Grow Where You’re Planted

Grow Where You’re Planted

Ah, surprise!  I was walking around the Rose Bowl again this week, as I often do.  It’s like a treat for myself after finishing a good workout.  I’ve mentioned before, I love a leisurely walk while listening to chirping birds and rustling leaves, sans cell phone.

For those of you who don’t know the Bowl, it’s a football stadium + golf course + large open field.  Across the street, I believe there’s an aquatics center and kids’ playground as well.  Walking “the loop” (the main area where I go) is about a three mile stretch.  It’s a nice little stroll, and a popular place for us Pasadena folk to get some fresh air, meet up for a jaunt with friends, or go for one local event or another (I LOVE Pasadena, there’s always something fun going on!  I did the livestrong.com plank challenge there last summer, and they’re currently building a huge dome-like structure for an Apollo 11 event of some kind… definitely googling that!). 

Anyway, back to my Rose Bowl walking habit.  It provides me lots of opportunities to both think and let my mind wander, and I often come up with new and amazing ideas while I’m there!  Yesterday, it provided me the opportunity to help someone.  It was the cap on my week of situations like these, so I feel compelled to share. 

I was just walking along, gazing up at birds and basking in the sunshine, when I heard a small voice yell out, sounding slightly distraught.  I looked a smidge further down the road and noticed a little girl with her bike, sitting on the curb looking around.  As I got closer, I realized she was calling out a name.  I approached her, smiled, and asked if she’d lost someone… to which she replied “yeah,” looking pretty sad.  As it turns out, she took off a bit too quickly on her bike and apparently smoked her grown-up sister who was on foot with her dog.  So, I asked which direction here sister was walking and suggested that she walk back that way so that she would eventually find her.  I offered to walk with her, and she quickly accepted.  She was such a polite and adorable little girl, nine years old, and apparently quite the cyclist.  I introduced myself and asked her name (which I won’t share here), inquired about her favorite subject in school (science!) and what she wanted to be when she grows up (a doctor!).  We talked about sports and animals, and within just a few minutes found her sister.  The little girl apologized to her sister for going too fast and too far away and pointed toward me and said, “She helped me!!”  Her sister thanked me (glad to help!) as my heart melted into a small puddle right there next to the golf course, and then I continued on my walk. 

It occurred to me that this was not the first time this week I had been given the opportunity to help someone. I picked up a woman’s cane at the store the other day when she accidentally dropped it, and she seemed so surprised by the small gesture from a stranger; I made a couple of cashiers laugh while running errands; and as is habit, I held multiple doors open for people. These seemed no big deal to me at the time, but they could very well have turned someone else’s day around.

I tell you these things because I’m often guilty of expecting downright extravagance of myself when it comes to being of service to others.  Given my past work in ER nursing, I’ve literally helped bring people back to life.  So I assume that if I’m not doing that, it’s “not enough.”  NOT TRUE.  Apparently, I’ve been subconsciously hounding myself about this lately because the universe saw fit to toss a few examples in my path this week.  I know I’m not the only one who does this (yes, I’m talking to YOU!), so let me provide a few encouraging reminders:

1.      Every act of kindness matters.

An opportunity doesn’t have to seem like a big deal to YOU in order to be a big deal to THE PERSON YOU’RE HELPING.

A little kindness goes a long way.

 

2.      That one smile is a much bigger deal than you think.

When you do something simple (like smiling at someone), that creates a positive energy – a  ripple effect – that has the potential to impact so many people down the line.  Have faith in this.  You don’t have to have extra time or extra money…

Everyone can smile. It takes no time and is totally free.

 

3.      There’s a reason that opportunities present themselves. 

Keep an eye out for them; watch for patterns.  Take that moment to help someone, and remember:

It doesn’t have to BE a grand gesture to HAVE a grand result.

 

4.      Grow where you’re planted.

You’ve heard this before, I’m sure of it.  Everyone has the potential to be better than they were the day before. Small consistent steps lead to big change, big growth. No need to wait until the timing is perfect or the conditions are ideal. Embrace now, act now, help now, contribute now, grow now.

Your positive contributions to the world really do make a difference. Take that to the bank.

Cheers, friends!  Have a phenomenal week!

 

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Until Next Week, Be Well and Be Good!

Shannyn