How I got more than I gave
The gift of volunteering
It's been a beautiful autumn day today.
I was driving today when a radio advert came on. I don't remember exactly which charity it was but I do remember the gist of the message.
It was a reminder of what help can look like for someone who's dealing with something big. The advert went through simple examples. The one that struck me was the offer to mow a lawn. I could imagine the difference for someone as they opened their curtains in the morning to see fresh, cut grass with dew glistening on it instead of an overgrown jungle.
I was reminded how good it feels to offer help. I asked myself what act of kindness I'd done lately. I thought back to my youngest's school Halloween disco and cake sale last Friday. I remembered how fun it was, how I met some mums that I'd never spoken to before. We laughed together. We washed up, swept floors, shepherded, gave out drinks and tidied up.
I also remembered the conversation beforehand where some well meaning people had said to me, "why are you doing that?" "you're nuts, you're working, there's plenty of people who aren't who could help."
The truth is I'm so glad I jumped in to help. It felt good in my body. My energy lifted. I gained from helping out.
I felt a part of something and I saw how much these women do. Being in charge of lots of kids is a big responsibility and these mums were awesome organisers. By helping out, I was given the chance to really witness, acknowledge and thank them for what they do. I saw the impact that acknowledgment had on them.
A mentor once gave me some advice. He said, "Vanessa, when you're lost in your own shit find a way to be of service to someone else." It works every time - I just feel better.
Kindness is infectious.
And I'm curious ... you know how they say ... I thought it was just me that felt this way ...what do you notice the impact of your random act of kindness is for you?
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