Pay it forward

Pay it forward

Pay it forward however you can

The smallest act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life. If you listen to the daily news, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the problems in the world. It’s easy to get discouraged and not know where to start when you want to make a difference. When you focus less on the problems and ask yourself what you can do, the answers will come. Start small, start local. Do not underestimate the power of a small gesture.

Why give back?

Seva, or selfless service, is defined as a service that is performed without any expectation of result or reward. These services are performed to benefit other human beings or society in general. There are thousands of ways in which you can be of service to others in big or small ways. Holding a door for someone, smiling at your neighbours, picking up garbage that has been thrown into the street, meditation for peace, are just some examples of how you can make a difference and they don’t cost anything.

Small acts of kindness have a ripple effect on others and it’s often paid forward. You never know how much you will impact others when you show you care. The act and spirit of giving connects you to your community, both near and far. If you’re feeling alone, when you reach out to someone to offer your help, you quickly realize you’re not alone and that you are not the only person who is struggling in this world. As I sometimes tend to get wrapped up in my thoughts and my own world, I’ve found one of the best ways to feel appreciation for others is to give back and volunteer my time with people and for causes that I’m passionate about.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

During my travels in India over the past ten years, I was heartbroken by the amount of poverty I saw and the challenges that many young girls faced just to attend school. Myself, and a group of yoga teachers, decided to take action and to give something back to the country which had offered us a sanctuary for our spiritual development.

We started off sponsoring children in the town of Rishikesh. Then we formed a charity and decided to build a school. Helping Hands for India was born! I returned to India once a year as the school transformed from an idea into reality, going from design to construction during 2012 and 2013. The school officially opened its doors and welcomed about two hundred children on July 1, 2014. We have been fortunate to have the support of so many people along the way. Hundreds of people have played a part in making this project come to life by offering their time, money, expertise and hard labour.

The more you give, the more you receive

This is not to say that you give so that you can receive, but when you give your time, money, energy, expertise, love or compassion, or something else to another, without an expectation of receiving anything in return, both of you are better off. We live in an abundant universe and the act of giving allows the energy to flow outwards to someone while also creating space for more energy to flow back to you in the form of receiving.

Start small and be open to the flow of giving and receiving. You have no control over how or when the energy is returned and if you keep making space for it, by giving without expectation, you will invite more positive things into your life by the very fact that you are going with the natural flow of energy, rather than resisting it. When you can take delight in another’s success, without thinking ‘what about me,’ this is a sign you are on the right track.

Imagine if everyone had the same opportunities in life. While we’re not all born into the same circumstances, we do have the power to change our circumstances. We all have the ability to change ourselves for the better and to offer help to others to make life a little easier for all. Imagine what’s possible if we all gave just a little bit. I believe it’s the small things that add up to make a big difference.

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