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.