I have been thinking of new projects in where we can take our practice out into the community and help in a more direct way. I know a lot of you help in others ways such as volunteering, donations, etc and this is wonderful … but lets switch it up a bit.
When a drop of water falls in the ocean,
When a speck of dust falls on the ground,
At that moment the drop of water is no longer a drop of water,
It becomes the ocean,
And the speck of dust is no longer a speck of dust,
It becomes the entire earth.
– Kodo Sawaki
The other day I was coming out of Tim Hortons with a handful of coffee for the construction crew at my house. I was more focused on not dropping the coffee as I was approaching the door and didn’t notice until it happened, but this kind man rushed up to hold the door open for me with a huge smile. I could see at that moment he truly wanted to help, to make a difference, even if it was to just hold the door. I know we do this a lot throughout our days being parents, friends, co-workers, and the like … but do we really see our engagement with the world or are we just going through the motions?
I thought about this for a moment and I know for myself sometimes even holding the door for someone is more of a habit, then really seeing and feeling the impact that it has on that person. Not only making a connection through my actions of help, but ensuring that I see them with my eyes, with my smile. Engagement to me is being in that moment, right there, with all my being.
I know we are all starting back into the grind of life – the holidays are done, kids back at school, work loads have piled up, and bills need to be paid … so my approach in this activity will be just small moments of your time throughout your day, at any given time, and with no money. All I would like to see is totally engagement in your activity of help and support. So if you hold the door for someone, hold the door! Look at them and let them know you see them, that you truly want to be there at that moment for them … and of course, smile! =)
Here are some ideas that might get you going or stir up some thoughts where you can make a difference. Please do share any ideas that you have or that you have done in the past.
- Hold the door open for the person behind you.
- Introduce yourself. Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
- Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need. Your old is someone else’s new.
- Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
- Donate blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Locate your nearest blood drive.
- Share your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day.
- Check up on someone who looks lonely.
- Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
- Replace what you’ve used. Eg: fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it or start a fresh batch of coffee.
- Give words of encouragement to someone about their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.
- Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some alone time.
- Help someone get active. There’s a co-worker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand. Offer to go walking or running together.
- The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.
- Become a mentor or tutor to someone in need.
- Come to the rescue. If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, soup, etc.
- Be a courteous driver. Let people merge in front of you.
- Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
- Listen to someone’s pain and help them find a path through it.
- Hug a friend. Let them know how important they are.
- Bake cookies or brownies and share with a neighbour or colleagues.
- Send a nice email or handwritten card to someone you know, unexpectedly.
- Leave encouraging post-it notes in library books and other random places.
- Compliment someone who deserves it.
- Stand up for someone. Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
- Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
- Teach others how to make a difference in this world by setting a good example every day.
So what do you think? How about we start next week off (Jan 26th) with a new approach, a new way of engaging our communities. I look forward to hearing your stories and sharing mine with you all.
Thank you all for taking the time and for being the wonderful Sangha that you are … I am truly grateful for you all. =)