How many times have you had your vision checked? Some people have their vision checked twice a year, some once a year. How often do you have your mental vision checked? What do I mean by mental vision? Well, let me explain by asking you a simple question. how do you see? You look at things with your eyes and the image is transferred to your brain and that’s what happens right? Wrong. What you see is only about 20% physical. What am I talking about? What we see in the world is tainted by our perceptions, our experiences, and the stories we tell ourselves. This can be best explained by relating a story that occurred back several decades ago. A young man named George was born with a condition that caused him to be blind. There was no cure, but his mother refused to let that limit her son. She coached him on how to overcome his limitations. She encouraged him to use his other senses to navigate his way through life. With her help he was able to make it through his Junior year in high school. At this time George and his family were informed there was a new operation that could restore his site. After two operations George slowly came out of the surgery he heard the doctor calling his name and asking him to open his eyes. Slowly a blur began to become crystal clear. He saw the man in the white coat. Next to the doctor he saw a wrinkled old woman. He wondered if she was a nurse and if so why she was dressed so differently from the doctor. Suddenly the woman asked him “Can you see me George?” The voice was instantly recognizable. George knew his mother’s voice. Instantly this old wrinkled woman was transferred into the angelic soul who had coached him his whole life.
Now let me ask you, did anything change physically about George’s mother? No, of course it didn’t. what changed is what George saw when he incorporated all he had experienced about his mother. So think about what you see when you look at a person of a different race? A person with tattoos? When you see a caterpillar changing into a butterfly do you see a gross insect changing into another one or do you feel you are witnessing a miracle of evolution and transformation? Our vision is based more on our experiences and our beliefs than on our physical attributes. So question your beliefs, and get your mental vision checked!
Ok, so a post about random acts of kindness on this blog is probably not shocking to anyone. That being the case however, let us look at what those acts can accomplish. First of all, the purpose of doing random acts of kindness is not to help ourselves, but to help others. Even when doing a selfless act though, we can’t help but to bring a little bit of joy to our own lives. A few examples both I have heard about and experienced personally are as follows. My friend told me about a time her father was just in a terrible car accident and her mother had called her up frantic asking her to leave her job and take her to the hospital. Well of course she left right away and picked up her mother, but as they were trying to merge onto the street which lead to the hospital traffic was at a standstill. Her mother frantic, she looking for a spot to squeeze in and worried about her father at the same time, her heart sank as she noticed traffic seemed to stretch for half a mile. Suddenly, and for no reason at all, a gentle man just stopped and let her merge in. She could hardly believe it and almost missed her chance, as the other motorists began honking their horns and this driver who dared make their wait even longer when clearly they had been waiting long enough already. There is no way that driver could have known where my friend was going and there certainly was no reason for him to let her in. He will probably never know how much he helped my friend and her mother that day.
Speaking of hospitals, my uncle recently suffered a very serious heart attack and i went to see him late in the evening at the hospital. I had started work at 7 that morning and this was around midnight. My aunt was extremely upset and things looked bleak. We stayed until about one, and when we left had honestly thought he would not make it until morning. Well as can happen in a situation like that, trying to capture the little sleep I could before work the next day, I planned to go right home. That is until I heard my gas warning go off. I pulled into the nearest station and filled up. Then, out of force of habit I asked to purchase a lottery ticket. The man asked if I knew it was almost 2am. I apologized and said I did not. This cashier at a gas station patted me on the shoulder and said looks like you had a rough night already, don’t worry about it. I simple compliment, but it did mean the world to me. Perhaps I should’ve expressed my gratitude, but I sure felt it and he may never know how much that meant.
My point today is this, you may never know that your small act of kindness may mean the world to someone else.
In beginning any new undertaking one of the greatest things we can do is ask others for help. Be it a new creative project or just attempting to live our lives with more joy and passion, there is always someone who can make some part of our journey easier. Now with the internet and email asking people for help became that much easier and widespread. A few of you may have been cringing inside reading those last few lines, but that is about to change. I used to be the same way. “nobody likes to ask for help it’s a sign of weakness” That is what I used to think. One day one of my mentors changed that for me. When we were out for lunch and I began to argue to pay the bill he asked me “how do you think it makes me feel to buy you lunch?” I told him I honestly didn’t know how it made him feel. “How would it make you feel?” he asked me. I told him it always makes me feel good to be able to treat my friends for dinner. “Oh it does?” he asked. “Yet you were going to deprive me of experiencing that same feeling?” Truly he knew that was not my intent, but it did get me thinking. When I started this blog I asked a million people a million different questions. Friends who write their own blogs, friends who know how to promote things. Friends who are also trying to bring light to others. Then I stopped. I started to worry I was ‘bothering’ them. Did I appear that I didn’t know what I was doing? One day, just to show you how long it takes for me to get a point, I apologised to me friend for asking her to many questions about her blog. “Why would that bother me? I’m sure you’ll be happy to be able to help me later on” she said. I was taken back to my friend at lunch that day. Not only does asking for help make our journey easier and quite often saves us a lot of time and grief, but think of how it makes the other person feel. Better yet, think of how you feel when someone kindly asks for your help. Do you look down on them? Chances are you do not and you feel pretty important and valuable. Now why would we deny another that feeling? To make things even better, it often forms new bonds between friends and supplies us the perfect opportunity to practice gratitude.