I’m trying to come up with a more consistent blog schedule, and I think I’ll be attempting a weekly “giving back” post. Regardless of your religious (or non-religious) views, finding ways to enrich the lives of other people and your community in general is important. Whether or not you believe there is life after death, or eternal judgment, or reincarnation, or limbo, or a balancing of the scales – we can and will effect the lives of those around us, sometimes even long after we are dead. It might be easy to dismiss that idea, as most of us won’t be famous or have world-wide influence, but most of us also have family and friends whose lives we impact in some way, however small. Making a conscious effort to be a positive influence may have a bigger outcome than we would think.
Being a positive influence will, I think, mean different things for different people. Some like to be on the front lines, maybe with the Red Cross when natural disasters strike. Others like to stay behind the scenes, maybe donating to the local food pantry or animal shelter. Yes, I think animals are important enough to equate doing good to them with good for humanity (and that’s an entire post by itself). There are infinity possibilities for giving back. Maybe you help ESL learners, or maybe you are particularly conscious of how your behavior impacts nature – and yes, I’m also going to equate caring for the earth and plants with good for humanity.
I really like the Celtic tree of life symbol. It’s a simple way to illustrate one of the reasons I believe we should all try to give back to the people and world around us. The tree of life is a familiar symbol in several religions, but the ancient Celts believed that the branches, trunk and roots symbolized the connections between the otherworld and the present day – that life is always interconnected and never ends. Regardless of how you believe life began or what happens after death, we all share the common experience of living on this planet at this time, we are all influenced (like it or not) by the people who lived before us, and we will somehow effect the lives of our children and grandchildren. Interpret that as you wish, I think it has some application for nearly everyone.
Picture of this beautiful necklace on Etsy.