Friday, 22 July 2011

Doing Good for the Good of it!

In Oprah’s final season, she often spoke of “The things I know for sure”.  One thing I know for sure is that doing good never feels bad.  At least it never has for me.  A simple “hello, how are you?” to a grumpy sales clerk, giving up a seat on public transit, donating to a meaningful charity, sending a handwritten note to a troubled friend, offering a stranger change when they’re short – all things that can produce a sense of gratitude in the receiver, and an uplifted spirit in the sender.
I love the power of the “pay it forward concept” – the ripple of good deeds and generosity that widens from one simple act of kindness.  Every action has an equal or more intense reaction – good produces more good.  Being kind brings out kindness.  It’s as simple as that and the world needs more of it.
The thing that irks me, however, is when people do good for selfish, underlying purposes – an image boost, publicity stunt, profit surge or tax break, for instance.   “Appearing good” and doing good are not one in the same.  I believe the truest revelation of one’s character is how they behave behind closed doors - when no one’s watching.  Good deeds, kind acts and generosity should evolve from a place of good intention – the intentions of love, kindness, compassion – not self-interest.
What’s one good deed you’ve done lately that’s uplifted your spirit?  Have you experienced a random act of kindness?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Reclaiming Fearlessness!

Back flips off diving boards, skiing double black diamond hills without any lessons, para-sailing in the Caribbean, living and schooling abroad – all things I revelled in my youth, and undertook with fearless enthusiasm.  Yet, despite the exhilaration I remember, somewhere along the way I abandoned those things that brought incredible joy.  “You’re an adult now”, “you have kids to think about” and other factors built an internal wall of resistance inside of me, holding me back from just doing, just being.  In essence, reason and logic trumped my desire to be fearless.  Someone else’s interpretation of what I “should” be doing messed with my innate yearning to continue to explore the unknown and just have fun.
Well, at least temporarily.  There’s been something so inspiring, so beautiful about watching my young son attack new challenges, new adventures, new skills with relentless enthusiasm.  No rationing or resistance in his actions - just pure determination and excitement.  He’s encouraged me to say “I used to…” or “when I was a kid I…” no more!  I’m reclaiming my fearlessness – trying to do one thing each day I’m a bit afraid of, or something childlike.  Last week alone I swung high on a swing and jumped off like I used to with my older sister, flung myself down a tall playground poll (blisters to prove it!), jumped into the lake at the cottage (overcoming a fear I developed of jumping in water I can’t see the bottom of), and went for a tube ride on the back of a boat.  Not of the ski diving or bungee jumping calibre here, but small things I stopped doing when I grew into my logical, grown up self.  Each one got my adrenaline juices flowing again, and I’m determined to keep chasing the rush!
What have you done lately that was fun and fearless?  And if nothing, what’s holding you back?