Living my life by being of service is a huge component of my sobriety.
At one time it looked like raising an extensive amount of money for organizations whether through organizing a gala, a book sale, or a 5k race in my neighborhood. But as my (service-based) business has grown, I don’t have the time for those larger events anymore. What I do have time for is living my daily life in line with being of service. And so do you, trust me!
When we live life with service at the forefront of our actions we are exuding kindness. As an added bonus compassion starts to show up in our lives too. Service or also called volunteering doesn’t have to be dishing out food at a food bank or selling cookies for the school bake sale. Think outside of the box of what you traditionally thought of as service or volunteering. It can be something much smaller.
For example, if you have a dog you are most likely already carrying poop bags on your walk. Why not fill one up with the trash that you see in your neighborhood as you go on your walk? If you love animals, how about fostering a four-legged pal while you are still working from home during the pandemic. How about the neighbor that lives alone, invite them to sit on the porch and chat (socially distanced of course). No awards will be given but the impact you will make on your community, your friends, your family, and yourself will be bigger than any moment at a gala.
My family has been in a quarantine pod for quite some time now. We have dinner once a week and hang out. It has definitely been a lifesaver during the pandemic. This past weekend we took one of their kids, they have two, for a sleepover at our house. The kids are at the stage where it seems as though they are constantly bickering, it’s something that the parents have mentioned to us. And I remember my own kids reaching this stage as well. With my kids, it seemed like I was constantly playing referee and finding myself saying, “Please just play with him for an hour!” to my older son. I also vividly remember when my older sister was no longer interested in playing Barbies with me and didn’t want me around. It’s a stage that all siblings tend to go through when the older one is in the preteen age and you can suddenly see this big divide in their maturity.
So we took just one kid and it felt so good to be of service in that way, for her. To allow her space to simply do whatever she wanted to do for the weekend, to not have to compromise with a younger brother, to just be. We colored together for hours, went for walks, looked at flowers. We didn’t do anything super incredible, we are still living in a pandemic and not everything is open or safe to go to. But just holding space for someone else, it’s such magic.
For me, it also is about being a role model for this young girl. Most importantly it’s about being a role model who is sober. Now it’s not that her parents are heavy drinkers, they are not! (We honestly wouldn’t be friends if they were.) But I think about myself at that age and she is reaching the age, that for me, was when underage drinking happened. 13 years old. Thinking about that and seeing myself in her…I want to give her what I felt like I needed at that age. An adult, who wasn’t my parents, that I could look up to. Someone that could show me being happy and living authentically doesn’t have to go hand in hand with drinking or doing drugs.
Start by thinking about the last time someone did a kind and gentle act for you. Maybe it was a random phone call from a long-lost friend or maybe a neighbor stopped by with some baked goods. Maybe someone offered you some plants that they had extra of from their yard. These are all ways in which we can think of reaching out with kindness and being of service in our lives. We can be of service in a variety of ways from four-legged to two-legged teenagers to your elderly neighbor down the street. We can step beyond our own world of needs and we can give love and kindness to someone else. Go ahead, give it a try!