk about. This is your show and I’m open to suggestions.
I am passionate about inspiring connection. Real connection with self which allows you to explore your inner strength and inner beauty. I empower people through knowledge and tools to reconnect and build strong and authentic relationships with friends and loved ones.
I aim to inspire courage in people to take charge of their own lives and make the changes that need to be made to live happy and fulfilling lives. I do this through one to one coaching sessions and small educational workshops. Let’s make this year the year of connection.
You can cconnect with me on firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook here. If you would like to know more about me you can about my story here.
If you would like to ask any questions please feel free to connect with me .