I thought, How interesting.
What was equally interesting is that I received a letter from AARP Foundation (American Association of Retired Persons for those of you reading this outside of the US*) about a service opportunity in my local area. They are looking for people to do one of three things to help elders manage their finances. They range from writing checks for the elders to sign to pay their bills to monitoring the expenditures made on behalf of elders who can no longer manage their own finances.
I remember writing checks for my mother so that she could pay bills as she had difficulty seeing well enough to write the checks. She could manage to sign them, but writing them was not something she could do. In between visits by her three daughters, an accountant did the task for her. It made me sit and think—not everyone has children to do this or can afford to pay an accountant. I am probably not the person to reconcile bank accounts for others, but I can certainly write checks.
I have put the volunteer meeting on my calendar to see if doing one of these tasks is for me. But in the meantime, I can open doors for people and the like. I can offer to carry bags to cars or help someone across the street. I can drive someone to an appointment. It occurs to me that lessening someone’s burden does not have to be a task that you repeat over and over again; it can be doing something in passing.
It can even be something as simple as smiling at someone or saying Hello. Laughing and helping others to laugh certainly fits the bill—at least in my mind. Listening with sympathy to a friend could very well fit the description of lessening someone’s burden. I do not know how many people remember the movement of a few years back called random acts of kindness. Practicing random acts of kindness feels to be in a similar vein.
The other interesting thing to me is that paying attention to how you can help someone else, no matter if it is the smallest of things, seems to be a mindfulness practice as it is not possible to help someone else unless you are paying attention. And, if we pay attention, we might start paying attention to how we can lessen our own burden by letting in laughter and learning to ask for help when we need it.
*Again for those of you outside the US, you do not actually have to be retired to join, you just have to be at least 50 years old.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryn Samuelson is an intuitive who channels messages from your angels and guides through spiritual or automatic writing. She is also a life coach certified by the University of New Hampshire through its Professional Development Department. Kathryn does workshops based on the set of meditation cards and book called Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be that she created with her friend, Linda Lewis. For more information: http://www.kathrynsamuelson.com/, klsamuelsonATyahoo.com, or 781-799-7332
Other Blog Posts by Kathryn Samuelson: Small Businesses as a Sign of Hope, When is Enough Enough?, Just Because We Can, Should We?, Choosing a Slower Path, My Journey with the Angels, Odds and Ends, Dissolving Limits, Brave Spending, Mindful Spending, Would You Have the Courage to Act?, Growth in the Winter, Book Review: Find Your Spirit Animals, As We Grow Through the Season, Simple Ways to Give, Turning Left Rather Than Right, Giving Thanks, Nurturing the Ego, Letting Things Go, Real Energy Book Review, Living with Doubt and Uncertainty, Bardo - The Things In Between, Musings On Mindfulness, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps, The Choices We Make, Beyond: Buddhist and Christian Prayers CD Review, Riding Out Irene: A Practice in Maintaining Balance,