Doing Good Deeds

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You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel"

Beautiful by Carole King

Recently I've been having a difficult time of life.  Trying to do, what I consider to be "good" deeds but being somewhat stymied by others and so-called rules which are constantly changing, at times, seemingly being made up, sometimes followed, sometimes not, depending upon the situation.  Life is never straight forward even when we think we're following the rules. 

As anyone who has ever been to Kathmandu knows, crossing any road is extremely difficult and dangerous.  Vehicles don't stop, pedestrians never have the right-of-way even when they are in zebra crossings; there are literally no traffic signals.  This morning I noticed a man helping a woman cross a road in Thapathali.  He said to me, "I'm doing this on my own, helping people cross the road".   I thought how wonderful; a citizen volunteering his time, apparently of his own free will, to help others.

The question immediately becomes how do more people become pro-active in wanting to help others, total strangers, not driven by a need to earn money?  It seems that many people would question the man's motives. Why should someone want to help others, what is in it for them?  Another perspective might be, isn't this terrific, I need to think about what I can do to make my community a better place. 

Often times people will help others when there is a disaster.  I was recently told about the work of some young Nepalis and their "fill the bucket" campaign to help those who were affected by floods, a few months ago in Sindhupalchowk District.  The Campaign was simple, donors would pay for filling a bucket with household, food and personal care items, e.g. toothpaste, soap, etc. in helping people who had lost everything.  A simple idea yet temporarily very effective. 

But how do we keep this type of campaign (thinking) going?; not necessarily inspired by a disaster but by an internal need to care about others, including total strangers, to have thoughts well beyond our own personal goals. In some small way, isn't that what the man in Thapathali, helping others cross the road, is doing? How do we as human beings take off our peripheral vision blinders, the kind that horses wear, and broaden our view to see the bigger picture?

For me, volunteering, serving, aiding others is a way of life that is very worthy.  I was an overseas volunteer for five years; my motivations were many-wanting to be challenged, using my "privilege" to serve others, building up enough experience so that I might work overseas, wanting to truly understand other people and cultures, pushing myself to extend my self-imposed boundaries and ways of thinking, developing more patience, the list is limitless. 

However, I see a world in which individuals don't feel this type of internal philosophy, only having the ability to focus on themselves.  Yes there are the exceptions; actually I've met and have read about quite a few; people motivated to serve, do good deeds for others without prejudice, not paying attention to what others might think.

Even when I get caught up in my own "stuff" such as what has been occurring during the past week, I feel that a "spirit" or whatever ever one might believe in, places me in situations enabling me to experience, e.g. the "man in Thapathali".  This inspires me to somehow take the Carole King song to heart; I may not get up in the morning and smile because I'm too wrapped up in my "stuff", but I do have the ability to determine my attitude and, "show the world all the love in my heart".  

Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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