Some way up ahead of me on the woodland trail was a small group of walkers. They’d stopped at a crossroads, chatting.
As I got nearer, they set off again in the same direction I was going. My heart sank, in the totally unreasonable manner that it sometimes does when I find other humans out in nature.
Drawing nearer still, I saw that three of the group of four were engrossed in conversation as they walked, totally oblivious to my presence and covering the entire width of the path.
But the fourth member of their group had heard me and turned to see. As she turned between me and back to her group I thought to myself, we’re the same kind.
As I approached yet nearer, I felt her send energetic waves of acknowledgement towards me, letting me know that she knew I was there and that she would take care of things.
Then she gently, quietly, so unobtrusively caught the attention of one of the group and signalled that there was someone behind wanting to pass. Then all of the group stood aside to let me by.
As I passed the group, thanking them as I did so, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for all the incredibly sensitive people in the world. People who, by some incomrephensible miracle, possess a sort of 360 degree sensor to pick up on the thoughts, feelings and needs of everyone and everything around them at any given time.
Some months later I was sitting in the waiting room at the dental surgery. I was sitting on a chair closest to the reception desk and an elderly gentleman sat on a chair against the far wall.
As I sat there, I suddenly noticed how, in even this environment, with only two other people present, something in me was unconsciously assessing the energy of the room, the energy of the individuals, the energy between the individuals and wondering, is everyone ok?
The receptionist called to the man to pass him an appointment card. As I said, he was elderly, and I half-leapt up to take the card from the receptionist to pass it to the gentleman, before realising that perhaps it wouldn’t be welcome with Covid restrictions still in place. I sat back down.
Afterwards, again, I thought, wow!
You see, sometimes I get to thinking that being highly sensitive just isn’t a real thing. Especially because I know that at the ultimate level, there’s no separation between us.
But then I find myself in a situation where I realise all over again that on another level – a level that is also real and valid and valuable – we are so different from one another and not everyone does this thing where they automatically, intuitively and constantly wonder, is everyone ok? But really, EVERYONE?
This is one of the things I’ve been finding hard in the hamlet where I’m now living. On the one hand, I’m sensing and seeing on ever deepening levels that rebuilding our small communities and local economies could go such a long way to addressing the ills of the modern world.
I want to know my neighbours. I want to live in a world where we can rely more on our immediate communities and less on the centralised power monstrosities that care only about profit.
On the other hand, I’ve found myself in overdrive worrying and wondering about my neighbours. I feel a responsibility towards them that is, at times, unbearable.
I wake up crying in the night thinking about Tony, who isn’t well and doesn’t think he’ll make it to his 87th birthday in July. I cry about the owls who might die or leave because Tony isn’t around to take care of them anymore and wonder whether I could or should start feeding them myself. I try to visit my immediate neighbour frequently, just to say hi and to let her know I’m here.
And of course, ‘neighbours’, in the highly sensitive world, extends to everyone and everything on planet earth.
Is everyone ok?
Is everyone ok?
Is EVERYONE ok?
What a superpower! What a marvellous miracle! What a gift! To have the ability to feel the pain, suffering and needs of others. To care so deeply about so much. Can you feel how incredible that is?
But we mustn’t forget – we must not forget (but we forget all the time) – that everyone also includes us.
Is everyone ok?
Is everyone ok?
Am I ok?
Because though we are amongst the humans who might find it hardest to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves, I realise again and again just how important it is that we do so.
They say that you can’t help others when your own cup is empty. I’ve often questioned what I think about this piece of advice because sometimes, the way you fill your cup is by helping others. But at other times, you really do have to focus on yourself (and likely feel that you’re being selfish) in order to replenish the reserves that enable you to be of service in the world.
We each individually have to discern what is needed for us at any given time.
We’re always asking, is everyone ok? But rarely do we turn that question on ourselves and ask, am I ok? What do I need?
Asking that from time to time surely wouldn’t hurt.
Love and courage,
P.S. I really hope you are ok because I know that things are hard and overwhelming in the world. We have to help and take care of each other. And we have to help and take care of ourselves.