Last week I was conducting a storytelling workshop for a group of street kids. Since the time frame of the workshop was short I decided to use a sing along song. That meant I did not use any cassette or CD we sang the songs as we told the stories. I was feeling very fraudulent about this as most urban workshops we have got used to using CD’s. At the end of the workshop the kids said, “What we liked the most was the fact that madam sang for us, she taught each one of us to sing and it was not some film cassette, it was a song for us.” it was such a small thing but it meant so much for the children. I was really humbled by it.
In a way I felt sad, that in a world of billions, people can still feel isolated and stand alone. Sometimes all it takes to brighten up someone’s day is a smile or a kind word. Or the generous action of a complete stranger. Small things, the tiny details, these are the thing that matter in life—the little glint in the eye, curve of a lip, a nod of a head, wave of a hand and such miniscule movements have huge ripple effects.
It was not just here, there have been so many times when I did some small gesture that I did not have to put myself out for and the person on the receiving end was so full of joy and gratitude that it humbled me. Each time when I look back those are the moments when I have been spontaneous and authentic to myself.
Just like my fear and limitation of being a bad singer did not hold me back; there must be more in each of us that we could contribute to the world despite our fears and limitations. It is not about funding, or free time, usually healing, cleansing and spreading of joy is accomplished in matter of minutes. Like the time I was talking to this patient of mine who was a law student. I kept him in conversation so that he would not bite my fingers. Without really realizing I told him something, he same back a day later with a bunch of flowers,”Doctor this is for listening to me, and helping me collect my thoughts.” Again I am humbled for all I did for him, was give him a listening space, and asked him some questions that took him to what he was looking for. A month later his parents came up to me and thanked me for transforming their son. Yet I did nothing.
If only we could make our homes, workplaces, communities and countries better and brighter with positive thoughts. We could give few minutes of our time, a warm smile for someone who needs it; it would be a greater donation than the money that we would give. Just that small moment at the petrol pump when we enquire “How was your day son” we have acknowledged his existence as a human being and that brings out positive vibes from him. This connect is all about the change.
Helping someone, often takes no more than a moment, it is just a wish for the world is a beautiful gesture and can be done by even the busiest of people effortlessly. Like the Ubuntu faith, you are so I am. This whole business of connecting to the community makes the difference.
“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.”
― Charles de Lint