I was nearly stopped in traffic on a scenic road, listening to a Peter Gabrielle song in my head, when I noticed a dog near the end of a massive driveway. I could see his owner in the distance, at the far end of the drive in front of his door. As traffic slowed, I watched as the dog bent his head and picked up the newspaper with his teeth and turned around to make his way back down the long driveway to deliver it to his master.
It was the sweetest thing to witness: a loyal dog taking care of his owner.
The image stayed with me much of the day. I don’t know if it was the act of service so much or the loyalty on the part of the dog that touched me.
It made me think about how we’re all divinely wired for service. People. Pets. I believe that when we cooperate and act from a spirit of service, we are acting from our innate programming, from our higher selves. That part of ourselves that knows we are all one, that part that knows cooperation, not competition, is the way to a more peaceful life.
I was listening to a radio program recently and the guest was Cynthia Kersey, a success coach and best-selling author. In the interview she was talking about tithing and generosity and how service to others invariably reflects back to us in the form of more abundance for ourselves. (While service should be its own reward…think for a second about the dog returning to his owner with the morning paper in his mouth. I bet he was amply rewarded for his service.)
She was urging listeners to tithe. She made it clear that tithing was not just about giving away money, though that can certainly be an aspect of it. Kersey issued a challenge of sorts: she encouraged listeners to do 29 nice things, or acts of service for 30 days in a row. She stressed that it didn’t have to be about giving away money….it could be simple acts of kindness to help another. She cited examples like letting someone in front of you in line at the grocery store, or cut ahead in traffic or offering a supportive compliment to a coworker.
I thought it was a great idea….but I’ll be honest, my first reaction was one of overwhelm. How could a person keep up the pace of giving….29 times a day for an entire month? I thought to myself…. “I’m a really nice person, but I’m not sure I can do that. I’m not sure I’m THAT nice.”
But still, I was intrigued. So, I’ve decided to experiment with the concept myself but with my own rules. For the next 9 days in a row, I play to perform 9 acts of service for a total of 81 acts (8+1=9) . Here’s my logic: in numerology, the number nine carries special weight. In Feng Shui, the number 9 is the most powerful single number and is considered lucky.
Yes, I know I”m falling far far short of the loftier goal of 29 nice acts per day, but I believe in setting smaller, achievable goals to get my confidence up. And I don’t want to fail the “nice test”….so I’m giving myself a “handicap.” Isn’t that what they call it in golf?
So here’s how it’s going to work: I plan to go about my regular day as I always do but consciously look for ways to be of service. Or to share a kind word. I’d like to think this is pretty natural for me, but it will be a good exercise to do it with conscious eyes. I am looking forward to the lessons.
I plan to report back in a future blog what some of my days looked like and how I felt upon the conclusion of the exercise. I’m hoping I will become more aware of opportunities to serve others in my daily life.
I’m a firm believer that we are here to serve one another. How we do it is up to us.
Service, kindness, compassion, to ourselves, to others, is what binds us to humanity…and to each other. I’m ready to serve…to be a humanity glue stick, starting now.