Think Before You Act…But Act!May 27th, 2010
Think before you act. Don’t be impulsive. Consider the consequences. All good advice for the rational human species. Keeps us out of trouble most of the time. Yet sometimes keeps us stuck in the realm of the mind.
Did you ever have an inspired thought of a random act of kindness, but then just think yourself right out of acting on it? I do it all the time…but I’m trying to make the change.
My elderly neighbor, Joe, lives alone but knows everyone in the neighborhood. He’s one of those people that makes you feel like you’re an important member of a village, rather than an anonymous resident of a big city. Our interactions happen mostly when I’m parking my car. We chat for a few minutes. He asks me where I’ve been and tells me exactly what he bought at the dollar store (he lives on a limited fixed income, I gather). I’m always impressed that he rides his bike everywhere. I want to believe that he’s just trying to stay in shape, but I suspect that the price of gas and costly repairs on his old car make it more affordable for him to get around on two wheels rather than four.
I had thought about it more than once, but one day I finally decided to invite him to share dinner with me and my family. In a big city, taking your neighborly relationships from the alley into your home seems like a big step. He gladly accepted and was quite at ease at our dinner table. After dinner, I thought about asking him if he wanted to take home the left-overs, but was afraid he would be insulted. When I offered the filled plastic storage container to him, you would have thought he hit the lottery! Dinner and left-overs equalled two home-cooked meals in one week, a rare treat for Joe.
Now Joe and I exchange plastic containers on a regular basis. He gives me the empties and I return them filled. In fact, my family no longer eats left-overs because we don’t consider them as left over from our dinner, but rather as reserved for Joe’s dinner. I even make a little extra sometimes to ensure we have something for the storage containers.
I know that giving Joe my dinner remnants is no huge act of kindness, but the point is that at least it’s an act. Not just a thought (that I can think myself out of before even acting). If you believe that little acts of kindness can leave little footprints on the earth, make sure you do act on those inspired thoughts. Random acts of kindness leave bigger footprints that random thoughts of kindness.
Will you try it today? Just act on one kind thought. Write someone a note that is not necessary, but might just make their day. Verbalize that compliment that is stuck in your head but could make someone feel special and beautiful today. Don’t worry about how you will be perceived. Let go of your ego and see what happens. And please share your experience in the comments (something you’ve probably thought of doing, but could act on this one time).
Life is good! Namaste. –Lori