Like many people over the course of the pandemic, I’ve become very socially isolated. While I’m grateful for the myriad of online opportunities and meetups, for me personally, they don’t replace in-person contact or leave me with the same depth of connection or degree of fulfilment.
I was glad, therefore, that on a recent weekend, a meetup group I’d been a member of for a while but hadn’t met with for a long time, opted for a session on the patio of a restaurant. It was a chilly day, and though the heat lamps provided were valiant in their efforts, they didn’t succeed in providing much warmth. However, a dozen of us huddled at the tables in our jackets, scarves and hats.
In the conversations that followed, I didn’t feel that I was really connecting with anyone in terms of them ‘getting where I was at.’ However, there was one woman I felt drawn towards for some reason. When we finally spoke, I discovered that, like me, she has a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s, but was earlier on in the journey of care. After listening for a while to her story, I found that I could provide her with some suggestions and advice, based on my own experience.
This act of helping immediately boosted my energy and made me feel less alone. Though I had wanted someone to listen to my problems, by listening to those of another and offering what I had to give, I suddenly felt completely full. It’s a strange paradox, to receive by giving, but one that always seems to ring true.
For me, the way it works is that the universe has an infinite source of love readily available when we open ourselves up to it. When we offer our help to another with kindness, courage and compassion – the wellspring of our humanity – we become an embodiment of this pure love, and so it fills us up.
This is why I feel grateful whenever opportunities arise where I can give, both in pre-arranged volunteering, but also in spontaneous encounters, because I know that these opportunities will nourish and fulfil me, connecting me in a way that I am indivisible from my whole environment.