Choose to Be Kind and Change the World
Posted on 01 December 2011
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Plato
While volunteering my carpentry skills for Fundacion Uaguitupu on the outskirts of Panama City, Panama, I made a difference by assisting Kuna Indian communities in the renovation of their homes and churches. There was an abundance of necessary repairs, but unfortunately, funding could not keep pace with the work to be done.
After three months of doing what I could with the resources available, I had done little worthy of the evening news, yet a small patch of the world had become a better place because I had been there. Sadly, in many parts of the world it doesn’t take much to be considered an improvement.
I am forever amazed at the capacity of those who live difficult lives to treat others with kindness and compassion. I was welcomed into many homes, treated with great respect, and graciously thanked for my time in the community.
It is humbling to think that I have so much to give, when the truth is I have so much more to learn.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that…
Each and every one of us can change the world!
Too many of us believe we have no power to make a difference. I have entertained the thought many times.
Making a difference often takes time, and our kindness may not grow roots until long after we’ve fertilized the flower beds. Focus on the act of giving, rather than the results of your actions. Detach from outcome, and you’ll be free to make a difference in ways you never imagined.
You don’t have to eradicate world hunger. Simply do something good everyday.
It’s not results that soothe our souls; it’s actions. In a difficult world, kindness has amazing power.
Every day people endure stressful jobs, demanding relationships, and backbreaking responsibility. Every day people battle life threatening disease, face uncertain futures, and struggle to survive.
Each moment of our lives, someone, somewhere, is in need of kindness.
What you do for others energizes the Universe. What you do for the Universe energizes you.
Go slowly. Breathe, smile and be present. Seek opportunities to make a difference, embrace the moments, and be grateful for every choice you make.
Opportunities for relaxing meditation exist in every episode of your life.
One that I particularly enjoy is strolling through a bustling airport. Always surrounded by a whirlwind of activity I become entranced in a guessing game of intentions. Where have travelers been? Where are they going? Are they smiling or crying, bundled up or in flip flops? Conquering the world, or leaving the world behind?
One can choose to be engulfed by the mayhem, or detached, able to savor each moment.
Smile when you check in, even if the person behind the counter has obviously had a bad day. Help someone stow their carryon luggage, even if it takes the space you had spotted for your own.
Accept a delay as a chance to slow down, even if it means missing a connection. I doubt that pilots and flight attendants enjoy delays any more than passengers, and life will continue on its merry way with or without us.
My favorite moment is when the aircraft door closes. The past disappears and the future becomes real. I sit back, relax, and as the jet engines spool up, close my eyes and welcome the vibrations of another new journey.
Smile at everyone you meet.
A smile is a miracle worker.
It makes us more attractive and can change our mood. No one can deny that smiling is contagious. Many have written that smiling relieves stress, boosts your immune system, and releases endorphins and serotonin. A smile can light up your face and make you look younger. A smile is a gift that we receive only by giving to others!
The greatest gift of a smile is that it keeps nothing for itself. Its purpose is to give, to console, to inspire, to cherish, to love, to multiply. Give yours freely to others. Spread happiness and feel it grow inside you. Be contagious.
Your smile brings light to the world. Would you deny the world moments of brightness?
Share your thoughts.
My thoughts are my own, and unsolicited.
Contribute to Tiny Buddha and other sites that inspire your spirit.
Submit your best effort at expressing your thoughts. Post a comment on the efforts of others. Why wait until there’s a free book giveaway to share a few words? The world wants to hear what you have to say.
As I’m sure you’ve read here many times, blog posts can arrive at just the right moment in a person’s life. Send your thoughts on their way. Someone may welcome them with open arms.
It takes courage to put your thoughts out there. Be courageous. It only takes a few moments.
Many years ago my niece died of cancer at the age of 21. She was an adventurous spirit, confident and vocal. I spent many afternoons and evenings with her hand in mine as she rested uncomfortably. Her facial expressions unmasked the pain that spread within her dying body.
On better days she would tell me how she loved her visits with other patients, most of them much younger than her. These same young children I passed in the hallways, brave young children wheeling their life support beside them, and almost always smiling. I have no doubt that my niece helped create a few of those smiles.
As we all know, cancer spreads far beyond the children’s hospital that lovingly cared for my niece. We can make a difference in the lives of others by sharing our time and compassion.
Jacque’s favorite expression was “cool beans!” I don’t hear it often, but when I do, it’s like turning my gaze toward the sunshine.
Feed the hungry.
I like to eat, and I would wager that you do too!
I was raised on meat and potatoes with sit-down family dinners, and never wanted for food on the table. I miss my mother’s cooking and the early evening conversations.
What I’ve never had to do is stand on a street corner and beg for food, dig through restaurant trash bins, or go to bed hungry.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, hunger touches every community.
Every community also has a food bank. It’s very easy to volunteer, and many who are hungry will benefit from your actions.
Live a giving life.
Life becomes complicated when its difficulties overpower our capacity to love others, to share our compassion, and to simply find time in our busy schedules to live a giving life.
Make a difference! Give to receive! Reap what you sow!
No matter what situation you find yourself in, come from a place of kindness and you will always treat others in the way they’re meant to be treated.
Let go of complicated. Choose simple. Make people smile. That’s how you make a difference!
Photo by mynameisharsha
About Cary West
Cary is a carpenter, writer, and wandering spirit who often trips over his own feet. Learning the art of getting back up has nudged him along on a path of exploration, though he can be a bit like Columbus, at times unsure of where he's landed. Nonetheless, the quest continues at unclutteredsoul.com.