My dad went on vacation a couple weeks ago to a remote location with very little cell service and no internet connection. Before he left, he asked me if I would save the newspapers for him, so he could skim through them when he returned. I did so, and as I collected them, I was shocked by the growing mass of horrible news amassing on my kitchen table. We almost have to numb ourselves to it a little bit to keep ourselves sane. But the sheer volume of bad news stacking up and waiting for my dad to come home, shocked me.
What is the story our world is telling? Sometimes you have to zoom out for a little perspective. If someone from another planet was visiting earth for the first time and was introduced to our world with a pile of newspapers from the last month, what would that tell him about us? What kind of story is it telling to our children?
I know that for me, it's a story that makes me feel afraid and helpless, like everything is spinning out of control. But I also know that is not the whole story. There is big battle going on between kindness and cruelty, peace and violence, love and indifference, good and evil. And we are a big part of that battle. We are each a part of the world and therefore have a responsibility to help care for it. But where do we even begin?
One of the best ways to create and cultivate love in our world is by giving back. By nurturing compassion within our own selves and families, within our own homes, neighborhoods, and work places, we communicate love's side of the story. Love never ever fails, and what's more? It is so unbelievably easy. The hard part is we don't believe it is. A powerful little voice whispers in our ear that it's too hard. Here are three common beliefs that hold us back from giving:
1. I don't have the power to change anything.
Helping the needy and suffering can feel a bit like David against Goliath. All that is wrong with a system or situation feels so big, loud, and impossible to face. But just think of the power a small, simple gesture of love has made in your own life. A text or a note from a friend, an oncoming car slows and makes room for you to merge... My neighbor always rolls my trash and recycling cans back to their places after the trucks have picked them up and left them strewn along in the alleyway. It's these little acts of thoughtfulness that communicate something much bigger. It doesn't have to be extravagant. It doesn't have to solve the giant problem. It may not win the war, but it does win another battle in the great fight.
Time and money are two of the hardest things to sacrifice because we never feel like we have enough of either. I think that's why they are all the more important to give because they are so dear to us. But again, it doesn't need to be extravagant. Start small. $5 a week or 5 minutes given to another... it may not seem like it's going to do much help, but that amount adds up over time. The most beautiful thing about giving away something valuable is the gift blesses the giver just as much as the recipient with a richness that can never tarnish or be taken away. For example, one thing I try to do is call relatives or old friends on my daily commute. Now, I am not a phone person. I would much rather turn the volume up and roll the windows down. But taking a few minutes to reach across the divide and connect, to say I'm thinking about you, uplifts not only their hearts, but mine too.
3. I don't really want to get that involved...
Let's be honest. We want to be compassionate and loving, but only if it doesn't ask too much of us. Only if it means we'll still make it home in time to watch our current series obsession before bed. Practicing compassion risks getting our hands dirty and sacrificing comforts and pleasures. Those things are hard to give up, and it's okay to feel that way! Giving back does require a sacrifice - that's the beauty of it - but you don't need to run yourself into the ground. That helps no one. It's a fine line that looks a bit differently for everyone, but I think the best thing to do is set aside a certain part of the week or month to giving back. For example, you could devote the first Sunday of every month to giving back. Write it on the calendar and set up a reminder alarm. When that day comes, maybe you make a meal for someone who just had a baby or lost a loved one. Or maybe all you have time for is to sit down and send a encouraging text message to someone who's been on your heart or write a check to an organization that you feel aligned with. Whatever it is, devoting a designated time to giving ensures that you make it a consistent priority while protecting you from being spread too thin.
I think Lao Tzu sums it up best, "The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own."
At KiraGrace, we strive to put this into practice and truly believe in building a company that encompasses giving as a primary value and responsibility. Our core values are integrity, compassion, and community. We promise to hold true to our intentions of supporting and empowering women in all that we do and strive to build a more compassionate world for us all. For our most recent compassion campaign, we partnered up with the non-profit organization Off the Mat, Into the World to give back and support the idea of bridging yoga and activism. We created a limited edition "Color Your World" capsule collection which offered customers our signature Ultra High Waisted Capri Legging in 7 unique colorways and a new size range from XS-XXL. We donated 100% of “Color Your World” net profits to Off The Mat, Into the World. The “Color Your World” collection
You can check out our partnerships and service projects here: Giving Back