Programme for the week commencing 21st February, 2013.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the issue of mental health, or mental ‘disorder’ as it is now often referred to, and the effects on our society. The ‘disorder’, or ‘dis ease’ (the gap is intentional) is something that many of us, to a lesser or greater extent, have or will experience during our lives, as trauma, stress or chemical imbalance affects us. However even after so many years of it being first diagnosed, the stigma and discrimination it evokes continues to make it a secretive state of unwell.

This, in turn, got me thinking of my love of crystals and how I have used these at various times in my life when I have experienced trauma, grief and, yes, depression. I have been fortunate that I seem to have been born with an innate love of shells, pebbles and semi precious (wholly precious to me!) stones. As a child I would spend hours scouring the beach during our somewhat infrequent holidays looking for pebbles and shells to feel, smell and shine. At home I would be found digging in the muddy garden, looking for my ‘treasures’. Of course, all stones and shells look wonderful when they are wet don’t they? They are at their best glistening in the sun. Then I would get them home from holiday and see that the glimmers and colours had faded as the stones had dried out. But they would be brought back to life by just dipping them in the nearest puddle. Then they would find their beauty again.

What a lesson this was for me. It helped me to realise that people are just the same. Each one of us can, and do, sparkle and shine at times in our lives. However, then come times for us all when we need a bit of help, in whatever form that takes, to bring that sparkle back. Fortunately for me crystals have brought me great peace in my life. Just by sitting quietly with them, feeling and studying them, I have found great comfort and positivity. I have used them to help others who have been grieving, or whose self esteem has been knocked and those who have felt they had no connection with anyone or anything and felt desperate and alone.

I don’t expect everyone to understand the importance of crystals as I do. Indeed I am certain that many reading this will think me ‘mad’ or strange at the very least. I have put up with jibes like that all my life and I am fine with that. For me the things that ‘float my boat’ are crystals, however I am sure that, what I gain personally, and can offer to others with my passion and skills in crystals, for you it will be some other passion and skill. That’s what makes us all so interesting and different.

It is also why, as members of Rotary, we can offer so many varied skills to so many different people. For me, Service to Others means just that. It means us giving of our time, skills, passion and expertise to those who are experiencing difficulties at a certain point in their lives for whatever reason. This does not mean that the giving of money is not important. Of course it is. There are some problems and issues which can be much better resolved by the giving of money. However my belief is that, certainly in our local communities, it is the giving of time, however limited, and the sharing of our skills and experiences which will make the greatest impact.

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0 thoughts on “My Understanding of ‘Service to Others’

  1. Mary Loran says:

    When reading the above from Lynne I had this amazing warm feeling and thought about my enormous stash of Fabric, I am mad about” cutting up perfectly good fabric and sewing it together again “as my husband describes my patchwork and quilting. Passion about anything we love to do is what makes us whole people and I love people with passion , it doesn’t matter if we don’t understand their particular interest but we can share it through Rotary and learn so much from each other.

  2. John Isles says:

    What an excellent way of expressing true feeling and a way to connect with others. I have always believed Rotary should be much more of a “hands on” organisation and whilst money is necessary, it seems it is so much easier to hand over money than it is to find the time to sit with someone and talk through what they need. How many of the world’s problems could we solve if we just took the time to talk to eachother and focussed on what they need not what we need. If that takes “Shells or Pebbles or Crystals” whatever, we can all learn from things Lynee has said.

  3. Lynne Wootton says:

    Thanks to you both for your comments. It is encouraging that others have similar thoughts to me about Service to Others. Much appreciated.

  4. Debbie Vincent says:

    Reading your message Lynne brought memories of my late husband to me, he struggled with mental Health Issues all his life and the stigma is there and people do not understand what effect it has not just on the person but on the whole family. When he was in Seymour Clinic I saw Service above Self endlessly and I thank God every day for the help that they gave to him and as you say how Crystalls are such a big part of your life, making a list became my Norman’s life, writing the Positives and Negatives down helped him for many years before his death. Belonging to Rotary has helped me focus on other peoples needs above just my own as after Norman died I became very selfish of my time to others as I could not see a future forward and I also have made so many friends through this great organisation. I look forward to the day when the stigma is gone forever where Mental Health is concerned!!!!

  5. Mary Nettle says:

    Well it is wonderful to see my ’cause’ bought to life so well. Thank you all. I was locked up in an old asylum at the age of 25, there is nothing positive to say about that experience. It took many years to recover and find my voice again. I now work hard and try and get paid to make mental health services better by listening and learning from those who have experienced emotional distress.As some of you know I am now 60 and enjoying life as much as I can. My husband became a chronic alcholic and died at age of 46. I have a lot of catching up to do and much to my surprise Rotary e club is part of that transformation as well as dying my hair!

  6. Janice Mason says:

    Lynne, thank you for writing such a personal message that has enabled us to open up and speak from our hearts.
    I think we often overlook the importance tactile experiences make. In this modern World we are overwhelmed with images and words, but being able to touch, stroke and handle things is incredibly therapuetic. Like Mary, I love textile crafts because of the tactile and calming sense they give me. Being able to work with someone else to teach and learn textile skills is far more satisfying than actually making something for someone, to be involved together to create something to me is far more satisfying for everyone.
    Like others have said in posts above, I really believe this is the value of Rotary, being able to share skills and work alongside each other to meet needs. This includes working alongside the people with the needs, by doing this we get to truly understand the needs, enable solutions to be more sustainable, and achieve a sense of satisfaction in our achievements.

  7. Katharine says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing.
    I wholeheartedly agree that giving time is so important, especially as our lives seem to be so busy these days.

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