Living the circle of life… giving and receiving in gratitude

I owe so many debts of gratitude that I can never repay some people – they are dead or live too far away.

In the barren lands of earth, our gestures of gratitude can often seem hollow and trite–an obligatory Thank You note written here; a box of chocolates given there; handshakes, hugs, and gift cards, though well intended, can also prove lacking. The worst, of course, is when someone’s precious gifts of time, effort, and heart are overlooked and entirely taken for granted.

by R. Arthur Russell on To The One

Arthur Russel expressed his deep gratitude to the people who have helped him in his life and he encouraged his readers to express this love and gratitude for each other.

What if you cannot repay someone for a kindness that may have been small for them but had a huge impact in your life?

What if the person has died or lives too far away to do anything tangible?

Are we stuck with feeling helpless about repaying someone or being able to adequately thank them for their kindness?

I do believe in paying it forward, of doing acts of kindness for others who may never be able to repay me, for that is how this gratitude cycle works when we live the full circle!

Life is a circle, always coming around to a point where we need to accept help and where we can offer it. It is up to us to participate in it or not. I find it far more satisfying and rewarding to live the full circle!

Paying kindnesses forward

There are so many little opportunities to pay kindness forward.

I was feeling badly about not having smaller denominations of cash on hand when I was approached at a traffic light by an unhoused person or someone in dire need, while I will give smaller amounts, I hesitate at giving $20, the denomination that comes out of the ATM.

I heard that the most requested item at homeless shelters is socks, so I figured that I could buy a bag of socks at the store, then re-package them in baggies and have something to give at a traffic light. When I looked at the pair of socks in the baggie, it looked lonely so I looked around to see what else I could add to the bag. I had some packets of EmergenC, so I added 2 to each bag.

When I showed my brother the stash I had in the back of the front passenger seat, he thought it was a great idea, “like giving out a hug” to each person, was what he said. It may not make a big difference overall, but in the day of one person maybe it could help them feel cared for to get through another day.

I’m a door holder and let people cut in front of me in traffic; I’m donating artwork to sell to raise money for Ukrainian relief efforts. When I can I bring food or clothes to groups or organizations that redistribute things. I keep my eyes out for free things I can pass on to others. I’ll look online for free egg cartons to pick up for a friend who raises chickens and who gives the eggs to veterans as her service project.

I know these aren’t big, life-changing things to do, but they are something.

Even if we can’t do big things, it’s an accumulation of the little things we can do for others that makes a difference too.

Giving helps keep us in the gratitude cycle of life

I listen to people when they’re venting; I try to be friendly and pleasant to all around. Our personal interactions with people can become burdensome if we vent on others or they can be a blessing when we respond with gentleness and respect even in difficult times.

Quote by Tamara Kulish, photo from clip art

We’re all stressed an overwhelmed, so “busting someone’s chops” when we feel slighted or if things aren’t going our way can turn a difficult situation into something hateful. Our vented anger doesn’t help resolve a situation, it just shows others our immaturity, our inability to handle life’s problems with grace and respect for others.

Instead, if we choose to handle things with more patience, respect and diplomacy, this in turn is a kindness we can give to others!

I have found that doing these little things with frequency helps keep my heart focused on the gratitude part of the life circle, which helps me to focus with positivity on my life instead of feeling discouraged when things aren’t going so well because I now have a library of events in my brain to return to where I can remind myself of all the times the dark clouds cleared up and the sun came back out again in my life.

Giving and gratitude seem to work well together, don’t they?

This may also be an antidote to the ills in our society

On Thanksgiving Rosaliene Bacchus on Thought for Today: Trapped in a Loop was saddened about the shootings in the USA to date (total figures for 2022 alone: 613 mass shootings, 642 deaths, more than 2,500 people injured) and asking: When will we say ENOUGH? When will we break free?

I hear staunch Conservatives saying “we need people to get back into churches, then we wouldn’t see these shootings!”, and then I see the same people saying or behaving in very hateful ways towards their neighbors who aren’t like them.

I think we have become so emboldened and entitled in our society that more and more people are feeling free to express unkindness, hatred, and cruelty freely, whether in person or on the internet.

This results in more and more people becoming hurt, as well as hatred becoming amplified to the point where a shooter breaks inside and feels the only possible solution is to pick up a gun and attempt to take matters into their own hands.

This is a time when we need MORE kindness, MORE compassion, and MORE respect for each other.

I say: “If hatred can create negative ripples, then love can certainly create ripples too!”

If you have been the recipient of kindness from people you may never be able to repay, please consider finding ways to pay this kindness forward!

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36 thoughts on “Living the circle of life… giving and receiving in gratitude

  1. Dear Tamara, I’m sorry I’m so late getting to your post. I read it a while ago but didn’t manage to comment then. I love this inspirational post. Despite feeling awful at this present time (and having the prospect of being alone again for Christmas), I’m a great believer in paying a good deed forward. I’ve done similar things to those you mention in the past. I’ve made up individual bags of useful and comforting items for people without homes in my town, including warm socks and hand warmers, toothbrushes, glucose/energy tablets, chocolate etc. It was such a pleasure to be able to do this. There are so many people far worse off than I am, although, unfortunately, this year, I can’t afford to do this as I’m not even able to have my heating on at home, and it’s bitterly cold right now. I think gratitude is so important, and I believe you can do a kindness too soon. In the past, I was treated to a coffee and cake by a stranger, so paid it forward to the next person in the queue. I now keep a gratitude diary, too, as despite things being so difficult, there are always things to be grateful for. I still have more of your posts to catch up with – I’ll get there at some point. Thanks again for your kindness and wisdom, Tamara. Xx 💓🌼💓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries as far as when you’re able to read any posts! Follow through on what you are able to do, and don’t worry about the rest. Yes, giving is important when we are able to, but even if we can’t give financially, a kind word to people we interact with is free. Unfortunately I see too many people unloading verbally on others when they’re not in a good place, but being civil to one another goes a very long way! I love that you’re keeping a gratitude journal! That’s a wonderful tool to help rewire the brain! Bravo! Happy holidays!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this, Tamara! I used to do something similar with the care packages for transient people. You can even put a dollar or two in there. I definitely don’t think church or religion is the answer. I think religions have had their time to correct the world, and I’m not sure that’s always the best solution, as they, too, harbor hatred for groups.

    What you’re doing works, and if the majority of us can chime in and do our part, then the world will, indeed, be a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you 100% on all points! Yes, even if what we do is a small thing, that 1 small thing can make a difference in the life of another human being!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an inspiring post. I think we all have so many people we are grateful for. And gratitude is always a good thing. I absolutely agree with what you said about kindness too. We can repay someones kindness by paying it forward,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pooja! Me too! I love the idea of paying kindness forward, there’s only good things that can come out of it. Small things can be very impactful too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Pennize! I was pleased to see the packets myself. Though now with the colder weather I’m not seeing any at the traffic lights.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely post, Tamara.
    Yes, I agree. Every little act of kindness helps. I believe in, “finding ways to pay this kindness forward.”
    There is a saying in Marathi, an Indian language, ” थेंबे थेंबे तळे साचे.” Translated, it means, “A lake is formed by one drop at a time.”
    Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chaya for your supportive feedback!

      A similar quote in English is “it takes many drops to fill a bucket”. Imagine if we all did these small acts of kindness how it could improve the lives for many. When we ourselves operate from a place kindness and generosity we’re actually doing a lot for our own mental health. The circle is very real!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Michele, when I realized my post was actually an intersection of 2 other posts I was amazed! I’m glad you connected with this post, I love that quote too, it feels so empowering! Hope your weekend is awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks so much! Candy for the brain.. I’ve been eating more candy lately! Probably the spiritual and the physical! lol!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful post, Tamara! Loved this: “doing these little things with frequency helps keep my heart focused on the gratitude part of the life circle,” That’s so true! 🤍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Wynne! We get so overwhelmed by the negative stuff we keep hearing about and that can contribute to feelings of helplessness, but if we flip the script, it’s amazing what we ARE able to do! Hope your weekend is awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tamara, thanks for yet another life-affirming post! I’m with you all the way when you say: “Life is a circle, always coming around to a point where we need to accept help and where we can offer it. It is up to us to participate in it or not. I find it far more satisfying and rewarding to live the full circle!” Countless as well as nameless individuals have helped me along my journey to this moment in my life. I repay them by giving freely in whatever way I can. Sometimes, just showing up is a gift. >What a surprise to come upon a link to my latest post! Thanks so much for sharing ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was so thrilled to see how parts if your post seemed to resonate mine! I’m delighted to share yours and to give credit! I see a bigger hand at work here! Keep writing your posts, they’re amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So true, Tamara, love it! We need more kindness, always, to balance out the hatred in the world. And the manners you describe in which you do this are good and creative – there are always things we can do for others. It is so easy. Paying it forward is the only way and we have it under our control entirely. The good you bring into this world is never lost. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Hope your weekend is wonderful too!

      It seems easier for people to do this around the holiday time, but we definitely need to learn (as a collective whole) how to expand this year-around. I appreciate you stopping in and your perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” St. Therese

    Keep being kind. Keep smiling. You never know when your kind way will make a huge difference in someone’s life. Maybe they are in a really dark place and your listening ear can relieve some of their pain. God bless you for making a difference!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those are my prayers! Thank you Rita for your wonderful warm words of support! I’m also hoping to inspire more people to find simple ways to help others, for sometimes people thing the don’t have the resources to do anything that could make a difference, and in truth, there’s a myriad of small or even tiny things we can do!

      Liked by 1 person

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