Conscious Living and Giving
It’s such beautiful timing that I have the pleasure of writing Merk Photography’s blogpost for the month of March. We are just wrapping up the final editorial stages of writing the fourteen inspiring honouree bios for this year’s 10th Anniversary of Portraits of Giving. Warmest congratulations to Karen Merk for her vision and commitment to this incredible project, seeking out and recognizing the good in others in our greater community of York Region.
I believe that Portraits of Giving exemplifies conscious living and giving. It is simple; where there is a need, fill it. Step up, then sink into the hearts of others and you’ll know how much the same we all are. And when we give from that place, the ripple effect is pure and lasting.
When I think of the memories my parents and grandparents have shared about days gone by, not to mention the childhood experiences that made me realize that I was rich in love, but not a lot more at times, I’m also reminded that it takes a village . . . to raise a child, feed and clothe a family, and keep a community kind and safe.
From my time as a cosmetic’s franchise owner in the 1990s, participating in Loving & Giving Days and being on the Sick Kid’s Telethon to present the funds we had raised, to hand-delivering, with my family, Christmas meals to shut-ins, it affirms the long-standing adage, many hands make light work.
I’ve also seen the difference that small, consistent efforts can bring forth when just a handful of people believe in something such as the weekly Community Meal at St Andrew’s in the little town of Sutton. My parents were part of the original meal committee which began in 2005. This outreach continues to inspire many other churches to do the same and, better yet, work together to provide for our greater community. Just imagine, a little church feeding the needs of others—yes, likely their physical hunger, but often just as much their lonely hearts and hurting souls—feeding the needs of others every single week since 2005.
You really needn’t look too far too see the needs of others . . .
And you needn’t look too far to see the good in people as well . . .
A smile can change the direction of someone’s day; sometimes it can save it.
Simple gestures like allowing a person to go in front of you in the grocery line, holding a door open, shoveling your elderly neighbour’s walkway, being patience with others and ourselves, sitting in that space between our thoughts before we speak or respond, and considering those around us; all of these choices are aspects of what I call conscious living and giving.
How else can one give back? Where do you start? Over my many years volunteering in our business community and in the not-for-profit sector, I’ve heard these questions often. I love the phrase: bloom where you’re planted. Consider your own natural gifts and abilities and what you love to do and start there. Whether participating on a board of directors or committee,
contributing to a fundraiser for a cause you believe in, making a financial donation, providing in-kind donations to silent auctions or similar, or letting others know about needs in our community they might not be aware of; it all helps.
Read about this year’s Portrait of Giving honourees in Merk Photography’s commemorative booklet available next month; their stories will encourage and excite you about giving back. There are truly countless organizations, big and small, doing quiet, life-changing work every single minute of every single day. And you can be a part of that.
Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy, and celebration. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning, and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.” – Papyrus
Wishing you bright and beautiful blessings of spring.
Writing Sponsor of Portraits of Giving 2016-2019
Publisher, Senior Writer, Author, Mentor ● I C Publishing & Consulting
Chair, The Salvation Army York Housing & Support Services Comm. Adv. Council
Serving Belinda’s Place and Sutton Youth Services ● A Safe Place for New Beginnings