The beneficial beauty of selfless acts
Al was a smart man. He knew that generous acts benefit everyone, including yourself. The small actions you take now, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can have profound effects that you may never know about. Sometimes, just living as a good example has the power to inspire. Not quite as well-known are the physical and mental benefits that being a positive force can have for you. When you help others, stress decreases and causes less physical harm. Work and athletic performance improve. A positive attitude appears. And the mind is eased as troubles are put in perspective. Doing for others can involve a small gesture (pick up trash, write a note of encouragement, offer to mow your neighbor's lawn) or an ambitious undertaking (volunteer at a neighborhood center, mentor a coworker, work with disadvantaged youth). Make a habit of thinking "What can I do today to make someone's life easier?"
It was a beautiful day in Minneapolis yesterday, I was out in my t-shirt, enjoying the day and raking my leaves from my two HUGE Elm trees in the backyard, that generate at least 15 huge bags of leaves around this time of year. I was really enjoying it, using that time to reflect on the weekend and think about the coming week, but I was also becoming discouraged realizing that the job was maybe too much to get done by night. Right around that time, a neighbor came down with her 4 year old to visit a bit, I was happy to see them and honestly to have something else to do, but I was also thinking about raking time slipping away. We talked for a while, kids, politics, houses, life, then she realized that I had been raking and asked if she could help. I have a hard time accepting 'help' like that, but said, sure - if you want! Well she and her daughter each got a rake and we raked for a good hour, chatting the entire time, it was fun and such a big help.
I want to be more like that myself, sharing more selfless acts of kindness -- it's a good way to be I think.