For today’s Mindful Monday post, I would like to share some thoughts about the power of generosity.
Generosity has been on my mind lately.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ajit George, Director of Operations for the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project. This school, located near Bangalore, India, is like no other in the world. Shanti Bhavan educates the poorest of the poor children from around India, all the way from the tender of age of four, through the end of college. Armed with a world class education, these empowered children are able to pursue careers, gain income and security, and come back home to their original communities and break the cycle of poverty.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting with John Marshall, in the company of close friends and family. John shared with us the story of how he quit his job as a producer, and decided to travel around the world volunteering with his wife and teenage children. His inspiring book, “Wide Open World,” depicts his time spent at a wildlife sanctuary in Costa Rica, an organic farm in New Zealand, and at the Indian Orphanage at the Good Shephard Agricultural Mission in India.
In John Marshall’s book, he shares a quote from Mother Teresa, that reminds me of the powerful nature of generosity:
“I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody (to no one).”
John and Ajit are living in the world, changing it slowly, one day at a time, one child at a time. From where I sit now, in the midst of raising young children and building my own career, I occasionally feel frustrated by my lack of ability to somehow do more to change the world. I am aware of how much suffering exists, and yet I feel tethered by existing responsibilities and (perhaps perceived) limitations. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know where to start.
But this quote by Mother Teresa reminds me that generosity begins in the smallest of ways. It starts exactly where we are. We can notice someone who felt unnoticed. We can love someone who felt unloved. We can want someone who felt unwanted. These are acts that cost no money, take no extra time. These are simply the ways in which we focus our attention, the words we choose, the love we give.
These are small acts, but to those who receive them, they are nothing short of heroic. We all know that, because we were all likely on the receiving end at one point in time too. And small acts, one by one, become big and change the world in ways we may not even understand.
So today and in the week ahead, I invite you to notice opportunities for the tiniest acts of connection and generosity, and seize them.