As a “snowbird” (one who lives in the four seasons and leaves home during the winter for warmer climates) my husband and I found ourselves visiting one of the many vineyards in Central California to learn a bit more about wines. Fascinating indeed. This industry has grown from 7 to over 200 in the area, over the past 30 years. During a tour of the Robert Hall Winery, and it’s 400 acres, we learned that they distributed 80,000 cases of wine during 2012 in the USA. WHAT an operation! From outward appearance Mr. Hall has done a few things that work to achieve financial abundance. Quite a few in fact–definitely an example representing the minute percentage of the “have” category in the US.
After leaving there my inner guidance mechanism took us to another winery where I passed by the wine tasting activity in lieu of an attractive exhibit of pasta bowls, sauces made from wine and cheese dishes–all for sale. As part of the 45% (give or take) of Americans who are in the “middle class” category, I made my well-thought-out selection to take home as a reminder of the time spent here in the Paso Robles community, handed the lady my credit card, signed the receipt and off we went to the next experience.
Driving down the street on our way back to town we drove past a man sitting on the sidewalk with his dog, and a battered, faded cardboard sign in hand. Two blocks had passed and I said, “you may think I’m crazy but please turn around.” My husband knows that I’m not crazy and this request was a most natural one for him to hear. We parked the car and I got out, approached the weathered-looking man with remarkable blue eyes, and his dog. When he learned that his ex-girlfriends dog was going to be “put down” at the shelter, he said, “no way.” Steve and Blue are a team. Blue cares not that Steve is homeless. He cares not the he sleeps in a variety of locations each night, depending on the weather. He cares not that Steve’s possessions are his sleeping bag and a blanket. Blue loves Steve and is his loyal trusty companion. Dogs are simply amazing! We three exchanged energy for about 20-30 minutes, hearing a few stories in response to my question of, “Steve, how did this happen?” Steve told me that the editor of the local paper had taken his picture that morning and it was to be in the Press the following day. And that it was…one half of the front page was the photo of Steve and Blue accompanied with a brief article stating facts about the homeless in this county. Statistics from the National Alliance To End Homelessness informed me that 22 out of every 10,000 Americans are homeless and out of those 22, 42% live unsheltered lives while 58% live in shelters.
So within a few hours, I experienced the “have” and the “have nots” and the way it spoke to me was to call the editor of the paper and inquire what I could do during the month I would be in this area. How could I offer my services? How could I practice a Random Act of Kindness to others? What could I do? We had coffee a few days following my call and that project is in motion.
I met Steve periodically, bringing treats for he and Blue. During one of our times together, I met one of his homeless buddies who eats from the dumpster to tend to his diabetic body, and receives $1.50 for every pound of aluminum cans he brings to the recycling center (approximately 22 cans equals one pound). I became more educated with each visit, never failing to feel compassion for them all. However after many failed attempts to find Steve and Blue I learned that he was in the hospital, and that Blue is staying with a friend. I had planned to visit him there, but once I got to his room, it was not advised, so I left him a note and spoke with him the following day to say farewell, as I continue to head south. Yes Steve and Blue have made a difference in my life. The homeless appear to be everywhere…in San Luis Obispo we encountered a young woman, homeless AND pregnant, with a 5 year old son. Don’t pass up the opportunity to offer someone reaching out for help, your kind words, some financial support if possible and hold them in your thoughts with empathy.
On my walk back to our cottage, I pondered why I had drawn these experiences into my reality. What was the message I needed to learn? It’s about Love –it’s always about Love, what Robert Hall, Alexandra, Steve and Blue have in common. Love is our Essence..our Truth..our Authentic Self. Some recognize it, as their true identity, more than others. The degree can range from totally unaware to highly aware, that we have a body, personality and mind, but that none of it is who we are.
So after Valentines Day has come and gone. I invite you to practice Three Days of Love–and notice the changes in your demeanor. You might just like what you experience. Three Days of Love was initiated from The Shift Network and Barbara Mark Hubbard, to celebrate love and kindness by taking a vow that every thought, word, deed is one of kindness. I’m just adding a little spin on it by asking you to keep on keeping on–starting with February 15th. Who knows, you just may get use to it…making a vow every morning to make every thought, word and deed one of kindness.
|What Are We Teaching Our Children?||Emotional Literacy|
|What Are We Teaching Our Children?|