It is with open arms and an open mind that I serve as the Founder and CEO of a non-profit that I believe has such great potential to blossom.
The key to Community service, as modeled by my parents when I was young and impressionable is unequivocal selflessness. It is not possible to effectively serve with ‘reservation’. This is where the open arms, heart and mind policy comes to play. Service- whether socially or spiritually based – I believe, should be positioned to address the needs of those who feel they can use what the provider has to offer. It should be devoid of biases, personal vendettas or anything that casts a shadow of insincerity.
It is unfortunate that what can be characterized as innate discriminatory practices, more often than not, come to play in this process and muddy things up. When the absence of open mindedness is not wreaking havoc with the obstacles and barriers that otherwise ‘well-meaning’ people place in the way of others, it is busy reinforcing the superiority complex in others who simply ‘know’ this can’t be for them even though it is this very practice of denial that has created a need for service. This, to say the least, is not for the faint of heart. It must be emphasized here that most people who serve, do so, looking for nothing in return as they bless others with what they have been blessed with.
How does one rise above this, and continue to serve with open arms, heart and mind – even in the midst of man-made psychological hurricanes?
I will now share some of the tools I have used to navigate this self-help personal development dilemma:
- Introspection – a serious look into the essence of my being. Why am no I here? Where do I see myself in the bigger picture of the fabric of mankind or humanity?
- Commitment: How badly do I feel the need to be of service to my fellow man, knowing that I have no control over who will or will not appreciate my efforts? How willing am I to learn new ways to handle my life so that the service I render is more complimentary rather than a distraction to me?
- Determination – How strong is my desire to stay the course- no matter what or who for that matter, becomes an obstacle in my way? What would it take to derail me, if anything?
- Empathy: How am I doing in the unwavering love, respect, and understanding for my fellow man/woman department? How capable am I of feeling agape love, respect and compassion to the extent that I can understand and appreciate the plight of others around me? Do I have a desire to relate to others who are ‘not like me’, or am I embarking on a solely self-serving journey? It is the “there but for the grace of God go I” reality of life that keeps one grounded and humbled enough to serve with open hands, mind and heart.
Now, for some service-related Madonarism by Madona Cole-Lacy
“When we choose service with an open heart and mind, over the sideshows of the growth process of life, we can go to bed at the end of the day with a measure of appreciation for the true meaning of self-actualization that will lead us to a strong desire to reproduce the same in the morrow.”
“The ability to empathize with others around us is the power cord upon which service with an open heart and mind is grounded. Handle this cord with care!”
It is my wish that this post, which was inspired by a WordPress One Word Prompt, will encourage others to develop their own list of self-help service-related tools.
Your Time for Creative Empowerment is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that educates and empowers children, adolescents and parents of both secular and faith-based communities in the Long Island area, through the use of arts, fashion and culture as mechanisms to:
* Improve interpersonal relationships* Avoid pitfalls that are unique to life in the 21st Century * Specifically identify and effectively develop healthy problem-solving* Enhance personal development and increase cultural sensitivity.