Accompanied by "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers.
"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Hope you all are doing fabulous!!!!!! 2012 has certainly brought about some grand experiences as of late and I'm super excited to see what each day has to offer. I feel like there is so much promise, positive change and awareness occurring in people I've come into contact with which is pretty exciting. As life has continued on for me, I've started to realize more and more that what is missing in my life is the act of service. This is not to say I haven't helped people along my journey or have not been of service at all, I just feel I haven't done enough!! These past years I've been so concerned with improving my own well-being (which is of course important as well) that I have left limited time to extend a hand to others in need. I've truly become sick of myself! It's a win-win situation when you serve others. You are creating joy in the lives of other people while in turn also creating joy for yourself because you are helping others. Service enables you to experience connection with people on an individual or group basis, and has you step outside of yourself for once to think of someone else's well-being. As much as we think we are not affected by others, we are. It's a world of interconnection which is why it's important to live with joy, compassion and love in your heart so that that energy can spread from one person to the next. Service really is the key to happiness in my opinion. Happiness can be that simple people! Who knew?! Do you remember the feelings you got when you did something nice for someone "just because", with no expectations of anything in return? It's a great feeling right?? YES IT IS!!! I know I walk a little higher and with a spring in my step. These days we fill our lives up with material things, trips, alcohol, drugs, and sex to create the feelings of elation and joy that are naturally brought on by being of service. Volunteering, or random acts of kindness is a MUCH better feeling then buying that TV or the hangover you experience the day after a "great" night. It's also a lot better for your body and your bank account!! Service can be as simple as helping someone across the street or carrying their groceries into their car. It is also a commitment to someone else or an organization - making them a priority in your life. This is the part I need to work on. My life is all over the place so I have trouble committing to one thing for a long period of time. However that needs to change and will change gosh darnit! I always enjoy seeing the smile on someone's face when you help them unexpectedly, or surprise them with a small gift. There are times though that you won't get any reaction at all and that is OK. The key to giving and service is to expect nothing in return. Many of us do things with good intentions in mind (myself included), but feel disappointed when recognition is not given or if that person doesn't return the favour down the road. Expectations of giving back is conditional giving which isn't truly giving of yourself. It's like love. Unconditional love is loving someone regardless of their flaws, with no expectations. If you are giving to get something in return (recognition from the public, praise, approval from someone), your heart will not be filled quite the same way. That giving is coming from a place of ego and is not centered in your heart. Just giving for the sake of giving is enough. Knowing you are making a difference in someone's life or the world by spreading love and kindness is enough. With this said, giving repeatedly to people that just take and take from you or drain your energy is not advised. There is a level of discernment and healthy boundaries that need to be put in place so that you aren't being taken advantage of constantly. This is something I need to learn!
There are many volunteer opportunities out there that allow for a more consistent involvement in one's own community or globally. I've volunteered in spurts with Easter Seal's, and Salvation Army, and spent a year volunteering as a coach for the Special Olympics at one of the community centre's in Toronto. Each volunteer opportunity was a blast. I love connecting with others and I feel like I'm living some sort of purpose knowing that I'm helping make a difference in someone's life. How does the world turn if we are only looking out for ourselves? It gets to be a pretty lonely, unfulfilling existence.
I'm going to end this blog with a few inspirational quotes. I love these :) Makes me remember why I'm in this world. I've been so focused on being somewhere else that I've lost sight of what truly makes me happy and that truly is the act of helping people.
Have a great weekend!!
Lovely Lianne xo
"We work on ourselves in order to help others but also we help others in order to work on ourselves."
~ Pema Chodron (reading one of her books right now - "The Places That Scare You"!)
"Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time."
~ Marion Wright Edelman
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
~ Albert Einstein
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
~ Theodore Roosevelt