We hear it all the time. We read it and truly believe it. I am even guilty of saying it myself. Most religious, spiritual and metaphysical beliefs endorse it. Almost every philosopher, past and present, has used it as the basis of their individual creed. I suspect that even those in the animal kingdom instinctively base their annual rituals on it. I speculate to say that even aliens from other world's light years away embrace it. Almost no one can deny it. What is it? Four simple words: "We are all connected". There are as many interpretations of this phrase as there are sources that incorporate the meaning, whatever that may be, into their daily lives. It is such a universal phrase, easier to say than to explain but it sounds profound so surely there must be some existential truth to it. Being connected spiritually, connected biologically, connected emotionally are but a few of the popular accepted concepts. I think that the phrase promotes peace and is perceived as a cosmic welcome mat into our neighbors world. Among the myriad of connections we, also, have physical connections....tangible connections. How can we visibly connect to each other in less elusive methods? The answer lies within our community. There are pockets full of people everywhere in this world. There are groups coming together socially (fun) or coming together out of necessity (cause). Coming together socially, a group can ebb and flow as they merrily control the input/output of their activities. A ski club, for example. But what about the groups that come together out of necessity? These groups have little, if any, say at all regarding the purpose or variables of their circumstances. A children's cancer ward springs to mind. These strict in structure groups feel isolated from the rest of the world. They are always challenging. Yes, they have each other for support but, similar to the free flowing social groups, they need to feel connected to the world. One very effective way to do this is by bringing the external into the internal. Recently, on my social web site, Twitter...I have started to provide information on how we can tangibly connect with these isolated pockets of people. Whether it is assisting with our homeless population or bringing a moment of joy to those living in an end of life care facility. We need them and they need us. By our donations, we raise our own self esteem, as well as making others feel loved. By receiving, they feel gratitude and experience being part of the real world. Connections. There can be simple tasks such as bringing a box of chocolates to a hospice or donating a teddy bear to a children's hospital pediatric unit. Some tasks may require a bit more involvement. Such as offering a homeless person a ride to a shelter in sub freezing weather. Bring a friend for support if you are weary about being so close to a stranger. You get the picture. I am asking us all to raise the bar a bit in terms of tangible connections. You can make these symbiotic connections alone or with a group of friends. It is a well known fact that there are always countless volunteers to assist in soup kitchen shelters over the holidays but what about the rest of the year? Our small contributions can be life changing 365 days a year. And I do not necessarily mean only money. Sometimes people just do not know what to do or where to start. This is where I actively come in. Either for pure joy or maybe out of necessity, I will be suggesting who may need what. What would make life at a shelter, a mental health group home, a detox facility and other such places a little bit easier?What would make those at such places feel more connected to the world?
Once accomplished, this short term volunteering can be an inspiration to others. Charity work is justly contagious. I realize that money is tight everywhere so my recommendations for purchases will always be very modest. Even the smallest amount of money can be divided between friends. Donating money is important. It is a quick fix but why not take a little time and custom make some of your donations, emphasizing the human touch...which is getting lost in a world of fast paced technology. Price aside, your heart will burst with love for yourself and humanity knowing that you have made someones life a little happier. You would be bringing a slice of the real world into the isolated lives of others and maybe lessen the burden of worry...if only for a moment. There is no other feeling like it. As my gift to you, I want everyone to feel this omnibenevolence. In good times and in bad times, I feel it almost everyday. I feel rejuvenated at every junction of assistance. Once you are touched by the hand of altruism, the sensation will stay with you always. Of course, anyone can donate anything anywhere but if you are indecisive on what to donate or where to go, just contact me at Twitter and I will gladly give you appropriate suggestions with exact locations in your city where your gift/donation will make the greatest difference. This is a joy for me to participate in. We will make tangible connections this year. Everyone wins at this. Every one's heart will grow a little bit larger and a little bit stronger. My name is Rich Bassett, CADAC and can be reached at: http://twitter.com/RichBassett