I feel simultaneously blessed AND guilty to be living in place where the weather has been mostly mild and drama free. In the wake of the recent natural disasters I have this strong desire to DO SOMETHING but at the same time I don't know really know what to do. Unfortunately, when these kinds of things have happened before this feeling of "not knowing what to do" has led me to do.....well, nothing.
When the problems of the world become so big it's easy for me to think that there is really nothing I can do to make any difference. Yes, I plan to send money and will continue telling myself that I will "get around to it" but I also think to myself "can $50 really help someone?" And, just as what happened with hurricane Harvey, a new crisis occurs that overshadows the last and the whole cycle starts over again.
But, recently I read an article that helped me change my way of thinking. It was about how making daily, small efforts really add up and begin to make a difference. I know that I personally can't end homelessness, cure childhood hunger, or clean up the states of Florida and Texas. However, there are things that I can do right here in my neighborhood that can contribute to those causes (and with little time or effort). So, I started thinking on a smaller (and quite frankly) more manageable scale.
And, if we're being honest (we're friends by now right?), helping is really just as much about me as it is about others. I feel GREAT when I do something helpful. I need that in my life. So, wondering what you can do (and you don't have tons of extra time or money)? Here's a quick list to get you started:
1. Be nice and forgiving to someone who is not so nice and forgiving to you. Carrying around anger and resentment is so heavy. Why not just let go? Your checkout lady was rude? Think about what kind of day she might be having (up all night with her kids, illness, financial stressors) and instead of adding to the stress try just plain and simple kindness. Seriously, being kind is so much easier.
2. Send some extra snacks or school supplies to your kids' class. Teachers have to pay for so much out of their pockets. But some parents just can't afford the extras for their child 9 (if you're feeling like judging them try #1). By sending in a few things here and there, you will be helping your child's peers, the teachers, and setting such a great example.
3. Start a lemonade stand and send the money to hurricane victims! A child at my son's school did this very recently and raised a few thousand dollars!!! Unbelievable! What a great way to teach kids about giving! Haven't we been dying to do a lemonade stand anyway? Apple cider for fall anyone?
4. Go talk to a lonely or troubled neighbor (co worker, child, etc.). Know those thoughts you have of "oh, poor so and so"? Why not just go smile and make friendly conversation? You never know when you can make a difference by just being supportive to someone in need of a shoulder to cry on.
5. Cook (or buy) a hot meal for someone in need. Maybe a homeless person or maybe not? Food is healing for the soul and the body.
6. Next time you're at Pure, give to Aveda's clean water program. They usually have candles you can buy that donate to clean water AND you'll have a nice gift for yourself!
See, sounds pretty doable right? There are probably a million other things that I will think of after I end this blog. But the message here is that you CAN and WILL make a difference with just a teeny tiny bit of effort. Kindness feels so good especially with so many people in need right now.....