We all believe in being kind and compassionate in our dealings with ourselves and others.
The Dalai Lama lives by the simple yet profound tenet to
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
This resonates deeply with us all at Ripple Effect Gifts. Kindness is very dear to the hearts and minds of our whole team and is one that we aspire to achieve each and every day. We start each day reflecting on our own ethos……
“The idea that the giving of a gift can create a ripple of love, kindness and generosity.”
In conversation with a staff member recently, we were talking about people who make a positive impact on the lives of others. And of course Ellen Degeneres was a name that came to mind immediately. One of our favourite quotes of Ellen’s is:
“I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that. I really want my time here to be positive and productive.”
And we share her sentiments.
But that life is not always full of joy and laughter. Life can be tough and when we are in a place of fear, it can also seem like nothing will ever change. But everything is temporary. Every day brings new challenges, new ideas and new opportunities for growth. The average lifespan is around 80 years, so what seems to be a bleak period is in fact a brief snapshot in time.
In the recent hot weather we have been having, how good did a cold glass of water taste? Or perhaps a beer or cider? One of the reasons it felt and tasted so good was the contrast between the heat and the cold. It is the same with everything. Contrast allows us to feel grateful for what we have. The yin and yang of life. If everyday was sunny, we would soon become complacent and stop appreciating the warmth of the sunshine.
Genetically programmed to be unhappy? Seriously?
But there is a great deal of research which suggests as human beings we are hard wired to be unhappy and not to be complacent. Talk about yin and yang! The reasons for this state of mind are two-fold. Firstly, from an evolutionary viewpoint, we needed to be aware of danger. It would be little use sitting round the fire singing songs and enjoying life, blissfully unaware of the sabre toothed tiger slinking up behind us.
Secondly, the state of unhappiness tends to provide us with the motivation to make improvements to our lives. It is this motivation that causes us to climb mountains, explore jungles and shoot for the stars.
We love the idea of climbing Everest, making our way through the Amazon rainforest and blasting off into outer space. But on a probability scale of 1 – 10, it’s at least an 11. So what prevents us from sinking into the gloom of being a failed explorer?
The Serenity Prayer provides us with sound guidance:
“…..grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Ahhh, that makes sense! We can’t change the fact that Everest will be forever out of our reach. But we can change our attitude to exploring and spend time walking through the glorious You Yangs national park. We can focus on what we do have and what we can achieve, not what we don’t have.
By focusing on gratitude and optimism, we can change our hearts and minds. And we can change the world by the power of example. Very few of us have the influence of the Dalai Lama or Ellen, but by walking our talk, we can inspire others to do the same. All it takes is that pebble in the pond, the ripple effect.
Let’s leave the last word to the excellent Ellen Degeneres:
“The most important thing for me is to know that I represent kindness. I’m glad I’m funny. I’m glad I make people happy, because that’s very important. But I’m proud to be known as a kind person. And I’m hopefully helping one other person go, ‘I’m going to be kind.’ Because then it all just kind of spreads, and the world is a little nicer out there.”