“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace to another.”

-Tenzin Gyatso

When I think over my life, there have been so many wonderful people. One of the main reasons I hold them in such high regard is because they were willing to be so giving to me. Little me. Before they knew if all of their effort and exhaustion would be “worth it,” these people put their time, finances, energy, opportunities, wisdom, creativity, love into me.

My own personal example here is lame, and it’s absolutely nothing in comparison to everything my family, friends and teachers have done for me. But it was the first time I gave of myself (my physical self) to a stranger, and I was so far beyond nervous I couldn’t speak.

I’ve always given money to charities and projects I believe in. I’ve donated my time and energy to organizations I believe are doing fantastic things for our communities. I’ve purchased a goat for a family in Africa, I’ve donated to save abused animals, research for diseases, and to help little seals during oil spills.

But when it came time to physically give something of myself (beyond time and money), I panicked.

I used to have this really long, flowing hair. Bright red and fantastic, I loved it! Every inch of it.

I had always told myself, “After graduating from college, you’re going to cut it all off and donate it.” This was a goal, but… more personal. More like something that has always been on my bucket list.

I graduated from college, and my hair appointment was set. I cancelled and re-scheduled that appointment at least 5 times. [Note: I knew how silly this was, considering there are people out there who schedule appointments to donate kidneys and bone marrow.] Here I was, 22 years old, and so vainly concerned about myself, that I couldn’t follow through with the donation.

Finally, I told myself, “No more of this. You’re going to do it.” She asked me if I was ready. Snip-Snip. Done.

The long hair that had taken me years to grow out was now sitting in a plastic bag; twelve inches of it. I felt like the old Sheena was also in the plastic bag. I felt as if a new life (a new perception of who I am) was about to hit the streets. Was the world ready for a new Sheena? Shoot, was I ready for a new Sheena? I had no idea… I mailed my hair off to Florida, and attempted to reconcile with  my new short-hair life in Virginia. [Again, completely silly considering there are people who have shaved their heads for Cancer research.]

But what I learned throughout this completely lame example [in comparison] was that it takes a lot to give of oneself. You have to be ready, but you can’t allow yourself to make excuses or rationalizations for yourself. You have to know what you want, and then go for it! Giving my hair helped me to understand that people need us; for the little things and for the big things.

Giving is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. Yes, it does move your life from one stage to another. Yes, it does count.

Challenge: Pick someone or something to give to, and watch how it changes who you are and the life you live.

Donate your hair

Become a bone marrow donor

Donate your clothes

Donate your blood

Donate your old computer

Be active! Give, give, give!

“You give me but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran


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