Everyday, in every moment, we have the opportunity to make a change. And all you have to do, is be your most beautiful you.
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we move into this new year, and we reflect upon our past inner ‘year to date’—we might also take a moment to consider the littlest things that can be done to make this world an even more extraordinary place.
It doesn’t take a pile of money, or a butt-load of time. And you don’t have to be a rock star, or a politician, or a super-amazing thought leader. Because, at the very foundation of all great acts there is one fundamental thing in common: love.
Love can take us anywhere and can do for others what to many may seem to be the impossible.
These are just a very few of this world’s most extraordinarily ordinary people and the stories which inspire us most.
Where will love take you today?
1. Paralyzed from the chest down since a car accident at age thirteen, Matthew Sanford is a pioneer in adapting yoga for those with disabilities. Matthew’s passion for communicating a life without limits has inspired millions and helped make yoga a possibility for all.
2. By most standards, Curtis Jackson has nothing. Homeless and destitute, he stands each day holding a small cardboard sign, asking for even the smallest bit of change from each passerby. I’m sure we’ve all passed a Curtis Jackson at some point in our lives, and wondered their story—or even more cynically, perhaps, what they might be doing with the money collected.
But on this day, Curtis Jackson isn’t here for his own personal gain. He is here for a much larger purpose; to help alleviate the suffering of a young mother, displaced from her home and struggling to survive with her 10-year-old son. And so on this day, Curtis greets each passerby with a smile and a purpose—to raise what little change he may so that this young mother and her son may have a safe place to sleep. To date, Curtis has raised over $9,000, taking only enough to pay for his own food and hot coffee each day. In Curtis’ spirit, we may see the true meaning of compassion and generosity and most importantly, of having nothing, and giving all.
3. Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommer was an inmate of the The Terezin concentration camp. Surrounded by death and evil and all those things that might otherwise crush our spirits, Alice found her way to her most beautiful inner peace. Through music, she reached deep into her spirit and found a peace unlike anything she had ever known. When asked how it she is able to preserve her optimism and hope, Alice replies simply, “Life is beautiful…wherever you look is beauty.” In Alice we learn that we see this world that surrounds us, not the way it is, but rather the way we are.
4. Veronika Scott, a 21-year-old design student, watched each year as the ever-increasing population of homeless suffered brutally through the harsh Detroit winters. There seemed no hope, until one day Veronika was inspired to use her talents to make a change. In that single moment she created the Element S. Coat—a waterproof, and self-heating garment that could easily transform into a sleeping bag at night. And though, initially each coat was stitched lovingly by Veronika’s own hands—now, the coats are produced by a group of homeless women who are employed through Veronika’s organization, The Empowerment Plan. In this way, Veronika not only found a way to provide comfort, but in her simple act of kindness and ingenuity, she discovered a way to empower and to give hope again.
5. And last, but certainly not least of all—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who’s vision inspired a nation to change, and who’s courage showed us the path to achieve it. God bless you, Dr. King—for it is because of you, that this dream remains.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And so, as you take each step into your busy day and notice those, the ones you are often just passing by—remember, always, that it only takes just one very small act of loving kindness to ripple out and change this world. Take a chance and be that change today.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta