Greetings beautiful people!

This year seems to have kicked up a notch into the next gear as it speeds into the long straights of 2017. I feel like 2017 has been a friend I have known for a long time and yet only met a minute ago. As April arrives, it brings with it the celebrations of Easter and Passover for our Christian and Jewish friends, and for our Hindu Friends, it brings the Spring Festival of Ram Navami, all of which provide us with an opportunity for not only celebration but self reflection as well. Oh! and at a much less importance level it is my Birthday Month ????

Talking of importance, I had a deep learning experience about my judgements recently. I was coming out of the local food store here, in the not so sleepy town of where I live and there was this homeless guy outside the store, yelling at the local store security guards who were trying to pull him away from the entrance. I turned to my companion, Jackie, and said to her “oh well, another weekend begins” assuming he was just another drunk homeless man on a Friday afternoon. Jackie looked at him closer and then turned to me “He is not drunk Col, he is crying, something is wrong”. In an instant, my “judgement” filters went and I looked at him from a different perspective…He was indeed crying and could not walk, not because he was drunk but because he was in pain.

Jackie intervened and settled the man down then asked what was wrong. “Dis my been missus..dit pyn erglik”.

We then saw the extent of his pain. It turns out he had had some surgery to his leg which involved steel pins and this required urgent medical attention. He was very distressed and had no means to care for himself.

Whilst the security guards rushed off for help, the moments following were very emotional for me. The man took my leg and hugged it whilst sitting there on the pavement and kept saying “Dankie meneer, Dankie,”and he would not let go. I bent over and comforted him, feeling my shame and guilt of being so self important, being washed away with compassion. We managed to sort out the situation. Jackie called the local paramedics whom she knew, and they took him to the local hospital where he would be taken care of.

When it was over I looked around me as Jackie and I were surrounded by onlookers who offered no help or support.

I wondered how close I had come to being one of them and learned something so important that day about compassion and my wonderful partner who is not only observant but also so willing to help someone in genuine need no matter the circumstances.

I realised I have this self-importance that can sneak into my everyday life, and I thought I had dealt with this self interest in ones station in life as I no longer refer to myself as a CA preferring a more simple life which would not impress many others. Yet there it was, my self-importance, sitting in the shadows, sneaking into my life as I judged another man by his appearance.

This event reminds me of a Sufi story entitled “The Banquet”

A poor man dressed in rags came to the palace to attend the banquet. Out of courtesy he was admitted but, because of his tattered clothing, he was seated at the very end of the banquet table. By the time the platters arrived at his seat, there was no food left on them. So he left the banquet, returning several hours later dressed in robes and jewels he had borrowed from a wealthy friend. This time he was brought immediately to the head of the table and, with great ceremony, food was brought to his seat first. “Oh, what delicious food I see being served upon my plate.” He rubbed one spoonful into his clothes for every one he ate. A nobleman beside him, grimacing at the mess, inquired, “Sir, why are you rubbing food into your fine clothes?” “Oh,” he replied with a chuckle, “Pardon me if my robes now look the worst. But it was these clothes that brought me all this food. It’s only fair that they be fed first!”

As we enter this month of April, I will do my best not to feed my self-importance, and to remember I am no better or less than anyone I interact with. We all simply have different life paths, some easier, some more challenging, yet we all share an energy called life.

I still see the homeless guy in our not so sleepy town. His name is Jannie. He still walks the streets but he is smiling and we get enthusiastic waves and greetings every time (although I think the security guard is not so lucky!). This one day I saw Jannie helping an elderly lady across the road and not expecting any money in return as she offered it – for me, clothes don’t “maketh the man”, it’s the heart, and Jannie has a big heart.

So my dear readers, over this period, may your tables cater for all in equal measure as it will at mine.

With Love

Colin and the DGT Gang