Helping others grows the soul. Several years ago I interviewed Father Gregory Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, and he told me “The big secret, the thing nobody realizes, is that helping others feels good. It is the most rewarding thing that we can do.”. There is magic in reaching out and helping others. It nourishes the deepest part of ourselves. It fills holes, eases pain, and makes us feel like we are flying. By helping others we heal ourselves. And it resonates outward.
Helping begins by opening our eyes and ears. Listening. Seeing our neighbors. Hearing their stories. Connecting. Realizing all the pain we hold in our hearts can be healed. Giving love. Receiving love.
It also requires us to look in the mirror:
What kind of human being am I? What kind of human being do I want to be? What do I believe? How am I spending my time, my money, and my love? I like to think of myself as a kind and giving person, but how much time do I spend caring for others versus worrying about my own small problems? When I say “Namaste” at the end of a yoga class, am I carrying that out into the world? Do I acknowledge the divine in every single person I meet? When I look at someone do I see the very best of them, or the very worst? Do I place myself above others?
We hope to challenge and inspire you to connect to the whisper of your heart. To live your highest ideals for even one more second every day. To be your best self. If you are connected to the kindness and charity in your heart for 1% of the day, try and move it to 2%. Then maybe 2.5%. Try and ask yourself as often as possible, “Am I living what I hold to be important?”. Slowly move the dial. Grow into the highest version of yourself. Live what you believe.
We eliminate poverty in our community by remembering. Remembering that we are not alone. Remembering that everyone needs love and support. Remembering that we can make a difference. Remembering to smile. Remembering to care. There are many ways to reach out and make a difference. Each one of us has a unique gift to offer. But the first step is to remember. These stories serve to remind us to keep our hearts open, and that every moment is an opportunity to bring more love and compassion and peace into this world.
While attending The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) nursing school in Charleston, South Carolina, we partnered with our local homeless shelter for a semester. We washed our neighbors’ feet, one by one, and gave foot care. I specifically remember helping our neighbors remove their worn socks and shoes. And then I remember the smell and the sores. But mostly I remember the look of gratefulness coupled with embarrassment in their eyes. I was uncomfortable, but my heart was full of grace and gratitude.
My father was the biggest ‘role model’ of what a philanthropist should be and I have never seen anyone come close to his generosity. His favorite scripture and life verse that he lived was Micah 6:8 “to act justly, love mercy and to be humble.” He picked up hitchhikers (I would get really mad/scared when he did this). People would come to our door asking for him and he would open up his wallet and give. When he gave, he always gave generously. No strings attached, no expectations. My father spoke at our rehearsal dinner on the Good Samaritan and how people continued to pass this weary and worn stranger, choosing NOT to stop and offer help (Tryon Street before I-77) …but the Samaritan showed mercy, (got off his cell phone), stopped, and helped cover this strangers wounds, and carried him away and gave him food and shelter. That night, my father charged my husband, Charles, and me to be ‘Good Samaritans’…and I will never ever forget that.
Be moved. Connect to your empathy by using your gifts. We have power and grace within us to help make a difference.
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