Money, clothes, cars, houses… I need, I want, I have to… It is toxic. Everything goes in and nothing comes out from living a such self-centered lifestyle. Dude! The world does not revolve around your persona. No one cares about your looks or possessions. All the people care is themselves and how they feel around you. Thats the way things are and that’s how they will always be, with or without you. Stop chasing your tail and trying to impress others. How much do you need to fill that hole inside of you? How much do you need to say – enough? Me-me, more-more…

The more you take, the less you get. The hole grows and sucks everything in and leaves you unfulfilled, at the minimum. Continue down this path and you will end up with depression. “Cranky train” will take you places you don’t want to be in.

Turn the tables. Pull emergency stop handle. 

What if instead of taking, you begin giving? 

Run the experiment. No matter what you have or where you at in life – start giving. “I don’t have anything to give” – bullshit. At the minimum you can give a smile to a stranger. You don’t need to wait until you make a billion of bucks to start donating money to charity. The life is short and most likely you will never hit that threshold for money where you say – enough, I don’t need anymore. You will never be enough. 

Giving is receiving. However giving to receive is stealing.

Give unconditionally. Give without expecting anything in return. However if returned – don’t shy away from it. Learn to accept.

COPE Mental Health Program of Community Care Durham is a community-based program that supports mentally challenged adults. I volunteered my time to go through eight week training program and became certified to work as a group facilitator with emotionally and mentally challenged adults. Considering my passion for active lifestyle and interest in yoga, me and another volunteer developed the 8-week course which is aimed to help mentally challenged community members to become more mindful and healthier through the body movement and exercise. Every Saturday we meet for two hours, where we volunteer as yoga instructors. Each class is broken down into two parts: first hour is physical health through yoga practice; the second half is the mindfulness piece. I put together the slides and present the information about the nutrition and healthy living. We just finished our second week out of eight and I think we’re doing great! People are engaged, they show interest in doing different yoga poses that often seem to be challenging. During my presentations they often ask questions and make the discussion flowing. I feel that I am doing something really meaningful and valuable. I’ve been challenging my class with the balancing yoga pose – the tree. Only few people got it in the first class, but more than half of the class got it as soon as one week later. They were excited to see that quick improvement and I felt fulfilled, because I contributed into this. I felt fulfilled when the lady came up to me after my presentation and genuinely said: “Thank you Sasha”. 

You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”, Winston Churchill.

Past Saturday I decided to bring Mr. Blake with me into the class. I thought he would be a great addition to my yoga teaching and indeed he was! Everyone absolutely loved him and couldn’t help but smile seeing Me and him doing our yoga tricks.

In fact, this wellness program is doing so well that got so popular that community  center hit attendance threshold. 27 people step into our center every Saturday for a yoga class and wellness talks. It is really nice to see people coming back. I look forward to the next week’s session and excited to share with others my time and energy. I never felt comfortable talking on public and giving speeches, but now I am even looking forward to giving presentations on the subjects of health & wellness.

I wonder what will come out of it? There is only one way to find out…

Why volunteer?

  1. Stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than yourself. In return your stress levels will decrease. You will be more satisfied with yourself and your life.
  2. Dealing with a mix of personalities you step outside of your comfort zone. You improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills.
  3. Volunteering, gives you the chance to contribute to the community and world you want to live in. It gives you the opportunity to be apart of something bigger than yourself and use your own skills and knowledge to empower the people you serve.
  4. Volunteering shifts your lenses and changes how you see the world. This shift in perspective opens your mind to what is truly important, and helps to become more empathetic.

Every person volunteers for his own reasons. No matter what the reasons are for you, remember this: Giving is receiving. However giving to receive is stealing.