Pay It Forward: Show a Little Act of Kindness Today

Pay It Forward: Show a Little Act of Kindness Today

“Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.”  ~Albert Schweitzer

So often we get caught up in the minutia of our lives and lose sight of those around us who could benefit from a caring word or an act of kindness.  Life is messy and we need to allow our mess to become our message.  We all have struggles, bad days and moments of frustration that can cause us to forget the blessings that fill our lives.  It is more than a choice it is act of sheer will to keep ourselves in a state of gratitude that recognizes that we have so much that we can’t even count our blessings if we tried.

You know when you were a kid and you did not want to finish your food and your parents promptly reminded you of all those starving kids in China.  The last couple of weeks my computer has been beyond dysfunctional.  It has been so frustrating trying to get all the things I’ve needed to do, done.  I was really annoyed.  I had to keep reminding myself how lucky I was.  As Max Lucado said in Six Hours One Friday, “I am crying over spilt champagne.”  There are people who don’t have shoes, cloths, food, or homes and I am annoyed because I am having problems with my computer in my air conditioned apartment, clothed with a full belly.

All that energy wasted grumbling and belly aching being full of all that negativity, for what?  I could have been using the extra time and energy encouraging someone, serving someone in need, and stepping out of my comfort zone long enough to show some kindness and love to someone who needed it more than me.  That is why I included the story below.  I hope it inspires you to put things in perspective the next time you see you’re day take a wrong turn.  Instead of having a pity party because you have some inconveniences and struggles, be grateful for your blessings and pay it forward.  Someone out there may just need a random act of kindness or a gentle reminder that we are more than our circumstances, more than you right now.

When I first started this blog I decided to include inspirational stories, poems and videos that teach love, empowerment and tolerance.  I have volumes to say on the subject and hope to inspire you and to encourage you to love and empower others in your world as well.  When I came across this beautiful piece of writing (shown below) that says it so eloquently I believe it deserves to be shared.  I received it from the web of love email I received from a site that is accomplishing what I hope to accomplish, spread the love, check it out at www.weboflove.org

Love is in the Moment

By Annie

It was early morning, yet already it had been a stupendously bad day. One thing after another. The downward spiral continued when a large pitcher of orange juice slid from my hands and smashed to the floor. Glass and sticky juice spewed to the farthest corners of the kitchen, slithering down cabinets and appliances, puddling at my feet.

Stunned, I looked at the mess. Then I dropped dejectedly down to the floor, my eyes filling with overdue tears. The tears came from begrudging and angry acceptance that “today is just not my day.”

Bad day or not, errands had to be done. Filled with angst and negative mental baggage, I got in my car to drive into town. In the few minutes it took to travel to the bank I made a decision. I would be careful not to pass my bad day off to anyone else. I would be cordial and polite. And I would NOT retaliate when that harried driver pulled quickly and rudely in front of me causing me to slam on my breaks, dumping the contents of my drink onto the front car seat!

Standing in line at the bank, I was silently talking to myself. Actually, I was scolding myself. All of the events that had accumulated and contributed to my bad day were, in reality, so very minor and trivial. I was over-reacting. I was indulging in self-pity. I tried to imagine the innumerable, individual lives that had been affected by 9/11, by war, by hurricances, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

For the second time that day my eyes filled with tears as I realized how disconnected I felt from all those individuals who are trying to cope with truly traumatic events in their lives. They all seemed so distant and unknowable, and this justified and intensified my belief that I was being self-centered and selfish. I was sure that all my efforts to be a caring and loving person were for naught.

A voice broke through my mental distractions. Somehow I had mechanically finished my bank transaction and the teller was trying to get my attention. “Young lady,” she was saying, “Young lady!”

I looked up and into the eyes of the bank teller, a silver-haired grandmother with a gentle beauty. Her keen eyes reflected concern as she leaned forward and softly said, “I don’t know what is happening inside of you, but please, believe me when I tell you that – everything will be okay.”

And then she did something quite marvelous. My hands were resting on the counter. She took her hands and placed them gently on top of mine. The touch was quick but electric. And in that moment my world shifted.

In the moment of her touch my self-doubt vanished. I found understanding and acceptance. I knew that love was being channeled through the heart of this beautiful woman directly into my heart. I was infused with a profound awareness – that I am loved. I was speechless. I smiled. It was my first smile of the day. But it would not be my last, as from that moment on my entire day was transformed.

Perhaps without even knowing it, the kind-hearted bank teller allowed herself to be a conduit of divine love. She was instrumental in transforming a day that seemed destined to be a day of tears into a day of smiles. The seemingly small gesture of a this gentle woman not only changed the course of my day, it became a powerful reminder in my life. The profound effect of that one simple, loving touch remains in my heart to this day.

More people than not scoff at the idea of world peace. Laugh if you wish. As for myself, I believe it is possible to transform our world … one act of loving kindness at a time. Remember: A simple smile. A warm handshake. A kind word. A gentle hug. Through these, we open the transformative power of love.
Note: See Annie’s website and her book, Love: My Search for Truth:
http://www.metarev.com/client/lovemysearch

The Change We Want to See

The Change We Want to See

“We must become the change we want to see in the world.”
Mohandas Gandhi

I remember this commercial that said, “There are two times when you don’t care who your neighbor is”.  Then they showed a picture of a nursery in a hospital with many babies of all colors.  Then they said, “Here’s the other.”  They showed a cemetery.  I loved that.

All people are worthy of love.  It does not matter what their race, color, religion, ethnic background or social status.  All people need to be loved.  When we let go of all the things that make us different we realize that we are all really the same.  I believe we need to love all people and show kindness to all people.

Ghandi tells us to become the change we want to see.  A lot of people complain about the state of the world but they live in inaction.  What have you done today to make your little corner of the world more loving, peaceful, joyful or happy?

I have been learning more about the power of love to change the world.  Someone has to start the ball rolling.  It is easy to love someone who loves you, who is kind to you.  Why not try to show love to someone who isn’t kind to you?  Try doing something kind for someone who you normally would avoid, maybe at work or in your family.  You can send a note, an email or a call.  Open yourself up to the opportunity to display some love, kindness or compassion, it will be provided.

One thing that I do when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I start listing all the things I am grateful for.  I will tell myself to find three people I can encourage.  It is impossible to be discouraged when you are encouraging someone.  Start listing your blessings, or the things you are grateful for.  Tell someone all the blessings they have.  We all have something.  To encourage is to put courage into someone.  When is the last good pep talk you gave?

We may not be able to change all the hatred and bigotry there is in the world in one swoop.  But you can make a difference in someone’s life today and be part of creating a ripple of love in the universe.

“It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on. “
– Sharon Salzberg