Choosing to Do Good Regardless of What Goes On In The World Around You



The Paradoxical Commandments – Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001



I originally came across the Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments in preparing for a lesson plan for The Family Program, it had been attributed to Mother Teresa. Digging a bit deeper I found that it was authored by Kent M. Keith as part of a booklet for leadership, Mother Teresa had seen it and had it hanging on the wall in her office in Calcutta.

I think that this is such a great basis for us to use as we go through our daily lives, as we work toward integrity in all things. So often, because we are only human, we allow the actions or reactions of others to affect our behavior and decisions.  Once we start on that slippery slope of being many things to many people we lose our sense of self and most importantly we stray from being people of integrity.

As we go along our journey we need to constantly work to make sure we have a clear sense of right and wrong, a clear sense of respect for self and others, and  a clear sense of the message our words and actions convey. Not because we are trying to make a good impression, not because we want to get ahead or get a deal done, not because we want to be popular but because it is the right thing for us to do.

Once you start to lead a life based on your beliefs, principles and ideals it truly does become easier. When you are who you are at all times you are never trying to remember who you said what to, you never live in fear of being found out. Don’t make the mistake of thinking any of this will make you popular – the harder you try to live by your own set of ideals the more others will try to tear you down. Because they act with the intent of quid pro quo, they assume you do as well. Because they create situations to put themselves in a good light , they assume you do as well. Because they see you work hard to put your best self out there at all times they assume it is an act because the thought of working that hard to be your  best for the sheer reward of knowing you are your best is beyond them.

Despite any obstacles – be your best self anyway. Set goals and work hard to reach them, aspire for things that might be beyond your reach right now so that you have dreams to work toward. Your “doing it anyway” isn’t to impress others – it’s to allow you to put your head on the pillow at night knowing who you are, that you did your best and that indeed you do have a plan for tomorrow!


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Doing Good – Community Center of Northern Westchester

The Community Center of Northern Westchester provides food, clothing and services to those in need in the Northern Westchester area. The surrounding community, including the amazing families from the Family Program that I facilitate at St. Joseph’s Church, are very active in supporting the center – our neighbors. Support is offered through donations of food, clothing and funds and by volunteering time.

Their web site offers the following:

The Community Center of Northern Westchester is a warm and caring place dedicated to helping neighbors in need. With the support of 28 sponsoring organizations, and the generosity and volunteer power of residents from all over Northern Westchester, we offer food and clothing, as well as other programs designed to meet the needs of those living in the Northern Westchester community.

Please join in opening your hearts to help and support your neighbors in need.

For more information about what donations are needed and how you can be involved in supporting the Community Center of Northern Westchester their contact information is as follows: 

The center is located at :

 Community Center of Northern Westchester
84 Bedford Road
Katonah, New York 10536
Tel: 914-232-6572 Fax: 914-232-6574

Email us:


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Doing Good – Laughing Man – All Be Happy!

Laughing Man coffee, tea, chocolate and fine merchandise is a company founded by Hugh Jackman, Barry Steingard and David Steingard. Their website states the following:

Laughing Man Worldwide makes a difference in two ways. By using our resources to find, incubate and support companies and products that believe in the ALL BE HAPPY vision, we can do our part to create jobs, support the entrepreneurial spirit and encourage the ingenuity that is essential to community health. Second, through the successful incubation of companies and products Laughing Man Worldwide gives 100% of the profits it receives from those ventures to charity.

Laughing Man Worldwide believes education is the essential foundation for ensuring a peaceful, healthy and prosperous worldwide community. We support innovative and effective educational initiatives both here and abroad. To begin with, we have partnered with Harlem Village Academies and Dr. Deborah Kenny.
We have visited these schools and consider them to be a premier example of what education can be and can do.

We are driven by the promise, to help, we made to our friend Dukale.

We look to the future with hope, excitement and the open question, who can Laughing Man Worldwide help next? We hope to become a company you trust, welcome into your homes and together make
“ALL BE HAPPY” a reality

Laughing Man products can be ordered through their web site: or by visiting their store located at 184 Duane Street in the Tribeca section of Manhattan.

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Laughing Man: Hugh Jackman & Caffeine – Who Could Ask For Anything More?!

While visiting Ethiopia as an ambassador for World Vision Hugh Jackman had the opportunity to meet a coffee farmer named Dukale. The time spent with Dukale, his family and community, enabled Hugh to see the benfits that the aid from World Vision provided to this group. Not only was Dukale able to provide for his family, but he was able to expand enough to provide work for others in the community and start a cafe serving his coffee. The coffee farm was also utilizing a new method of using manure as a source to provide methane to the homes, enabling the families to avoid the many negative aspects of using a fire as a source of heat including health risks due to the smoke.

The aid from World Vision – supporting a business and enabling it to grow and expand while improving the quality of life – was not a one time lump sum of money, but a resource toward a brighter, more productive future.

Hugh left Dukale promising to find a way to continue the dream of success and expansion for his friend.

Hugh Jackman finds inspiration with Ethiopian coffee farmers. Launches charity brand, Laughing Man

Fast forward a few years, add the inspiration of Paul Newman and AE Hotchner’s Newman’s Own using fine product and public profile to do good as detailed in Pursuit of the Common Good. The final piece of serendipity, a meeting with friends Barry & David Steingard who mention they are interested in re-entering the coffee business and you have the birth of Laughing Man: coffee, tea, chocolate and fine merchandise.

The motto for Laughing Man is “all be happy”, taken from the ancient Sanskrit Lokah Blessing ” “May all beings everywhere be happy and free.” All profits from Laughing Man will be donated to charity – starting with World Vision and Harlem Village Academies and expanding to opportunities of education and growth for businesses and communities. This “seeding” of minds and businesses not only provides the immediate resources needed, but hope for the future as those benefiting from these opportunities grows exponentially. Opportunity to learn, grow and work is without a doubt a path to happiness and freedom.

Now onto the most important part – is it any good??  Well this morning I brewed my first pot of 184 Home Blend, ground from whole beans, and it was delicious. I am looking forward to visiting the Laughing Man Marketplace  at 184 Duane Street in Tribeca soon to sample the other offerings and hopefully educate myself and expand my caffeinated horizons. My husband Anthony had the hot chocolate and enjoyed the rich, dark flavor.  Definitely not the after school sweet powder from your childhood! I am waiting for my daughter Katie, the tea aficionado, to weigh in on the various teas offered. Love my tee shirt, and most importantly love that it all is part of doing good.

I aspire to be a philanthropist, to save the world one amoeba at a time. For now I am incredibly happy to find ways to contribute to businesses already in motion achieving those goals. You can do this too –  visit Laughing Man online at, or visit the Laughing Man Marketplace in person at 184 Duane Street, New York – just make sure you visit and do good!

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Thoughtful Thursdays!


  “The best way to lose yourself is to find yourself in the service of others.

Mahatma Gandhi

There are times when things become overwhelming to us, when we feel ourselves sinking into the negative feelings. This is draining  to us emotionally, physically and spiritually.

One of the best ways to fight this feeling, to break free from the weight of negativity, is to reach out to others.

 Sometimes it takes thinking about someone else, their needs and their situations to put our own needs and situations into perspective. 


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Straight Ally Since 1965!

I have been a straight ally since 1965 when I met my friend Silvio. The words were different then, but the intent and cruelty were the same. Fortunately my friend had a strong sense of who he was even at a young age and a group of friends from school and our theatre group that provided support and I guess protection of a sort.
One of my best friends now is an example of what it is to be a good man – not qualified by straight or gay – but a good man. He too had strength of character to make it through.
For all who do not have that in their personal lives, let them know the world at large is and can be a kinder place than what they know. Then go out there every day and make it so.

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Soulful Sundays!

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
Dalai Lama

There is a vast difference between naming your faith and living your faith.

 I often use the paradox of the person always early for service, sitting in the front pew who then makes faces at the late comers and those with little children who are trying their best to keep their kids quiet (sometimes using Cheerios or toys as bribes). Sometimes these denizens of the front row are the very same folks who cut you off in the parking lot or don’t acknowledge your friendly nod in the coffee shop.

Naming your faith and making sure it is on display for all to see is not the same as living a life, everyday, filled with kindness, compassion and service. Sorting your fellow community members into the worthy and the unworthy is so against the very lessons of love and acceptance at the root of faith. Feeling that a donation can buy your way in or “up” was the cause of religious separation hundreds of years ago, yet today we still see those that feel making a donation or inviting the religious from their congregation to their homes gives them the edge.

For every “pillar of the community” there are many that volunteer, serve, drop off donations and connect with political leaders on behalf of those in need among us. Because those random acts of kindness aren’t publicized and by their very nature don’t earn “brownie points” the value does not lie in how other’s perceive us but how God, or our greater being perceives us and at the end of the day – how we perceive ourselves.

In living our faith everday, starting from the inside out, it becomes who we are instead of what we do. We begin within ourselves, our homes and our families and then carry the positive energy to the world outside us. It puts us in touch with each other and with our God or Being in a way that is meaningdul and directive, and it is accepting of our shortcomings due to the fact that we are indeed all only human.


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Thoughtful Thursdays!

On a recent flight I listened to Practicing The Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations and Exercises From The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Narrated by the author, this audio book expounds on Tolle’s work The Power of Now focusing on living in the moment and being present to what is happening in your life. Essentially it follows the concept that you cannot recreate the past or predict the future – the only impact you truly have are on your thoughts and actions right now.

I know few people who really have mastered this art, when they speak to you they look in your eye and you know they are focusing all of their attention on you. They consider what you say and respond with thoughtful insight or insightful questions. I aspire to do this, I think there are times when I really do achieve this goal. I feel the difference in the quality and tone of conversations I have when I am totally centered in that moment.  Interestingly, those who do this best are among the truly busiest people I know.

Somehow the concept of multi-tasking, juggling, and busyness equating to importance has taken us over. This being in the moment does not mean that you do less – it means that you are focused on what you are doing. It means that instead of making mile long to do lists we make short, reasonable lists and get the items done. Rather than a day filled with “drive by” conversations and good intentions gone bad we can have a day where we know in a very satisfied way that we have made accomplishments.

This practice is not only valuable to adults, but to teens and children as well. In this world filled with multiple distractions this is a very valuable tool to have. We need to be patient with this practice, realizing that it will take time to become a habit, to become who we are rather than how we do things.

Set aside some time, set a timer if you have to, to be attentive to a task. Practice focusing, sitting down and completing a task from beginning to end. Once you start  accomplishing more each day, the value of this practice will start to take hold. It is the root of having a work ethic, being dependable to yourself and others, and finding fulfillment in what you do.


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Work It Wednesdays!

Beauty truly starts from the inside out – deep inside. When your mind is occupied with positive things, when you base your actions in kindness, compassion and service, you automatically become a more beautiful person.

As you start to focus on the inside beauty the outside will begin to glow, won’t define who you are and be a canvas for you to express that inner beauty to the outside world.


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Fabulous Fridays!

When was the last time you went on a treasure hunt?  You don’t need to sail to the Caribbean – just go through your closets. More specifically your bathroom closets, linen closets, under your bed, in shopping bags,  in plastic bins or wherever you put impulse buys and samples. 

How many hair products do you currently own? The ones you use everyday, the ones you needed to create the hairstyle you saw in a magazine, the ones you bought because your stylist used them and they would magically give you the same results, the ones you had a coupon for, the inexpensive ones you bought to be frugal and the crazy expensive ones you bought on a retail therapy bender. Now just for fun add in the samples, travel sized products and the souvenirs of every hotel you’ve ever stayed at. 

Next, take stock of your skin care cache. Again the stock pile ranges from your daily routine, the splurges that promised the miraculous results, the inexpensive products promising high end results, and samples. Move on to lotions and creams – from the layering properties of our favorite scent to the vat of store brand because we couldn’t resist the value many of us could moisturize a small nation. Speaking of scents – how many bottles, vials, towelettes, atomizers and samples do you have?  Whether you are loyal to a signature scent or spritz depending on your mood I challenge you to find at least five different options at your fingertips (at least!). 

How often did the promise of a tan to envy the spray ons sported on Dancing With The Stars motivate you to buy a self tanning product? Lotions, sprays, mousse, towelettes – in every shade from day glo orange to caramel coffee and everything in between. Don’t forget the exfoliators, moisturizers, extenders and correctors that promise to make you look evenly sun kissed. For many of us the promise just didn’t deliver, or the time involved in preparation, application and maintenance just didn’t make the bronzing worth it. Add these products to the good intentions gone bad pile.

Finally take a moment to consider your make up collection.  The go to products used daily, the professional work look, the evening look, the “going to a gala/black tie/wedding” look, the drugstore collection promising to give you the same results as the air brushed movie star in their ads, the high end collection promising to make you as hip as the tattooed, pierced sales person that convinced you the edge was only one brush stroke away. Now factor in the samples, items you bought for the beach bag/store promo and the various shades that just didn’t work in real life.  Quite a haul!!

If I were mean I would tell you to calculate the value of your personal stash, but the point here is to positively move forward and not calculate how many shoes/bags/groceries you could have bought instead.  The task here is to take stock, evaluate and take action.  The whole point is to move toward fabulousness, not wallow in the past when we didn’t know any better (or chose to ignore our wiser inner voice). Now that we have owned up to the staggering arsenal of beauty we have amassed it’s time to sort it out – honestly and brutally. 

First group, what you use everyday. These are the products that work and give you the results that make you feel best about yourself, or at least good enough to leave the house. Second group – what you use when you step it up and  really feel good about yourself. You can keep all of these things! Put them away and take stock of your supply – keep no more than one back up on hand and know that you have a system that works for you.

Now look at what remains and separate into the never used/opened pile, the gently used, sample sized and the way past expiration date group.  Ditch the last group, throw it all out and do a dance of joyful accomplishment (always celebrate small accomplishments, waiting for big ones is self defeating!). Take a look at the never opened/never used pile.  Do you know someone who swears by any of these items? Pass them on as a random act of kindness. Do you know of a woman’s shelter or of a group helping those reentering the workplace – your extras would be greatly appreciated there. You might also consider community centers or donations for the military for practical items that might be sent in care packages or be a small treat for someone relying on support right now.

Any make up you have sampled throw away – as a germaphobe I shudder at passing those items on – even to your best friend (especially to your best friend!). If what is left isn’t something that is snatched up in your communal sharing effort ask if local school or community theatre groups would be interested. Often these groups are running on a tight or non-existent budget and would greatly appreciate some free stash. You might also ask women’s shelters or groups helping women re-entering the workplace if they accept unused make up as donations – they might truly appreciate it.

Gently used items are purely to pass on among friends and family, run it by them and see if anyone else wants to give what didn’t work for you a try.  Perhaps this swapping of product could be a great way for all of you to get rid of what you don’t use and perhaps try something else at no cost.

Sample sized/travel sized items take on a life of their own in that we are saving for a future use we are sure will come – most likely it won’t!  If you don’t use that deodorant or toothpaste everyday why do you think you might want to use it on vacation or business travel? If you wouldn’t buy that shampoo at full size why is it attractive in the tiny bottle – does it just look cuter to you? Twenty q-tips in a cardboard box really aren’t necessary when you have the warehouse sized crate in your closet and zip lock bags. Finally, the lure of product in hotels is something we just can’t avoid. Often we look at them as a boon for our next trip, or a benefit owed to us for the cost of the room.  Therefore, we have collections collecting dust waiting for a trip that sadly for them will never come. These are perfect for military donations, pack them up and ship them out. Many local scouting groups or school groups organize shipments – look into it and do some good. These are also good items to donate to shelters and community centers – our family program also made up bags of sample sized basics and donated them to the pediatric hospital for parents staying overnight with their children.

This exercise takes time and will power, but holds great promise.You should now be able to look at what you did decide to keep and know what works for you and what makes you feel good. Fabulousness should be part of who you are and fit into your lifestyle seamlessly. If  your past efforts to be fabulous have resulted in  clutter, depleted cash flow and disappointment it is time to move on!



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