Let’s reinvent the definition of ‘Free Spirit’ to include giving freely of our spirit! When was the last time you gave freely of your spirit? This could be a whole day of volunteering, or the sharing of an, “I love your outfit,” to a passerby. I am referring to tapping into our joyous, most connected and loving spirit, to freely share with another, expecting nothing in return.
This past weekend I had the great joy of volunteering my time to raise money for Paws Chicago. This is a huge organization that helps rescue and adopt out dogs and cats, along with a host of other incredible services. My boyfriend had a booth offering canine massage, with all the proceeds going to Paws, and I was able to participate with him. While he was massaging, I was gathering health information and signing up dogs in need. It was wonderful to not only get to engage with the dogs, but also the owners who were there participating in a 5K walk with their dogs. Just to meet so many like-minded, animal-loving individuals and watch them investing in the happiness of their own dogs was such a boost to the spirit. We were proud knowing that our investment of time served to ease the bodies of so many adorable pups, and raise money to help other animals looking to find their forever homes.
Earlier today I was checking in on an elderly friend of mine who had fallen during her surgical recovery. Just taking out her garbage, tending her cats, and sitting with her for a bit to chat. It was an honor to be welcomed into her home, and trusted to tend her beloved animals. Tomorrow I’ll be stopping by again to offer a bit of help as she prepares for her families upcoming visit. When we give freely of our spirit we are also sharing of the love that radiates from within us; that connects us all. These are not dramatic tasks I’m assisting with, but when we give from our place of love and compassion, they become extraordinary.
As a person with a visual disability, I can not tell you how many times I have asked, not only those I love, but complete strangers, for help. Whether it be simply to find out the color of an item I am considering purchasing, how ripe a banana is, help reading a small-print label, or which button to hit on at the automated checkout. Last week I texted my family a picture of a toe I thought I may have broken, to tell me if it showed signs of bruising! Not one time has anyone declined to help; that really speaks to the love we all hold within, and that connection of kindness we all thrive from offering of ourselves to one another. I believe that when you are regularly tasked with reaching out to others for help, because you genuinely need it, that offering to help others in the ways I can, is recognizing that cycle of gratitude.
I believe offering of our spirit freely also means being in touch with that aspect of ourself, and strengthening it through the choices we make on a daily basis. If you made it your mission to say something kind to a complete stranger once a day, or to offer a task to a neighbor once a week, or volunteer once a month for a cause you support, think about how that would impact your life. I think allowing ourselves to confidently connect to strangers is a muscle we all could invest more time in strengthening, especially when you recognize the amazing beauty that is being reciprocated between giver and receiver. That connection to another is, to me, what the whole point of life is – to spread the love. And when we are consciously choosing these opportunities, we are inviting that kind of energy and growth into our lives.
For many, there is a sense of pride to accomplish all of life’s tasks by their own doing. I’ve lived in this mindset before. Feeling like it spoke to your character strength to never reach out for help or support. What I have learned though, through coaching and my disability, is that when our mindset determines our value by our accomplishments, we are often missing the opportunities being placed before us. The opportunity to find the flexibility to accept another’s way as right. The opportunity to build friendships, and restore our sense of community. Maybe even more so, the opportunity to see that life is beautiful when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, and offer from that place of vulnerability, as we witness the truth of ourselves and others with our masks removed. How can you free your spirit?