Global Day of Service

A Treeleaf Sangha site

Author: Michael Shingen Price

Gratitude and Giving

“Similarly, the offering of only one coin or a blade of grass can cause the arising of good, for the teaching itself is the True Treasure and the True Treasure is the very teaching: we must never desire any reward and we must always share everything we have with others. It is an act of charity to build a ferry or a bridge and all forms of industry are charity if they benefit others.” ~ Dogen Zenji

I hope you are all well and the 2015 is bringing much joy to you and your families. The Global Days of Service are upon us again, well actually, they never leave us. They are there always there when we are engaged with our family members, our neighbours, co-workers, and strangers.

Today is a beautiful sunny day on the West Coast of British Columbia. Thoughts of flowers blooming, grass soon needing to be cut, etc. But not all communities or places in this world are facing this kind of weather. Some areas are being hit with record snowfalls and very cold temperatures. So what can we do? How can we engage in our communities and give back?

Gratitude & Giving

Simple acts of gratitude and giving are everywhere … if your community is hit by a snowstorm, maybe help shovel that extra snow off their sidewalk or driveway. Clean the snow off their vehicle. Help someone maneuver through the maze of snowbanks. Or maybe consider donating those extra blankets or winter jackets to folks who maybe having to face those cold temperatures. Even here on the West Coast we also have ways to support and give back. Helping someone remove the extra dead leaves and junk from the lawns, gutters, cleaning the winter mold and mildew off the sides of their homes, etc. One of the projects I do in my community at this time of year is help my neighbour turn and prepare his soil for the coming spring. He has a ton of flower and veggie beds … so it is hard work and not always the most pleasant thing to be doing, but the reward and the gratitude on his face when all is said and done, is priceless!

So everyone, I again look forward to the changing of seasons and the changing of peoples lives when we engage and support one another. If you have any wonderful ideas to share and support, please feel free. Also know that task may not call to you and that is ok … there are many ways we can help and give back. So please don’t feel pressured. =)

Thank you all again for the wonderful efforts you do … you truly are a beautiful bunch. =)

Gassho
Shingen

Pay It Forward – The Middle Way

Treeleaf Zendo - Global Days of Service

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. =)

Compassionate Giving Online

Hello everyone,

One of our Sangha member’s has shared a wonderful list of online organizations/charities … please have a look and consider sharing if you are able. =) Gassho

abchomeandplanet.org: ABC Home’s Gifts of Compassion
alternativegifts.org: gifts of service, gift registry for 34 nonprofits
changingthepresent.org: gifts of service, gift registry, wish lists
charitynavigator.org: rates nonprofits on how they use donor dollars
guidestar.org: rates 1.7 million nonprofits, with tips on giving wisely
justgive.org: gift certificates, gift baskets, gift registry, wish lists
heifer.org: Heifer Project’s online catalog with gifts, wish lists, wedding registry
oxfamamericaunwrapped.com: Oxfam America’s online gift catalog
seva.org: Seva Foundation’s Gifts of Service
directrelief.org: tribute cards, gifts of service

These are larger organizations… but don’t forget your local charities and people in need!

Giving Tuesday

GT_logo2013-final1

Today is a new day, a day like many others where we can get up off our zafu and step outside into our communities. Jundo has shared a wonderful idea about sharing ideas about sharing and supporting one another.

Giving Tuesday is a cause where we can all come together and give a little something, whether that be with your family, place of employment, or the community you live in. Then we come together here and share any ideas we have or share in the ways we have made a difference. What do you think? Have any ideas?

Have a look and Giving Tuesday and maybe they too can inspire change within you. =)

Giving Tuesday WebsiteFacebook PageCharter for Compassion

Thank you …

Hello everyone,

First off thank you so very much for taking the time out of your busy schedules and undertaking this project with me. The Global Days of Service is a wonderful practice where we can give back to our community or to people who are in need. I understand that not all of you were able to partake in the last two weeks, but know that this practice is not just done on the set dates and times, but is able to be done everyday, every moment. =)

Also just a heads up that the holiday season will be upon us soon enough and I know there will be many ways to lend a hand or support someone in need. So I will be setting another Global Days of Service in the month of December … so keep your eyes pealed.

I hope the wonderful ideas and thoughts from our fellow Sangha members have given you some inspiration or maybe planted the seed for upcoming service days. I look forward to sitting, practicing, and sharing with you all. =)

Gassho
Shingen

Welcome to the Global Day of Service for October 20th-November 2nd, 2014

Hello everyone, our next Global Days of Service period is upon us!

As we approach our next days of service period there will be some of you for whom this is the first time you participate, feel free to view the experiences in past threads of those who have gone out into the world to serve. For others this will be the second or third time that you are being asked to serve your community. If you are feeling stumped on how you may be of service please take a look at some past Global Day of Service – Project Ideas and maybe some inspiration will come up for you.

The idea of a two-week period is to give Treeleafers as much flexibility as possible in scheduling their day of service and at the same time try to create some community and momentum as we work and support one another in relieving the suffering of others in the world.

Also, if you wish to share anonymously please PM myself and I will post it for public viewing within the forum thread.

For some it will be an uncomfortable experiment, for others a welcomed challenge. Either way please know there is no pass or fail … the important part is to try and perform your activity with a kind and sincere heart. Whether that be helping someone in your community, picking up trash in your local park, writing a pen pal letter, cleaning a dirty diaper, or donating money to a family or organization in need … if done with loving kindness there is no difference, no separation.

Please share your experiences here, I’m particularly interested in knowing how the experience and meaning of service has changed for you over time. Thank you again everyone for your time and effort during our Global Days of Service … Happy Sharing! =)

Treeleaf Zendo - Global Days of Service

Please join in and do your part.

In fact, this is part of the “donation” we ask of you for participating in Treeleaf. Our Sangha is Freeing, but not Free … and while we do not impose any required fee for our activities here apart from voluntary donations, we do ask EVERYONE to roll up their sleeves and do something to help those truly in need. Please consider this a mandatory charge! Thus, I am going to ask every single person sitting in our Sangha, without exception, to join in this. This is not simply a matter of writing a check (though that is good too), but rather we will request “hands on” work of some kind taking a day or much of a day. Include the whole family, the kids, and make it a family event! No one type of activity will be required, although some activity is required of you, and there will be an activity suitable for each and all of you to choose, something for everyone despite busy schedules or physical limitations. There is always a way to help.

And here is a bit more on this from me, a talk I gave before our first Global Days a couple of years ago …