One particular Seinfeld episode shined a bright, comedic light on the phrase, “It’s not you, it’s me.” (Who among us have not used that line at least once, especially in our younger years, when we were “redefining the nature of our association” with our then girl/boyfriend?) It is classic. But, George Costanza elevated this term to a new height during this episode:
Gwen: I’m sorry, George.
George: I don’t understand. Things were going so great. What happened? Something must have happened.
Gwen: It’s not you, it’s me.
George: You’re giving me the “it’s not you, it’s me” routine? I invented “it’s not you, it’s me!” Nobody tells me it’s them, not me! If it’s anybody, it’s me.
Gwen: All right, George, it’s you.
George: You’re damn right it’s me.
Gwen: I was just trying to…
George: I know what you were trying to do. Nobody does it better than me.
Gwen: I’m sure you do it very well.
George: Yes, well, unfortunately you’ll never get the chance to find out.
[SCENE: Jerry’s apartment.]
Jerry: But I thought things were going great.
George: Yeah, so did I.
Jerry: Did she say why?
George: No. She tried to give me the “it’s not you, it’s me” routine.
Jerry: But that’s your routine.
George: Yeah. Well, apparently word’s out.
That episode and the phrase, “It’s not you, It’s me” recently came into my consciousness.
This year marks the 20th commemoration of 9/11. A date that changed this nation’s vision, if not our very soul. As we observe and remember that dark day years ago, we are also struggling with the global, mental health pandemic that has impacted so many of us.
And so, along with other mental health advocates and organizations, we are organizing a mental health resource fair to take place on Saturday, September 11, 2021.
Some of these organizations and philanthropists include Something for Kelly Foundation, Grant Halliburton Foundation, Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, Camp Wonderment, Center for Change, Mockingbird Pharma, Francisco Ayala, PhD and other mental health organizations, individuals and companies.
At this event, we will showcase a local band, yoga, singers and entertainers. The atmosphere will be light-hearted, joyous with a promise of hope for the future. Located in the heart of Addison, Texas, Prestonwood Pond, the site of the event, is a spring fed pond and is stocked with fish. The intent is to have an upbeat, fun “Morning in the Park” vibe. What there will not be is a “fun walk.” Fun walks long ago stopped being “fun.” A “Fun Walk” is an anachronism destined to take its place next to hula hoops, lawn jarts, beauty pageants and poodle dog skirts.
With in-person school in Texas having just started, we are reaching out to many schools and school districts, churches, temples and places of worship. With many Fortune 500 companies which call North Texas home, we are reaching out to them as well. Our incredible volunteers are motivated, experienced and involved with the mental health field and are doing incredible work.
Over 30 exhibitors with mental health, medical and holistic specialties including most aspects of health in general have committed to appear and be the face of people dedicated to helping others. Our financial sponsors have been generous.
The VIP event the evening before has musical entertainment, special guests, laughter and incredible food. Indeed, this event promises to become an event that families will be able to embrace every year.
And yet, there have been some medical and mental health providers, respected professionals, professionals who are rightly admired, who when approached about this event, when asked to send representatives to this event, have responded with a statement along the lines of, “We are at the breaking point. We already have too much work, too many people reaching out for help. Our waiting lists are long. Our professionals are working themselves to the bone and are exhausted.” How can we possibly take on more? Their position is completely understandable. In order to provide the highest quality of care, our medical and mental health providers must take care of themselves. That is crucially important.
And yet, in response to those dedicated, hard-working professionals, [and that was said with sincerity, respect, and admiration for all they do … my God, they save lives. Is there a higher calling?] … imagine, if you will, a family of limited financial means, a BIPOC family perhaps, a family who is struggling. Their life, already so difficult before Covid-19 hit. And then, the fear, the isolation, the anguish, the pain, their very mortality strangles them in an icy grip of life or death as Covid-19 spreads globally. The parents, one or both of them, perhaps losing their jobs. Revered retail outlets permanently closing their doors. Unemployment nationwide sky rocketing.
Their children, not knowing if they will be at school in person, or virtual, are masks required or not, are we safe or not … trying to not only learn the lesson plan for the day but to try to make sense of this pandemic that even their parents cannot figure out. Imagine the fear. Imagine their need for help. Imagine … them living in such darkness searching for that one source of light. Desperately needing … hope.
Embrace that vision. And then those poor, anguished souls hear … I would like to help, but I am just too busy.
Look that heartbroken mother in the eyes. Look that depressed, forlorn father in the eyes. Look that innocent, fearful child in the eyes and then, listen to their words, as they look you in the eyes and you hear them whisper, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
We are facing such incredibly trying times. Times that test the very essence of who we are. There truly is a tsunami of mental health issues, of people lost, who believe they have been forgotten. Those people who need a hug, a smile, to share a tear with someone, who need soft tender words, who need to hear they have not been forgotten. Who need to hear they are important. Who need to hear they matter. Who need to hear even if you cannot immediately help them, you know people who perhaps can.
It is not you, it is them.
That is what On Mindful Pond is about. It is not about making money. It is not about egos. It is not about our self-importance. It is not about going to San Antonio and hob knobbing with fellow addiction professionals knowing that while you are there you are not directly helping those who need you the most.
It IS about kneeling down and hugging a child. It is about looking a parent in the eyes and telling them they are not alone. It IS about sending a message that we are all God’s children, and we are there for those who most need our help. It is about looking past our exhaustion, and fatigue, and waiting lists. It is about giving a hug, looking a fellow human in the eyes and telling them, “You are loved. I am here for you, right here, right now. We are one.”
It is about telling those who need us the most, “It is about you, not me.”
That is the essence of On Mindful Pond.
That is the essence of our heart and soul.
That is why and how our life path directs us to help others.
That, is who we are.