HELPING OTHERS… even when you feel you have no more to give. You do!


Living on Tybee Island, Georgia for the past eight years has taught me much. Each and every day I learn more and more about: life, people, and more importantly myself. Having gone through the humbling effects of Hurricane Irma the past few weeks has shown me firsthand about the importance of God, Nature, and Man. Without all three working in harmony… we would be nowhere. This natural “cleansing”, if you will, by the first two powers shows that Man alone isn’t “… all that, ”(as my students used to say).

Lately, it appears that with what’s going on in the world a little natural destruction was in order. Who hasn’t been annoyed, and I’ll also say embarrassed, by the Political Arena? In the states affected most by Hurricane Irma: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina,- we have had a diversion of sorts. But this piece is not so much of Politics, Business, Loss and/or Profit associated with this latest natural disaster… but rather of people and how we can be better at what we do and how we do it. Now, we are dealing with mass destruction in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

My state of Georgia hasn’t taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in more than a century (1898) and only four minor storms made landfall here during the 1900s. Georgia’s three worst hurricanes all occurred during the month of August and all came ashore in the Savannah vicinity in: 1881, 1893 and 1898.  So, choosing Tybee Island a laidback, eclectic, and accepting place to live and write was a no-brainer.

I could go to the Atlantic Ocean to walk, write, and pray anytime. Imagine my surprise when after one hundred years plus… we encountered Hurricane Matthew and then Hurricane Irma within eleven short months.   What was God’s message for me and for others.  I was not mentally prepared for what I saw when returning to the island. Many people lost homes, cars, and all their worldly possessions. Huge two and three hundred year old trees with 3 and 4 feet circumferences lay across roofs and streets. Water stood, and still stands, everywhere; the mosquitoes start biting in the early morning hours. I had seen this happening on the television to others, but now this was mine to embrace.

The idea that helping others is part of a meaningful life has been around for thousands of years. Aristotle wrote that finding happiness and fulfillment is achieved “by loving rather than in being loved.” Yet today, many of us seem to be struggling to find meaning by gathering up achievements and often spending so much time at work, the gym, or even alone, that we’re cut off from other people. Have we been headed down the wrong path? (Hmmm. “Path” the word used to describe the direction of a hurricane.) New research is providing more and more evidence that kind and helpful behavior causes us to feel that our lives are more meaningful and discovering what we can do to reap those benefits.

Psychologists have distinguished between two types of mental/physical well being: hedonic well being (a sense of happiness in life) and eudemonic well being (a sense of meaning and purpose in life). Although “happiness” and “meaning” in Life overlap significantly, researchers suspected that helping others is especially crucial to developing a sense of meaning. University researchers have found that having strong social connections, and not necessarily with friends, was important for both our happiness and meaningfulness in living. This has been so evident in the aftermath of the hurricane as workers from many states have come to help and aid those in need. When I thanked an American Red Cross worker for their help yesterday, they replied, “It is my pleasure.”

Does helping others promote a sense of “meaning?”

But, does behaving in a kind and helpful way actually cause us to feel that our lives have more meaning? While it may seem intuitive that helping others goes along with a meaningful life, it’s possible to imagine a variety of different explanations for this. Perhaps, those who feel like their lives have meaning are more motivated to help others or perhaps, some other factor (for example, being religious) causes people to be helpful and experience more meaning in their life.


  • Random Acts of Kindness (RAK s): Feel happier by doing things for others. (They don’t even have to know it was you; it’s more fun that way!)
  • Saying “Hello” and asking, “How are you doing?” or similar. How often do people pass each other in silence or not even a glance?)
  • Loving-Kindness thoughts/ prayers: Strengthens feelings of kindness and connection toward others.
  • Reminders of Connectedness: A subtle way to induce kindness, particularly in kids. (It’s never too early to start kids on “doing” things for others. As they get older they will rarely be the ones with their hands out to get something they haven’t earned.”
  • Encouraging Kindness in Children: Praise kids in ways that make them more kind to others. This is the best of “paying it forward.”
  • Start small. You don’t need to begin with grand gestures; even small ones make a difference, but do something for others everyday!
  • Make your helping count. It turns out that not all types of giving have the same effects on us. In particular, helping others can be especially effective when you can see the specific impact that your actions have. Even someone smiling back at us, who normally doesn’t, means we are having an impact!

Take time to thank others. Expressing gratitude towards others can be a giving act too. When others take time to do something nice for you, making them feel appreciated can help build your relationship with them and make your life more meaningful.

Make our “to do” List shorter. There is always someone/ someplace that needs immediate attention over our own personal needs. Prioritize!

Amazingly, I personally have beaten all the odds.   I am so blessed with minimal loss, but in doing so gained an entirely new perspective on the power of Humans and kindness in giving of ourselves as we join forces and struggle to clean up, help, and encourage those less fortunate.


When I think about where I have been in life and where I still have to go, I get nervous. Have I done enough? It is not exactly clear to me when I realized that my life here on Earth had an actual purpose, but it became clear to me that it does. The path that I have been following for many years, even if I didn’t recognize it, is to make the world a softer, kinder, and gentler place. A person of substance is what I try to be.  I repeat… try.

It is apparent to others how much I “love” people. I really do. It is one of my many Blessings that I have been given during my life and one beyond compare. How is it possible that one whom had minimal affection/love as a child grows up to be caring and compassionate? Perhaps, it was acquired over time, but what I know clearly is that people react to kindness and caring. Is it possible that this fact is so often overlooked?

Then one day, I got it! Most important to others is that we be a man or woman of substance. What exactly is that? Paraphrasing the definition:

“A person of substance is someone who strives to live a life that means something and who chooses to participate rather than be a spectator in life in order to be part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

But what would make us actively participate and try to seek new roads? Initially, we need to find a cause outside of our own being. For some, that’s uncomfortable. While it is natural and accepted that we humans are self-absorbed and often self-centered… a cause that benefits just one person and would hardly make a dent on the significance scale. That’s according to some people; I disagree. No cause is too small. Doing something for the greater good means to pursue causes that:

  • Make the world a better place
  • Increase the quality of life for others
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good
  • Initiate something good


Active participation requires courage and people of substance must have it! While the frail soul is safe from failure, they will never taste victory either. So, people of substance take risks. They try and they fail, but they never grow weary of trying. U.S President Teddy Roosevelt said:

     “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

People of substance take responsibility for their actions successful or not. They wholeheartedly put themselves at the center of the action and fully accept whatever the consequences that the action may bring.


People of substance know that there is no middle/neutral position on anything. They identify with the belief that, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” Similar to wants outnumbering means, problems outnumber solutions and real problem solvers in life are few and far between.

Good problem solving between competing interests typically requires a person of integrity with complete objectivity and solid values. The solution seeking person of substance will have had significant experience in both the good and the bad.

They will have “met with triumph and disaster and have treated those just the same” as the IF poem, by Rudyard Kipling, so accurately says. No doubt they will have lived an experience rich, full, and varied life. Choosing to experience life outside of our comfort zone in order to gain life experiences that can be used in solving problems would appear to be another action that would lead to becoming a person of substance. Sometimes, it is hard.


It appears to me that becoming anything involves a series of decisions followed by necessary actions. Becoming a person of substance is no different. It starts for all of us the same:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)

We each make hundreds of decisions each day. We choose between frivolous and important, between what’s best for us and what’s right, between short and long term betterment, between politeness and wholeheartedness, between apathy and commitment, between self-centered and the greater good, between avoiding and accepting responsibility, between risk avoidance and risk management, between a life of leisure and a life of challenge, between timidity and courage, and between deceit and integrity.

I believe the person of substance chooses the less travelled… second option at each and every divergence.   It is indeed the harder road, but one well worth it.


The whole reason for any experience in our lives, is to call forth a remembrance of who we really are as an object of infinite potential. We are created as… All That Is and All That Is Not.

If we stop trying to control, move past, go beyond, cast out, go above, or run from the possibilities of “negative’ experiences” … then there is no reason for them to control us anymore.  It’s usually the negative experiences that we dwell on the most.

In other words, the instant we realize and accept that everything in our life is equal, then we recognize that we cannot go beyond or move past negative situations. They are part of our life!        I have to work really hard at this. The negative situations are equal to us, since we are infinitely everything.  However, if we let it, that’s an empowering thought.

Hence, we need to become accepting to just let go, (OR, “Let Go; Let God),  as many believe and allow the idea that the possibility of a “negative’ situation” has the potential to happen at anytime! You can become perfectly content with that idea, since you soon realize that every “negative”  situation is created, even sometimes by ourselves, and allows us to grow! Now, that idea I really like.

Magicians often use mirrors to perform their illusions because mirrors reflect a clear image of life making the illusion seem very real; you are unaware of the mirror that the magician is using. When you are the “magician” in real life situations… then there are no illusions…  you see the mirror and you use the mirror as a tool. I like to think it’s the mirror to our soul.

Think of reality as a mirror, then we must change ourselves in order to see the change in the mirror.  For example, if you desire for your hair to change color or style… then you must dye, comb or brush the hair on your head in order to see the change in the mirror. More times than not, people will try to change what they see by changing the mirrored reflection. A famous quote says, “Be the change you want to see in the world” this is exactly what that quote means. When you take responsibility for all of your reality, then you give yourself the power to change anything within your reality. Cool, huh?

We can adopt this perspective into reality, by first looking around at everything we see and hear in our reality right now. Next, close your eyes. When you close your eyes in the moment, you are telling your mind to refresh your viewpoint. Now, open your eyes and look around you again, except this time see everything as if we are looking into a mirror. Everything you are now seeing or hearing is a reflection of the mirror within you.

Everything starts from within and is reflected outwardly. If we don’t like what we see… in any aspect of our life… the reality and negative situation is ours to alter. I’m a believer!


The Bottom of the Third… of My Life!

As one of the qualifying Baby Boomers…I am about to enter what I am calling the BOTT (or, the bottom of the third)  of my life.  I know, good sports’ analogy, right?  I am excited! I know the bases are loaded and I’m psyched. In my head, I am still young, funny, athletic, and bright.  Then I look in the mirror and realize painfully that one fourth of those is gone.  Yup, you know it’s the first one.  Well, three quarters of a whole isn’t all that bad.   I can still remember staying up all night, rock concerts, and mini skirts being the mainstay of my life… as if it was yesterday.  Many of you can share in this.  If you can’t, then you certainly have your own several things that will be carried with you as the fondest of memories for the rest of your life.  When you’re young, you’re cool.  When you’re older, you rule. I made up that phrase just now, but it’s a good one, I think.

For many years, I raised my own children (and many others as well) within my classroom walls.  It was a prideful thing when I knew that it was a job well done.  Now, my adventure(s) will be just for myself and those whom I love.  It is not nearly so important that “everyone” like me in the bottom of the third as it used to be.  It is more important that I continue to work on being pleased with myself and my efforts as a human being. In this third, I still have much to learn.  Each day, I am aware just how Blessed I have been.  True, there are as many lows as there are highs, but I get to actually feel every one.  Hopefully, I have grown from each test and challenge.  Some of my own life negatives and positives, I write about.  It is done so in the hopes that many will realize they are not alone.

I write about things that I believe we as human beings have in common with each other.  It has become so apparent over the years that at the end of our times here on Earth, each of us will have experienced as many days of happiness as days of sorrow. It is dealt to each of us differently and in different periods of our existence, but it’s equality at its best.   In spite of outward perceptions, no one has it all!  When I was younger, I didn’t “get that” but I sure do now in the BOT.  Recently, it was made known to me that what I write is “huge” in other countries.  I didn’t understand why!  But, upon closer examination, I realized that I could say/ write things in America, that perhaps, were not able to be said (revealed) in other areas of the world.  Again, is this part of the plan of my life?  I believe so.

There are so many wonderful people that I encounter in all aspects of my life.  Each one has a different story, yet each has an unseemly parallel to each other.  My heart is filled with such good feeling towards my fellow man and grows with each passing day.  It’s easier to love they neighbor, than to hate them.  People are wonderful and each day I learn something new that enriches me.  My guess is that all these realizations I am experiencing are part of God’s greater plan during our visit here on Earth.

As I enter the BOTT, I do so with strong conviction and solid goals.  I may not look exactly the same, my body may have a few aches and pains, but life is better than it’s ever been.