Aspire is my second favorite word (serendipity is my first, that can fill another blog post!). I love the word aspire because it is so full of hope and promise. It allows us to know that even if we can’t do or become something right now we can certainly keep working toward that goal. When we aspire we map out where we are heading on our journey, we set up a plan that gives us direction not only for the mind but for the soul as well.
I aspire to be a philanthropist, one major drawback to that goal right now is lacking the amount of funds needed to make major endowments! So how do I keep working and building toward that goal? By doing what I can in small ways to develop the practice of giving, of sacrifice and of taking responsibility for my role as a citizen of the world. One of my favorite personal mottos is “saving the world one amoeba at a time”! It is so important to me that it is in my twitter bio, it isn’t only who I am but what I do.
For me one of the major components of doing good is altruism, working for the cause of someone or something else without any personal gain. While it is important to support and contribute to our community, our schools and organizations we belong to those are things we do benefit from or have an obligation to support. What do we support because it is the right thing to do, because we feel a sense of humanity and compassion? I think often we hear of circumstances where our first reaction is to want to do something – often this occurs with natural disasters or serious illnesses. Sadly, our next thought is typically “what I can afford to do won’t make a difference”, or we go on with the best intentions and just never get around to taking action. I promise you that whatever you can afford does make a difference – in fact it is often a multitude of small donations that provide the lion’s share of the total as opposed to a few large checks. As far as taking action – do it in that moment! Try to make it a personal goal that when you hear about something that needs support you immediately make an action plan. Perhaps there is an option to text a donation, or do it online – if you can stop to play the latest app craze you can do this! If you are on a strict budget you can make a list of support you would like to offer and refer to it when you pay your bills. Again, every little bit truly does help.
Once you start introducing this practice into your everyday life it will become a habit. McDonald’s change automatically goes into the Ronald McDonald House collection at every cash register, whenever you pay at a supermarket or store offering a donation for a cause give one dollar and proudly fill out the sneaker, or shamrock or whatever paper decoration it comes with! Look for your local food pantry or community center and plan on buying one or two items during your shopping trips – items such as peanut butter, canned tuna, rice, pasta and mac and cheese are affordable and allow families who are experiencing hard times to have meals that are nutritious and filling.
When you look for opportunities to give you will be amazed at how many there are in your path every day, when the practice becomes a habit your donations in your personal karma bank will grow one hundred fold! It will become not only what you do, but who you are and the world needs lots of people just like that!