Tag: Generosity

Benefits of a dose of gratitude

Benefits of a dose of gratitude

Each of us has a lot to be grateful for. The mere fact that I am writing this and you are reading this means we are alive, we are blessed with the gift of sight, understanding and literacy and fortunately we also have the time and energy to pore over the contents of the blog. Do we really value these blessings or do we take them for granted. Do we focus only on the special things that we get out of the blue like winning a lottery or getting an unexpected bonus or promotion or topping an exam? Fact is that we have much to be grateful for. The little things we take for granted, the wonderful surprises that come our way and for the limited pain and hurt we occasionally endure. The bigger benefit of being grateful for however lies in the fact that practicing gratitude daily fills us with an overpowering sense of bliss, which comes because of the following:

Shift in perspective – For many of us, our natural tendency is to look at the negatives around us. This is partly to do with a primal instinct of self preservation from all dangers. However, over time this tendency to look at negatives has been so deeply ingrained in us, that we fail to notice the wonders around us. Apart from being  the most intelligent of the species in nature, human beings are gifted with abundantly more blessings that will allow one the luxury of drawing in happiness. However, this is possible only when one shifts focus from negatives to positives. By taking in a dose of gratitude each morning, the blessings in life suddenly become more visible, more tangible and more available for each of us to enjoy. It is a drastic shift in perspective triggered by practicing gratitude each day.

Feeling of abundance – One weakness of the human race is the tendency to compare with other human beings; be it our wealth, out looks, our intelligence or what we perceive as social status. No sooner one starts comparing with others, there is an overwhelming feeling of deprivation, of lack of something, of a longing for what others have and the desire and craving for more. What we forget in the process is that we are taking for granted an abundance of blessings we are gifted with. Our abundance is in every sphere; good health for most of us, a loving family life, great friends, adequate or more food, clothing and shelter etc. It is only when one practices gratitude that we begin to consciously pay attention to the abundance each of us has.

Decrease of fear and anxiety – The greatest benefit of practicing gratitude is that with the shift in perspective and the feeling of abundance, there is an immediate decrease of fear and anxiety. We know that our blessings far outweigh our concerns, that life has much more to offer than pure material wealth and that tomorrow is another day that one needs to take in her/ his stride. Each morning becomes a wondrous expectation for the day that unfolds will bring with it plenty of surprises; most of which are pleasant but then a few challenges/ pain will also be part of the day. By viewing things in the correct perspective and knowing that we are amply blessed, practicing gratitude is an extraordinary way of living life in bliss.

Try these:           

  • List out the three greatest blessings that you cherish.
  • What was your greatest emotionally painful moment? How did you cope with it? What was good about that painful moment?
  • Who are the three most important people in your life? The challenge is to restrict yourself to just 3 people. Have you told them how grateful you are for what they mean to you?
  • As I was writing this blog, I received a Wattsapp forward which I thought was apt for sharing with the readers of this post. I am attaching it, as it is, in a Word Document file. There is an Arabic Translation or possibly it is the original source and I have retained it for those who would better connect with it. Click on this link to read it. 18-30 -08 Oct 18- Gratitude_Message_30_08 Oct 18

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

When do we really live?

Unless you give yourself to some great cause, you haven’t even begun to live. William P. Merrill

From the time we are born our primitive urge is self preservation and this means that we tend to compete/ fight to live for ourselves. Beginning with our need for food, we seek shelter and security for ourselves and our loved ones because it is the herd instinct. As we grow and become adults we become independent but then we tend to become more and more selfish and self centered. While the animal kingdom exhibits similar tendencies, they never have the human weakness of greed. Thus animals that kill and live of the carcass kill only when they are hungry and even the herbivorous animals too eat just for their survival. Man alone tends to hoard, to gorge and to deny a fellow human being.  It is against this background that one needs to understand the need for the human race to consciously make amends for this selfish tendency and the one way to really do it is to give ourselves completely to a cause where the beneficiary is anyone but us.

Since our natural tendency is to live for ourselves, it is only a conscious decision that will really enable us to identify a worthwhile cause and help us spare our time, resources and energies on promoting the cause. The joy and thrill of giving out without any expectations is the real moment that we enjoy our life and appreciate the blessings that life has showered on us. The cause one stands for need not be related only to the human race but should be for the good of mankind. This means that causes as diverse as animal welfare and environmental concerns would be on the same pedestal as working for the handicapped, the aged and the sick. Whatever be the cause, the key is selfless service, total commitment and active participation.

Self less service involves the ready and free desire to be involved in the cause. If the involvement is conditional or it is taken upon reluctantly because of social pressure then the soul of the activity is missing. It is when one seeks out a cause to give selflessly that the cause becomes an integral part of one’s life else it will remain just a duty , a chore and an obligation. Total commitment means the whole hearted and absolute devotion to the cause. No matter what it takes, be it financial resources, networking, seeking out activists to propound the cause no requirement is ignored or side stepped. This is possible when we are wedded to the cause and then we become absolutely committed. The essence of real living is experienced when we give ourselves to the cause by being active participants and be physically involved in all that is required to be done. This involves giving of our time the most precious of our resources, getting our hands dirtied, something that we may not be really used to in daily life and then we experience both he pain of the other and the joy they get from our intimacy and companionship and service.

Remember: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Ty this:

  1. One of the toughest religious orders to join in is the Mother Theresa’s  Sister’s of Charity. Yet they have one of the largest numbers of volunteers and applications to join the congregation. What do you think is the reason for it. If there is a home for the children/ aged/ sick or orphans run by them in your city visit them and spend a day to understand how they work and what they do.
  2. Outline a plan of action to identify a cause, to commit yourself and to actively be involved in it. Don’t fall to the temptation of trying to be involved in all your interests. Chose one and give it your all. Ensure that you even slot a time of the day for the activity and to give of your time and personal efforts. Experience the joy that comes with the commitment.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Give and receive

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

One of the problems that we humans constantly battle is our urge to want more and more. We crave to have more wealth, more power, more freedom and more happiness. More often than not, it is a losing battle because we are unable to overcome our cravings but then we work out a compromise to subdue our conscience that pricks us; we give charity, we donate and we even make an attempt to participate in some activity of those working for the poor, the destitute, the old and aged, the orphans, the mentally challenged etc. However our efforts are miniscule as compared to the riches we amass, hoard and fritter away when we need to make a show of pomp or piety. Often we gather ill gotten wealth and we then double our efforts to part with a sizeable chunk of it for an apparently worthy cause. The true intentions are to lighten the burden on our conscience and hopefully get some divine intercessions too in the long run.

On the other hand if we seek out the riches of those who are genuinely happy and contented we make the interesting discovery that they are far from materialistically rich but surprisingly seem to be abundantly blessed in many other ways.  To begin with they are joyful, they also seem to be contented and most of all they seem to take pleasure in giving freely and abundantly to all those who need. We are unable to comprehend how those who are apparently just about making two ends meet by our standards, can be so generous. The answer to that lies in the mental makeup of those who give in abundance. They do not worry too much about their long term own requirements, they have deep faith in being taken care of by some divine or supernatural means and most of all they feel they have a duty a mission and an obligation to those who less privileged, weaker and needier.

It is said that what goes around comes around. This is very true and we would have personally experienced that we have got some help form the most unexpected quarters at a time when we had almost lost all hope. This brings us to another point that we do not consider when we talking about giving and that is to give off our time, our efforts and our talents.  If we have the wealth and money we are generous with giving a small part of it. We may also often give away what is not useful for us or what we do not require like old clothes, toys, books etc. What is really in short supply is the human touch that our brethren seek. Human beings need human company, they require the warmth of human touch, the love spread through our voice and actions and they crave for attention and love. No amount of money can buy any of these. We need to appreciate that real giving is in giving what we value most; our time and our self.

Remember: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

Try this:

  1. Outline a plan of action to ensure that you give at least 3 -5 hours of your time in a month with either the poor, the aged, the infirm, the orphans or the challenged.
  2. Can you initiate action to coordinate and motivate people to contribute a small mite for some charity? Ideal you should be able to also motivate the contributors to play a more active role in ensuring that their contributions are well utilized by not just donating but also participating in at least one activity of the charity.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

What money can’t buy

The only incurable troubles of the rich are the troubles that money can’t cure. Ogden Nash

Peace of mind is something that no one in the world can ever buy and ironically that is something that everyone craves for. Unfortunately the vast majority attempts to satisfy their craving by splurging on materialistic goods in the fond hope that the new goodies will to a large extent substitute for the real thing they seek viz Peace of Mind.  In many ways this is the equivalent of what Queen Marie Antoinette is supposedly have said, many centuries ago when she purportedly suggested that the peasants be offered cakes instead of what they craved for viz. bread. The problem that the rich have is the mistaken notion that money can buy anything.

When seen from this background it is obvious that the arrogance of the rich will always cloud their judgment and hence they will continue to try and furrow a path to their cravings even when they have hit a rocky stretch. To begin with they pamper their offspring mistakenly believing that they are giving their best where as they should have tutored them in the fine art of realizing the value of money.  Real life is full of hard knocks, rude shocks and mixed emotions; a well protected rich brat will rarely be exposed to the hard realities and so is not equipped to exercise good judgment when the chips are down. They go in pursuit of happiness in the wilderness of utopia little knowing that they are on a wild goose chase.

There are three areas where the rich come a cropper when trying to muscle their way through using their money clout.  The first is relationships. The next is personal health and the last is personal value systems. Relationships need to blossom and is based on trust and mutual understanding. Unfortunately money can be a real spoil sport and most relationships are based on money marrying looks which in the ultimate analysis is a shallow arrangement. The disrupted personal  lives of rich celebrities are a visible testimony of this premise. Personal health takes a beating simply because the rich indulge in food since they can afford it and more importantly they blissfully ignore the consequences in the hope that in emergences they can buy out the doctors and nursing care and medicines. Even personal value systems are watered down to accommodate the temptations that money can buy.  Compromising on values is essentially to take care of our own guilt feelings and also to ensure that we don’t miss out on the fun that riches can buy.

If we look objectively at the things money can’t buy, one can outline many more things. It would be a challenge for us to make our own list so that we are aware of the limitations of money for us irrespective of how rich or poor we are.

Remember: “If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy”

Try this

  1. Make your own list of things money can’t buy. Then compare it with this list http://www.nomad4ever.com/2007/07/09/10-things-money-cannot-buy
  2. List out the name of one person who has had a major positive influence in your life. Now plan to give a gift that you have made yourself. If you have your limitations it must be something where you have contributed at least 50% effort to make the gift. Ensure that you actually give that gift personally to that person.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Forgiving friends…

It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. Madame Dorothee Deluzy

Forgiveness does not come easily to anyone. We find it hard to forgive because often the hurt caused is too raw and painful to be condoned. Our ego and self respect won’t permit us to let bygones be bygones. We are seething with anger and revenge is uppermost in our minds and forgiveness will dilute that feeling which we see as a manly sign. There are times when social and peer pressure force us to abandon all thoughts of forgiveness lest we have to face the wrath and fury of our own supporters. Whatever the reason, it takes a large heart and plenty of love to forgive someone who has wronged us.

When we feel wronged by an unknown person we are quick to take affront simply because we believe the other person is careless, inconsiderate and deserves punishment rather than mercy and forgiveness. We would rarely venture to find out the real cause of the problem or misunderstanding which possibly could throw up new revelations. Yet by nature we are quick to condemn and almost reluctant to admit our mistakes if we realize it. If the wrong is done by someone whom we do not get along with or dislike or someone we consider an enemy our immediate reaction is that the deed was done deliberately with wrong intent and with full knowledge of the perpetrator. Our immediate  thoughts are to get even and possibly extract revenge for what we visualize as deliberate acts. At this point forgiveness is far removed from our minds and our fury and rage blind us to any possibility of reconciliation.

Nothing can be as hurtful as realizing that someone who is a friend has betrayed us or let us down deliberately. The hurt stems from the fact that we never expected someone who is close and intimate with us to become a villain in our lives. On one hand we cannot imagine such a situation and on the other hand the reality hits us hard and hurts us deeply.  At this point we believe that an enemy can be forgive because we expect only such behavior but that it would be stupid and spineless to forgive a friend who betrays us.  More than anything else we feel foolish that we have trusted the friend, are embarrassed that we could not see the friends nefarious intentions and connive ourselves that he deserves no mercy and definitely no forgiveness.

If we pause and let our rationality talk to our senses we would slowly realize that by not forgiving all we end up doing is wasting our energies hating someone, constantly imbibe negative thoughts of getting even and taking revenge and perhaps waste our life in the pursuit of an imaginary pleasure got by doing harm to avenge our hurt. On the other hand if we allow ourselves to be pragmatic, down to earth and sensible, forgiveness will knock the sails out of the person who expects nothing remotely as this gesture for his / her deeds. In fact it might shock them into realizing their grievous fault and they in turn could seek pardon. In the end both the person forgiving and the person forgiven would have unburdened their heavy hearts and lightened their conscience and enjoy the rest of their lives.

Remember: “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Bryant H. McGill

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself if you have the tendency to be sarcastic, caustic in your comments, foul mouthed in conversation or extremely critical about others. This could cause a lot of unwitting hurt to people who are close to you but who cannot really express their hurt to you. Next time be aware of such behavior and check yourself. If by chance you realize your mistake apologize for such behavior and you will find that you will be better accepted and appreciated.
  2. Ask yourself if you still dislike and distrust some of your classmates for some of their comments or behavior that had caused you hurt then. Perhaps they have forgotten those incidents but it is you who is carrying it with you still. Can you make an attempt to meet up with these people or begin communicating with them as if nothing ever happened. You will realize that you feel much more relaxed and relieved when you let go the past hurt.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Generosity in Practice

Generosity gives assistance, rather than advice. Vauvenargues

The temptation to give advice (some of my posts are testimony to that) is looked upon as a right mainly because it is given free, does not have tangible responsibility attached to it and the consequences if adverse are faced by those used the advice. There is also the possibility of the advice working well and then those who propounded it can thump their chest with pride and tom- tom to the world that it was their suggestion. ( I am hoping that the daily posts here over the past 2 months have actually benefited many. The feedback suggests so, as also the number of hits to the site bears testimony to it too.)

Generosity on the other hand is all about giving freely not just from your excess but true generosity is sharing what ever you have with an other. Unlike advice which is merely verbal, real generosity demands physical parting; be it money or other tangible riches like food, clothing etc. The heart of generosity though demands much more including sparing time to be with those who need you, having the compassion and the empathy when spending time with those who crave for your company and having tons of patience for generosity is very demanding.

The most generous gift anyone can give is the gift of their time. Time as you will know is given to each of us in equal measure so you are never giving out of your excess time but making a choice to allot time for a generous cause. The paradox of modern life is that while technology has progressed to narrow the distances between  distant lands, connect people across the globe and make communication instantaneous more and more people feel lonely alienated and aloof.

Let me share with you a real life example of a very well off couple who is known to me and how their generosity is worth emulating. The couple have dedicated an evening every week to spend time with the inmates of an old age home. What is more interesting is that they never go to that home empty handed. The couple will knead the dough and make wheat bread for the inmates and some accompaniment too (it is obviously also much more tasty for it is home made, fresh and filled with LOVE). While the wife is personally serving the food, the husband helps out in trimming the finger nails of the inmates and also shaving those who can’t do it themselves. This couple can so easily outsource the food or hire a barber to do the chores but it is their time and LOVE that is true generosity.

Remember: Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.” – Frank A. Clark

Try these:

  1. Identify a similar program to the one above, where you can put into practice your generosity. Fine tune it to your abilities and compliment it with the requirement of those receiving it.
  2. Make it a point to get to know at least one new person every week. Also form the practice of meeting, greeting and spending a few minutes with different people everyday. Remember there are many people whose outward smiles and flamboyant demeanor actually mask a very lonely and possibly bitter person. You never know whose life you touch and change by spending a few minutes with them.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com