I listened to speech from Nipun Mehta in Aug of 2013 – what if generosity is taught by people that have little. I enjoyed listening to Nipun. One idea, one thought left an imprint on me – it’s not what you give, but what giving does to you.
Everyone can give – it’s about inner abundance, and not material abundance. And small is beautiful. “It’s not the stuff; it’s the love around that stuff.”
I took up Nipun’s call to action to sign up for a Kindness Challenge. I didn’t know what to expect. As the Challenge started, I got an email every morning for 21 days. The messages would be to do something very simple – acknowledge someone working hard, be nice to a public servant, listen patiently to a family member, call a friend I haven’t been in touch with for a while, give a gift of book to a friend, do an unanimous act of kindness to someone …etc. I tried to act on quite of a few of these, and impact it had on me was priceless. I became more aware of my thoughts, my emotions. I opened up to people around me more easily. I felt connected in a soothing, nurturing healing way. We feel good when we connect with others in a meaningful way – that’s our very nature. It felt good to experience it.
I decided to become a volunteer with ServiceSpace then. What a journey it has been.
I took on an initiative to use SMILE cards – or as the card says, I started tagging people. It’s giving something anonymously along with the SMILE card. I got a number of fun, fascinating, energizing experiences from that. Here are some of my stories on from that. Random acts of kindness filled me with a feeling of goodness and positive spirit that carried me rest of the day when I would tag someone. I had an Aha moment on one of Awakin calls that summed it up so well.
It’s about our emotional brain – amygdale. It is wired genetically over millions of years to react to fears – either by fighting or running away (fight or flight response). It shunts the blood supply away from the thinking brain and towards limbs. Breathing gets shallow; blood pressure goes up, heart starts pounding. This hardwired response is also triggered unfortunately in every situation that makes us uncomfortable – could be getting stuck in traffic, standing up and speaking in front of people, preparing for a challenging exam, anxiety from not being able to work effectively with someone, friction at home …etc. Acts of kindness … acts of giving … acts of helping out others rewires our neurology in a nurturing, healing ways. It relaxes the brain, lowers blood pressure, and connects me to that stillness and peace from inside.
I write video introductions for Karma Tube. What an experience to watch variety of insightful videos and to distill my thoughts. A few of my favorite videos…
I write takeaways for Awakin calls, anchor calls when I am able as a host. Experiences from that are mind blowing. Examples –
- Building village intelligence – Sureshbhai Parmar
- Unconditional Leadership – Walking the Walk – Conversation with David Robinson
- Spiritual Activism – Potential for solving real world problems using mindfulness – Conversation with Claudia Horwitz
- Power in the feeling of being connected – conversation with Emma Seppala
- Ecoshophy: Nature’s Guide to a Better world – conversation with Elisabet Sahtouris
Three ideas, three insights that have come back to me over and over while volunteering with ServiceSpace –
- Monitor my own thoughts: Being able to slow down where I am able to monitor my own thoughts – how I am reacting to events, people, situations, ideas …etc is so empowering. Learned about its healing benefits from Joan Borysenko’s book. I have been trying to cultivate that since then. Awakin calls brought me closer to it. I am able to see the challenges, situations in a whole new light, simply by observing my own mind and thoughts. How priceless!
- Another common thread and a ripple that has reached me while engaging with thought leaders, positive change makers is listening to that voice from inside – vision/fire from inside, calling from inside, answers from inside …however you coin it. I think it is a natural reward of monitoring my own thoughts. It comes naturally, and it is so enlightening, so liberating, and so insightful. And second part to that – act on that voice.
- I have heard and read so much about forgiving others – and that is, for my own good (health, relationships, unlocking my potential to the fullest). I have heard and read about compassion to others. I have heard and read so much about value/virtue of patience while dealing with others. I have understood power of empathy, as it creates breathing room for the person – he/she would feel so validated simply to know he/she is understood. How do I cultivate? Where do I start? Answer that I got is start with simple acts of giving. It all starts there – forgiveness, compassion, empathy, patience …etc all – start with small acts of giving.