“I find life an exciting business – and most exciting when it is lived for others.” – Helen Keller

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Many of us choose careers that have huge benefits to the people who receive our care or attention – think doctors, nurses, teachers, the emergency and rescue services, or anyone in a customer service environment whose task it is to provide assistance of all kinds. And, as tiring as a life of service to others might feel at times, it can be exceptionally rewarding. 

You don’t necessarily need to adopt it all day, every day; you can choose any time to “practise random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”, a phrase created in 1982 by writer Anne Herbert, as a counterpoint to the “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty” that she observed as being too prevalent at the time. Her idea caught on somewhat.

Indeed, stuck in traffic one day in 1994 was the first time I saw her phrase, on a bumper sticker on the car in front whose brake light had failed. I stepped out to let the driver know, citing their own bumper sticker as the motivation to do so. He was cheerily grateful.

Perhaps you are the kind of person who prefers their kindness to be anonymous, like contributing to charity, or helping out at the scene of an incident and helping someone without giving your own identity away, or refusing any reward. Maybe you’ve already decided to leave some money in your will to the local cat shelter and requested no publicity – either way, it’s the act itself that speaks volumes about you.

A life lived in great service to others is richly lived – I look forward to reflecting back on such a life as mine draws to a close in years to come. The excitement that can be derived from selfless acts of kindness and generosity for its own sake knowing that others benefit is one that can last a lifetime – and it’s always a choice, one you can make at any time, repeatedly.

Try a random act of kindness today, in the interests of another, selflessly, for the sake of it – let us know how it made you feel afterwards.

Love and light,

Jim Sharman
09.01.2022

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