A review of my end of the year RSS feeds has me reading many people's reflections on things learned and inspiring thoughts to start the new year off on a good foot. I know it is a 'girly' and 'sappy' sentiment, but this morning I was especially touched by a Spare Change post on Metamorphosis.
"When we change, we retain the essence of who we are. It's unusual for someone to be able to completely remake themselves. And yet, like the caterpillars, we have the potential to change waiting inside us, when we are ready to let it happen."
When I started Dollar Philanthropy, I had a clear plan to highlight small to medium non-profit organizations who are doing good work and meeting needs in their communities. I started with a rather academic approach of finding 'cool' nonprofit ideas for social ills and good causes that I care about. At the time, it seemed like a clear cut plan for making DP a good resource for people looking to give.
What actually has happened is a bit of a metamorphosis as well. By really focusing on the simplest of actions (sending a dollar), I've discovered a good number of other small things that speak to my heart and can make a big difference. It's definitely moved from an academic exercise with a heartfelt good intention into something that really is unfolding as a whole new way of opening up, looking at and interacting with the world around me.
Just yesterday, I read an article in the paper that told a story of an anonymous Atlanta CEO who seemed to have learned this lesson a little earlier than me. He methodically combs newspaper articles for small glimmers of promise in the bad news of the day to find folks he can help -- no strings attached. Over the course of the year, this kind gentleman compiles clippings of the stories of people who could use a real break. Around the end of the year the CEO turns over all of the clippings to a 'family wealth advisor' whose job is to track down all the people whose story has touched his heart and make sure they receive help. "He takes the time to really
research what touches him. I think that makes his giving
more personal. It's just so genuine." Take time to go read the article.
In our age of learned helplessness, cynics will likely say "I don't have the kind of dollars that this gentleman does. So I can't make a difference." While initially an act of faith, this exercise, that is DP, has taught me that small things make a difference. If nothing else, giving from my heart makes a big difference in my life and how I look at things. And honestly, that makes the bad news of the day seem not so bad mostly because I now have something that I can do. I leave you with this---
Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal.
Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs.
Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual…. Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude-the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer.
To think rightly is to create.
All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered.
We become like that on which our hearts are fixed.
Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high.
We are gods in the chrysalis.