Intervening on behalf of someone who can’t help themselves

A friend of mine has a loved one who’s been acting erratically. She was too distraught at the time to know what to do, so I offered to help. I had heard of dialing 211 to get information on civil services, and this is how I got help.

After dialing 211 and choosing “medical” services, I spoke with Carmen. I explained my friend’s situation, and because the person of concern lived in Orange County, Carmen gave me the toll free number to Los Angeles County’s 211 (800-708-6029).

When a person acts erratically, it is appropriate to call this number and ask for help. Our county has a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (P.E.R.T.) that will go into the field and evaluate a person for mental stability. They are properly equipped to handle situations like that, certainly more qualified than I am.

I’ve left the situation as such, but wanted to share this information in case any of my other friends runs into a situation like this.

Much love,

– Burt

What to do after saying “goodbye”

I said goodbye to a friend today. It was a lovely occasion, with lots of people (no food, though!), beautiful scenery (at the beach), with words and demonstrations of our shared affection for this person.

This friend had died, though, so there was no way to shower her with love, share a hug, or look forward to seeing her again. I was left with a tension in my heart, what I typically thought of as sadness; that wasn’t totally accurate, though. That tension, or intensity rather, felt like a bundle of emotion. Then something hit me, a moment of clarity.

Now, I often feel reluctant to talk about “energy” because it’s such a difficult topic to talk about. In my experience, people use it to mean so many different things, and that can cause confusion and ambiguity. So, rather than use that word or paradigm, I thought of a slightly different way to address it in my life.

I know my heart’s a muscle. I’ve spent years figuring ways to build it up; make it stronger over time, last longer, act quicker, or just not slow me down. When I felt this intensity in my heart today, it reminded me of times that I’ve felt energetic, ready to kick butt at some sport or exercise. I was raring to go, excited, pumped up! In exercise, I’ve used that feeling by applying it to my workout, to make me stronger.

Just Me.

But, I could see that I’ve also used that feeling to do a better job at work, or get some place faster, on time. I’ve applied that excitement into picking a better gift, or paying closer attention to a story. I’ve felt pumped up when going to concerts, so excited to see a favorite band that it felt like I was going to burst!

All these feelings, though they may have had different emotions, felt intense and powerful! With that intensity, I could be my very best, live my highest life!

The clarity I got earlier, while thinking of my departed friend, was that I had an opportunity now. What else would I do with these feelings, this intensity, this power? What came to me were two obvious choices:

1) I could work out. I could make my heart stronger, emotionally rather than physically. I could build up the strength in my heart so that I could deal with more powerful situations.

2) I could use it to do a better job. I could help some one more, or help several people a little bit. I could provide higher quality care or comfort to someone in need. Maybe I could return a call a little faster.

The point that became clear to me, though, is that if I didn’t do something productive with those feelings, then I was being kind of selfish; holding on to those feelings for just myself. It seemed to be a little to the left of wallowing in pity and sadness, and while I couldn’t help but feel that sadness, holding on to only that feeling seemed like it wouldn’t amount to much.

A big point of inspiration was hearing all the stories of my friend, how willing she was to help others, to take on some duty that just needed to be done, how devoted and dedicated she was to those around her. I thought that, as a means of honoring her, it’d do me some good to help someone else.

So, this note is a commitment from me to use those feelings in some productive manner; not to just sit with them, to let them fade over time. Yes, I know from personal experience that “time heals all wounds”, but why stop there? Is that all that this person meant to me, a fading memory of sadness? Hell no.

Thanks, Teresa.