As many of you know, I love Auyverda Wellness Retreats and am a frequent visitor to India. As an avid runner, my routes would often take me off the beaten track – track tourists frequently inhabit. I discovered a fantastic running route one day in 2015. I remember that run as though it was yesterday. It was Christmas day. While most Christians worldwide were celebrating Christmas, there was no indication that it even existed as a religious festival in this village I was running through with many Christian families.
Instead, I would see 80-year-old women working on the coconuts making rope for the fisherman.
I would see houses with roofs made from banana leaves. I would see families living in one room, sleeping on the floor with no blankets, no toilets, no bathrooms; families would quite wash in the tap that was outside in the road. Women would wash the clothes in a bucket with soap; they never benefited from the luxury of a washing machine (notice the smiles on their faces)
This is what I was soon to discover what living with very little was like.
I promised myself that the next year I would pack my suitcase with presents for the children.
And I did – 50kg worth of gifts.
On Xmas day, I distributed them. Every child that I saw received a gift.
This has progressed into me establishing a football team called Panathura FC with a group. Of young boys in the village.
Watching these boys grow has is a privilege that will stay with me for my lifetime. It has given me some of my most precious and joyous memories, and I have established friendships for life.
Why am I writing this? It is not to shout about how good I am to make me sound good. It is just to emphasise that your life becomes less about you and more about others when you give back. It took me many years to realise this.
There was a time when I was a child protection social worker, and I had the arrogant belief that doing this role was my way of giving back (even though I was getting paid for the job that I was doing). During these years, I would not give back. I was very self-centric and, without realising it, very focused on myself and not very happy. It wasn’t until I realised that life wasn’t about what I could take but give, my world truly started to change.
It opened the curtains – in my life – my eyes and heart, and this is the biggest gift that I could honestly ask for!
A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Lisa Nichols, one of the best transformational coaches there is, speak. Her words mirror this message perfectly and is the perfect ending to this blog
`Shine your light brightly – because when you shine your light brightly, you illuminate someone else’s darkness for a moment, your light belongs to those who cross your path, and we need your light in that moment just to see a glimpse of our own possibility.
You can find out more about the Panathura FC Partnership opportunities that we have here