In my personal perspective since I was raised in a Mormon household, I was always taught to be grateful for helping others through service and by providing service to others is when the blessings come into place when one least expects it. That why it is important to have an open mind of who one is helping through a service opportunity regarding what religion, or background one may have.
I remember helping the hospital a few nights where I helped a few nurses in the ER room just by filling some things that were about out and it come in handy a few minutes later when the ambulance pulled someone in who was in critical condition. I'm sure It only made a little difference in the long run, but I know they were happy to have the right types of test tubes and things in the room.
A true act of kindness starts to help you have a personal change of heart. You get a feeling of gratitude and a feeling that you are doing something good. The more you do for others instead of constantly focusing on yourself, the more you will start to feel better about yourself, the easier it will be to do service for others, and the easier it will be for you to just be a lot more kind to others. Every time I have taken the time out of my personal schedule to someone, it has blessed me in many ways and I always feel the warmth and love when I am helping others. If you change your attitude, you will have a lot better experience. Instead of thinking, "Wow, this sucks. My parents/friend/professor/etc. asked me to be here and I wish I never said yes. I could be doing something else. I am tired. I'm cold. etc." to thinking "wow, I never realized the impact that our hard work makes in the lives of others. This weather is refreshing and I am grateful to be out of the house, helping others. I really don't get to do this often and it feels good. I am happy to be here today." Yes, from experience it can be difficult to switch attitudes right away but the more practice and time you give it the easier it will be to have a good attitude more often.
I am happy to be envolved with Envision Hospice. Helping people live life and experience love through the end stage of life is what hospice is about. Dignity and love are so important both to the patient and their family. I know this because my family went through the end stage process with the help of a wonderful hospice team. Everything we experienced was assisted by a helpfull nursing staff overseen by a physician plus volunteers who would sit with my Mom as I was able to leave the home for a few hours.It is a blessing to be a part of such a loving an compassionate care team.
The furry creatures at the Humane Society show me their gratitude every day I am there. Which makes it oh so fun and nice. Especially if it is cold having a big fluffy cat come and cuddle in your lap is wonderful.
I believe that service and gratitude are both very powerful emotional and spiritual tools that connect us deeper to our highest selves and highest good. If service is treated more as a chore than as a true desire to help and give of oneself than the benefits both personally and inter personally are not as great. If service is done genuinely with sincerity and love and a desire to spread happiness and gratitude then the benefits to both yourself and those you're helping and even working with are immense.
So something really cool happened just recently.I'm a busy body. Maybe borderline workaholic. When I'm booked 9 to 9 everything starts to look like a task. I began to see volunteering and service as a chore. I lost touch with why I was doing it. I still attended events and helped out my community partners. All I got in return was stress. When I began to prep for my role as Alternative Break leader my advisor talked me through the meaning of service. Something clicked, and I remembered why I can't escape volunteering. I remembered the passion, the engagement, the people, and the real reward. I had been looking at all I was doing and how little it felt like I had actually accomplished. But I was able to shift my gaze and see that even when no visible ripples are made, uncountable micro ripples are made. Even when all I'm doing is paperwork. I don't serve to feel good. Sometimes service sucks. I feel incredibly grateful when service is joyful and expanding. Mostly it's planning, prepping, and hectically making things come together. Yet through all my work, when I see things come together, when I see that spark in someone else... there it is! And that's where the gratitude floods in. Just grateful that I can make a possitive difference in one person's life.
As a scholar, I have the ability to change lives through even a few hours of service. The area I work in, volunteers are expected to engage in the interests of the children that come through. We never know where these kids come from or why they came to the crisis nursery but it is important to treat all with the same manner of love and understanding. Service helps me as a volunteer to better appreciate my life and to look at it in a different but positive perspective.
There is a Cherokee story that talks about there being 2 wolves inside each of us, one represents all the negative feelings and emotions and the other all the positive emotions. They are in a battle and the one we feed is the one that will win.I live this concept, because it shows that I am in control of how I deal with experiences in my life. If I view a service opportunity positively and focus on what I am grateful for, I will get more out of it and will be better able to benefit the activity and those I an helping.
November is a staple in American culture to be grateful, but for me everyday that we have an opportunity to better our lives and the lives of others is a blessed day indeed. The power of gratitude can affect people on many levels. Everything from decreased depression to increases in social connection. Knowing this and being a civically engaged scholar provides me with a tool belt to create community and change in all things I am engaged in. The service we are committed to in this program allows us to interact with many people, on many levels of different background and cultures. Keeping our hearts open to new things and new ideas breaks down social barriers and invites a greater and stronger community to build inside our hearts and our lives. My commitment to CES means that I’m committed to cultivating gratitude and expressing it to others. Inclusivity of all people and their ideas is a key ingredient for gratitude to exist in my life. What I have learned from the Thayne Center is to reflect and process the different ideas of “What, So What, and Now What” and apply them to cause and affect while being an actively engaged scholar. The best way for me as a volunteer to express gratitude is to express it to those around me. Often times we forget to thank the people we surround ourselves with. I’m not talking about the in formal “thank you” that follows a good deed. I’m talking about actually taking a few minutes each and every day to either write a letter, an email, or making a phone call just to say thank you, for being you. I also like to list and bring to mind all the people, things, achievements and environments that I’m grateful for. By practicing these things on a consistent basis I would like to think that my gratitude in it’s self becomes contagious and spreads through the hearts of everyone I encounter. By living this way I have an opportunity to transform my own ideas an opinions and possibly those of others.
As a CES, I can transform service opportunities into blessings through gratitude by making sure that I am on time to my volunteering projects. I can also learn from each time I go to volunteer and start to appreciate the life that was given to me. I can show gratitude by going the extra mile when I volunteer. I like to arrive to my volunteer sites with a smile on my face and an open mind. It may sound cliche to say, but you never know what someone is going through. Even a smile might change another person's day. It is easy to take for granted the life that was given to us and I like to be reminded how fortunate I am.Another way that I can show gratitude is give my full attention to who I am volunteering for. For example, I can put away my phone, homework, and give my all to my service site.For the past year, I have been volunteering for multiple sites, such as the Utah Aids Foundation, the Cancer Wellness House, Big Brothers Big Sisters. I have learned that everyone faces adversity in one way or another and volunteering is one way to bring everyone together.
novemberHow can you as a CES transform service opportunities into blessings through gratitude?Kearns Color guard is now up to about 8 members and are ready to compete, this group of students have a lot to offer and working with them I’ve been guiding them and encouraging them to do well in school start thinking about college and think about others. As we move into the winter season of color guard, we are in need of the gym to learn more moves and work on drill for our show. Ive been teaching these students the importance of working with others, in this circumstance we must share the gym with basketball. Some students feel its unfair that we as a team are getting pushed aside and forgotten when we too need the gym, as much as they want to rebel, I’ve asked them to be grateful that we get the gym sometimes even though its not often its better then nothing. I also find it a surprise on my own self, I am doing what I do with these students on my own time and I do it for them. This kind of model is teaching these students so much, I didn’t realize it until one of the students ask me what they need to do to be able to do what I’m doing and thanked me for everything I’ve been doing for them. That right there is a huge example of a service opportunity being transformed into a blessing of gratitude.
To be able to offer my time to any organization I remind myself that I am there to help today. I am not here to change how they do things. By being fully committed to any job duties they have I am giving my all and full attention. By recognizing that the small things are what matters most. At the end of the day I was able to help someone with or without personal contact. Knowing that I was able to give my time and go home to my family is my gratitude.
CES - November Blog Prompt
How can you as a CES transform service opportunities into blessings through gratitude? By serving others you can see that everyone has their challenges and most of the time, the things you feel are terrible in your own life really aren't so bad. I love the saying, "If problems were like laundry and we hung them on the line, you'd take yours, and I'd take mine." It's a good reminder that while we may feel sorry for ourselves now and then, we need to remember how blessed we truly are and that things are never as bad as they seem.
How can you as a CES transform service opportunities into blessings through gratitude? With all life has to offer us, it's all about how we perceive opportunities and challenges. No one else decides how we will react. Same goes for receiving blessings from service opportunities, if someone goes into service with a feeling of gratitude and genuine feeling, that's when a person receives those blessings. It's all about how you think.