Doing "a Mandela"

Doing "a Mandela"

"We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right"
Nelson Mandela

Following Nelson Mandela's death in Dec 2013 I was struck by the enormous influence his life had exerted across continents and I considered this; if every person in the world who had been touched by him, even in the smallest of ways, pledged to undertake on a regular basis an act of kindness that they otherwise would not have, what a huge outpouring of compassion and positive energy was possible.

So, in Jan 2014 I started my own list of "Mandelas"......little gifts of time and effort. It began with a visit to neighbours of a friend of mine. Their daughter was in hospital with mental health problems and they knew nothing about what to expect and how to be with her. Two hours of my time explaining and advising helped to reduce their fears and anxieties.

My list continues with not only practical things like washing an old lady's curtains and cleaning her windows but simple acts that I now do regularly with a mindful awareness that they make a small difference...

-  Picking up litter from beaches and woodland
-  Smiling and saying hello to strangers
-  Giving a pound coin to street beggars that I usually ignored
-  Letting people with less shopping go before me at the checkout
-  Taking bird food into the woods when the weather is harsh
-  Giving a small amount to a charity that I would previously not bothered with

These are tiny acts but I believe they all add up and in their own way, change my immediate world for the better.

Ruth Paley