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Why we should build a gate and get some lemons.

This edition of ‘From the Table’ was inspired after I found a pile of lemons on the back BBQ bench area at my house recently.

Do you know your neighbour?

Sometimes when I'm working with a client I'll get this urge to ask them if they know their neighbours (I kind of know the answer, but I need to show them something important by asking), it's usually met with a scrunched up face, eyes wide open and this perplexed look which kinda says “why would you ask me that?”.

And usually the answer is “NO!”, “why would I know my neighbour? And what has that got to do with my depression, what is that got to do with my addiction, what is that got to do with the anxiety and what does that have to do with the judgement and anger I carry?”

Well kinda A LOT actually.

Do you know your neighbour?

I do, I know them all….I’m surrounded by them on all 4 sides, because I’m living in an unusual set up at the end of a little laneway, which means I sort of have a circle of houses built around me now.

I have one set of neighbours, their names are Mary and Trevor, a lovely older couple. We often make more cake or biscuits than we can eat between Abbey and I, and we take a plate over to them, they seem to light up and smile deeply as we hand them’s warms me inside too. Sometimes I get Abbey to do it, because I know that she is learning something that she is going to need to remember as she gets older, the importance of connection and looking out for one another.

(Some of our yum Sourdough bread we make each week and send over to them)

DO you know your neighbour?

Years ago when I was a kid we would often visit and stay at my Nan’s house in Brisbane Australia, and one of the things that I loved the most was the fact that in the backyard were several gates that connected her yard to the neighbours backyards. These gates have been around for years and years.

This was always how it was, all throughout Australia there were hundreds and thousands of backyards that had cute little waist high fences with hand gates in them that connected you to your neighbours.

So not only did everyone know each other but they usually were friends with their neighbours. It always felt to me like a tribe. It was community, and they were strong communities. Your parents knew that if they couldn't find you in the house, you had usually jumped ship (through the hand gate) and gone to the neighbours house, where you were laughing, joking and playing with their kids. The community looked after the community.

I often wonder how many people were saved by a neighbour ducking over to check on someone because they hadn't seen them over the fence in their backyard or heard from them that day. Lot’s is my feeling.

Now we hear all the time of police being called to do a welfare check by a neighbour who can’t give police the persons name, but realises now that they haven't seen them in months. And sure enough often the person has had an accident within their home and perished...basically because there is no connection, no community, no hand gates connecting one person to another.

DO you know your neighbour?

The jury is in, it is no longer an issue or an idea that is even up for contention it is unanimously decided and known that a lack of connection and a lack of social bonding is what breeds depression, anxiety and addiction, it’s like a black mold that is hard to get rid of.

Connection...we don’t have it anymore...people do not build gates, people build ugly big fences. and what is even sadder than these big ugly fences is that people don't know their neighbours on the other side of them.

We have a global epidemic of trauma, sadness, depression, anxiety and addiction running rampant through the human beings. We know a huge chuck of the puzzle rests with connection and bonds….And the one simple thing that could help repair that right now today would be if we all started putting hand gates in our fences to connect us to one another again.

I would love to see a ‘Build a Handgate’ movement...could you imagine?

Is one of the solutions to repairing depression in building gates?

Maybe we need to become more like a dog and go up have a good sniff, say "my name is Bruce, I live next door, you can come over and play at my house"

You know what that's called that's called connection is called bonding it's called community it's called togetherness it's called love, respect, communication and happiness. Dog’s know how to do that very simply and look at how much love they get out of that simplicity.

Which now leads me to the LEMONS

A few weeks ago I had been out shopping and when I came home, as I walked around the back of my house into my patio area I noticed a beautiful pile of lemons on top of my BBQ. They were not mine they had come from my neighbour Mary. She had been picking lemons off her tree and because she had more than what they could use she thought to give them to us. So using our gate in our little fence that connects our yards she walked on in and left the lemons by my BBQ.

And I tell you what!... it is such a wonderful thing to be standing there seeing something that I suppose seems so simple but in reality it means so much. You see I feel this an enormous amount of gratitude to be one of the few people left in this country where I still have a gate that connects me to my neighbours, that we get to chat over every other day, and I'm so grateful that we get to know one another, share with one another and connect with one another in this way.

So if you don't know your neighbour please go and get to know them...and the next time you build a fence consider putting in a gate! it's time we bought back the gates and shared more lemons.

Do you do any baking at all? I have a easy, no bake, tried and tested simple Milo Ball recipe that I use on new neighbours to ‘soften them up’ haha! It’s sure to work everytime. Here is our family Milo Ball recipe, maybe you can make them and share them with your neighbour….be sure to send me a photo.

Do you know your neighbour?

Jacquie xx

My Incredible Orbit village

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