This morning in line at Dunkin Donuts, a man who looked homeless was in front of me. He turned to me in line to tell me about his girlfriend, who was waiting for him to come back with the coffees. He was so proud. She played pretty competitive baseball, he said, his clothes dripping with the melting snow that we were all wearing from outside. And - he said - if she hadn't been a woman, she would have been in the major leagues. He was so sweet, and kind - and proud of her. He looked at me and said: "She can't see really well now. She has new bifocal glasses though. They were $1,000 to get." He then explained how they got them through a program, etc. He was friendly, but not overly so. He was just telling his story.
He paid for his coffees (one for her, one for him) and then turned to me and said:
"Can you even imagine having $1,000?" and walked away.
Now this is the point where I'm so rattled by the comment, that I am having trouble ordering, so it's a good thing that I go to the same DDs all the time.
I don't have to imagine having $1,000. I have $1,000 - and much more.
So on my walk home, I figured today was as good as any to share one of my goals for the year on my blog.
I can't solve homelessness in a Dunkin Donuts, or bridge the enormous divide that separates the comfortable from those that need in one gesture. But I can make the thing that I love doing - the practice that has truly changed me - be a gift to someone else.
This year, I am donating $5 for every yoga class that I attend to various charities - a different one each quarter. It motivates me in a number of ways. Every time I go to yoga, I know that by putting myself on the mat, I've already promised to make a difference. And while I don't remember it every time, I do remember it when I track the classes each week. The side benefit is that you know how much yoga you did in a given month, quarter, or year. An added bonus is that my company matches my donation 100%.
Will this be the only donation I make this year? Of course not. But it will be one that is truly special and a constant reminder of finding ways to do more.
For this first quarter, the money will go to Community Servings - which provides meals to the critically ill, their caregivers, and dependents. I have personally volunteered there (although I wasn't the best chopper of veggies - they moved me to pudding scooping later on) and have seen the amazing impact and benefit that this organization provides. Community Servings also trains and employs individuals with barriers to employment - including those convicted of crimes who have served time - to help them develop job skills and assist with their placement.
I'll spot myself the Forrest Class that I know I'm taking on Monday, and for January and February - I will have practiced in class 43 times. Not a bad start to this quarter's donation.
So my challenge to my family, friends, and anonymous readers is not to go out and do as many yoga classes as you can and give to charity. Yoga is what helps me to be whole and give more of myself as a result.
My challenge is for you to go out and do what you LOVE. Do what makes you SMILE and what sparks your PASSION. And turn that into some kind of gift for those that have a need.
"Let the beauty of what we love, be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." - Rumi