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The Awesomeness of Giving & Gratitude

Posted by Didi Gorman on

Are you cold or hungry right now?

Do you have friends or kids or a loving spouse?

Is there a war where you live?

If you answered ‘no’ to the first and third questions and ‘yes’ to the second, know that you are blessed.

Millions of people would have loved to swap with you right now, if only they could.

Hundreds of thousands are under the poverty threshold, or suffering pain, addiction or loss. Others are lonely, and many live in fear of war, terror and conflict.

If you’re able to read this post, consider yourself fortunate. Not only have you learned to read, but you also have access to a screen and are connected to the internet. Not everybody is, and certainly not every adult –even in this day and age- is able to read.

Eye opening, isn’t it?

This post is about gratitude, perspective and kindness. In this post we will not take our blessings for granted. We’ll be giving and sharing and caring.

Let’s practice kindness and gratitude.

  • For each night you went to sleep hungry in the past week, donate one food item to a food bank.
  • If you’re cold right now, give away a shirt you’re not using for a hand-me-down. If you’re not cold, donate 25¢ to charity.
  • Do you have kids? If yes, say a prayer for those struggling to conceive, and give 25¢ for each of your kids to charity. If not, give 25¢ to charity.
  • Do you have a loving spouse? If yes, smile at them today. If not, give 25¢ to charity.
  • Can you read this? If yes, spread the joy of literacy by donating a book you’re not using to a school or a library or a local book chest.
  • Go look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? If yes, express gratitude by saying a kind word to someone you love. If not, think of five things you have (while someone else doesn’t) and which you’re grateful for.
  • Do you know anyone who’s sick, addicted or grieving? If yes (and if it’s doable), call, visit or send them a kind email to brighten up their day. If not, give 25¢ to charity.
  • Do you have a friend? If yes, know that friendship is priceless, and express gratitude by complimenting someone today. If not, smile at someone you love.
  • If you received something nice in the past week (a gift, a compliment, good news, a helping hand, a drawing from your child), find an item to donate or to hand-me-down. If you haven’t received anything, give 25¢ to charity.
  • Can you hear? If yes, know that over a million people in our country are deaf, and as a result suffer social exclusion throughout their entire lives. Your task today is to LISTEN. You will take joy in hearing a car passing by, the rain falling, the breeze, the water in the faucet while you do the dishes. You will also listen very carefully to your child/spouse/friend. Not only will you enjoy the sheer fact of being able to hear their voice, but you will look at them and let them speak without jumping in or wandering in your thoughts, or peeking at a screen while they speak, or waiting impatiently for your turn to talk. Today you will listen patiently, and let them be the stars of the conversation!
    If you can’t hear, teach one person how to say ‘hello’ without words.

Now let’s combine them all: if you have kids, friends and a loving spouse, you have enough food and you’re warm, everybody in your immediate circle is in good health, you’re a fluent reader, you can hear, you’re connected to the internet and have a screen …. let’s pause here and reflect on this for a second… wow, how truly blessed you are! Donate a dollar to a charity of your choice.

Giving in gratitude is awesome.

A smile, a kind word or a heartfelt compliment, are effortless, feel great and will make someone’s day. It might as well be that you are the only person smiling at them today.

If you like the idea of giving and reaching out, let’s talk about volunteering.

Volunteering is about giving our time or sharing a talent for the benefit of others.

Frequency of volunteering may vary: one time, from time to time, or regularly.

  • Help prepare and wash dishes at the annual turkey supper/spaghetti supper in your local school/community center
  • Help sort books for the towns’/school’s/library’s book fair
  • Join your town’s clean-up day
  • Visit someone in need (the elderly, a grieving friend, someone lonely or recovering)
  • Help the ‘meals on wheels’ project
  • Give a hand at the local pet shelter
  • Volunteer at a youth club
  • Help decorate school/the community center for an upcoming party

Other ideas to spread kindness?
In the spirit of the random acts of kindness initiative, shovel the snow for your elderly neighbor, offer a ride to your spouse/child/friend if the weather is bad and they plan on walking to town, do the dishes although it’s your spouse’s turn today and let them rest.

Do not expect gratitude or anything else in return. Give, donate, volunteer or smile just because you’re doing the right thing. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if karma sends back wonderful things your way.

Doing something nice for somebody else without expecting anything in return, teaches us that not everything is about us. Focusing on somebody else and putting their needs ahead of ours, is thus a humbling experience. It’s generous, immensely satisfying and therapeutic for the giver, and is holistic in its very essence.

Wishing you to always be on the giving side,

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