Have you determined what the purpose of your life is? On the way to the art class I teach today I was thinking about my life and it's purpose. Now this is an age old question and there are many views on the answer to this question. I can tell you for sure, though, that I beleive that one of our purposes here on this earth is to encourage each other, help each other and inspire each other. I was thinking about some recent events in my life and I was trying to relate them to how they made me feel and think about my own life. What I determined was that the way we treat others affects them in ways we don't always realize(good and bad.) We have a tremendous amount of power in what we say and do. Of course, I wish I could say that I always do the right thing and treat others the way I would want to be treated. The reality is, unfortunately, that sometimes I blow it! I don't always behave the way I wish I would have and when I realize it, I find I am somewhat embarassed about my behavior. However, (and this is the good part!) sometimes I DO behave in a way that makes me proud of who I am! For that I am thankful! At least I don't blow it all the time. So I would like to encourage you to think about the way you are behaving and treating others. Do you have a servant's heart? Do you forgive others readily? Are you inclusive of others? Can you empathize with people in different situations than your own? These are some areas to work on and it does take a lot of work. Very often we are very interested in what is going on in our life and we don't really consider other people and what is going on in their life. Let's all try to change that. Let's consider others before ourselves. Here are some ideas that I hope inspire you this year:
*Can you invite a friend that lives alone to eat dinner with your family one night this week?
*Can you send over a cooked meal to a friend that has a lot going on with their family?
*Can you offer to take an elderly neighbor shopping or to pick up some groceries for someone that is infirm?
*Can you offer a ride to someone that doesn't have a car or that doesn't drive? Maybe you can help them get to the doctors or to the store.
*Can you teach something you know well to someone who wants to learn it?
*Can you babysit for someone that really needs a night out with their husband or with their friends?
*Can you pay for something for someone else and do it anonymously?
*Can you contribute food to a local food shelter or church/temple?
*Can you volunteer to do a job that an organization is having a hard time filling?
*Can you teach someone to use a computer?
*Can you teach someone to speak English?
*Can you share some of your belongings with others, ie. clothes, coats, food, etc.
*Can you buy a homeless person a meal from a local restaurant?
If you are able to read this you are probably able to do many of the above things and many more. Let's make this year a year of kindness to others. Teach your children to behave in a way that will make you and them proud. Of course, children learn what they see, so let your kids see you implementing things that will make them proud of who your are. We would love to hear some of your other ideas about how we can make this a year of kindness toward others. How good do you feel when someone goes out of their way for you? It makes you feel special!
Recently, we gave away a set of ornaments on our blog. As it turned out, the winner, Raychelle, was student of mine several years ago. She is now a beautiful, young woman. When I found out she won, I asked her if she wanted me to send her the gift or if she would like to come and make it and I could show her how. She opted to come and make it with me. I appreciated that she wanted to come and visit with me and learn something new that I could share with her. I loved seeing her again and spending time with her. She caught me up on her life and I caught her up on mine. We chatted, painted, laughed and just had a great time. I am thankful for this young woman in my life. I appreciate that she took her valuable time to spend with me. When she left I knew we had both spent our time in a positive way, encouraging and inspiring each other. That is what happens when you take the time to connect in a way that considers and helps others. What we give really comes back to us in a million different blessings. There is a saying that I really love, it is truly one of my favorite quotes of all time. I would like to share it with you:
To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty and find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have suceeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson