Acts of service

In the last week of our Power of Kindness course, we are looking at Service.

This weeks theme has really resonated with me, because it’s something I discovered for myself recently.

About the value of acts of kindness that are given in a true spirit of generosity – without expecting recognition, praise, thanks, or some other form of compensation in return.

A couple of months ago I made dinner for a neighbour of mine who had been unwell.  It was something that I did for her frequently.  In a conversation that followed, she was full of praise for another neighbour of ours who had also helped her, but did not recognise my contribution.  Nor thank me.  At the time I was quite hurt, and I remember coming home and swearing that was the last thing that I was going to do for her.

Then it occurred to me – that if that was how I was reacting, then I was not giving in the right spirit.  It should not have mattered how – or if – she reacted. 

The next day I took her down dinner again.  And this time I did it with a pure heart, and and without expecting anything in return.

And it was a beautiful and freeing experience.

There are infinite ways that we can bring into the life of another person some benefit, relief, kindness, hope and love.  

This is true service.

It can also be in the smallest of actions – a genuine smile, giving warm appreciation, truly listening to someone.

If we expect recognition from the person that we provide this service to, we are doing them a dis-service.

The act does not make the recipient feel uplifted or enriched. Instead it takes away it’s beauty.

There is such capacity for beauty in acts of service that do not come with strings attached.

And the ability to selflessly provide kindness and love in this world that so badly needs them.

 

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Acknowledge with gratitude

I am excited again by this weeks assignment in The Power of Kindness class.

This week we are encouraged to “Pay special attention to any kindness that is extended to you this week, no matter how small. Choose at least one of these kind acts and acknowledge it with gratitude”.

The accompanying chapter we had to read has resonated with me so much.

Especially this paragraph:

“Let us think, then, about the people in our life to whom we are grateful.  There are plenty of people – many more than we believe – who perhaps have done us good, even though we may not have fully acknowledged it:  parents, friends, teachers, lovers, and in general all who have made our life a lot or even a little better, like the postman who delivers our mail every day, or the taxi driver who tells us a good joke”.

From:  The Power of Kindness, by Piero Ferrucci

 

Reading that paragraph has caused such a profound shift and revelation for me.

I’ve always been a grateful person.  Or so I thought.  But my understanding of gratitude was somewhat limited.

I love that it can be extended to such small things.  Like the postie who delivers the mail.

How true that is!

So today I wanted to list the small things that I am grateful for:

  • The man who was delivering bread to my local corner store this morning.  As I was walking out, he was walking in.  And he was just so kind and friendly.  It made my day.
  • My postie.  Who stopped to talk to (and pat) a neighbourhood dog as he delivered the mail.
  • My neighbours.  Who looked after my son, and I, when I was really sick last weekend.

and finally

  • My little boy.  Who never fails to make me proud with his kind and giving nature.  On Monday night I went to bed to find he’d left a surprise for me.  When I had tucked him into bed earlier, I had offered him my torch for the night.  He has a favourite blue one that he likes to take to bed “just in case”.  He loved the idea of taking my torch for the night.  However after I left his room, he’d snuck out of bed, and into my room and put his favourite blue torch on my bedside table.  So that I would have one if I needed it.

When I walked into my room to see that my heart completely melted.  One of the most beautiful and thoughtful (and genuine) things anyone has ever done for me.

What small things can you be grateful for today?

Who has helped to make your life just that little bit happier today?

 

 

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

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