Improve Your World Today

This page suggests actions or attitudes, many of them basic and simple, which you could apply in your daily life, for the rest of this week. You might be pleasantly surprised by the consequences.

This Week…

Focus, each day of this week, on the theme “for the next 24 hours I’ll live in the present moment, with maximum awareness, attention, focus on the now. I’ll deliberately avoid stressing about tomorrow, next week, next month”.

Previous weeks:

  • Plant a vegetable patch. Start with the easy ones – spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot. Resolve to share half your crop with someone close by who is struggling financially, and cannot afford a healthy diet
  • Are there any old / abandon / derelict buildings in the industrial area nearest you which could be converted to a crèche, a skills-development workshop, a venue for music or ballet lessons?  Find one.  Dream about how you could convert it to whatever purpose or project appeals to you.  Now ask – how do you go about fulfilling that dream?
  • So far, none of the “Improve your World” suggestions have involved a reading recommendation.  I have to make an exception.  Get hold of “Life without Limits” by Nick Vujicic.  Read it slowly, carefully, thoughtfully.  By the time you get to page 238, you will know why the recommendation has been included in these columns.
  • Make this pet week.  If you don’t have a pet, get one – any pet.  Spend as much time as possible, this week, communing with whatever animal you have taken into your life – walking, playing, stroking, that sort of stuff (admittedly difficult if the pet you choose is a goldfish).  Think about all the benefits we humans get from our relationship with the other animals who live on our planet
  • If you live in virtually any city in Europe, Africa, North America, there will be rough neighbourhoods with youth gangs. Teenagers and 20-somethings involved in crime, drugs, living at the margin. Try to get to meet some of the members of these gangs. Talk to them. Draw from them the story how, when they were 10 or 11 years old, they became involved in the gangs. It will probably substantially alter the way you view crime, and education
  • Check out Craig Sieben at www.walk4wheels.org – he starts a goodwill trip up Africa, covering 16 000 kms on Sautrday 17th September. The journey is in support of the Chaeli Campaign and Red Sock Friday. His website shares how you can support his endeavours.
  • Something to think about, especially for those violently opposed to smoking, why amidst all the protest and publicity generated by the anti-smoking lobby, is there no attempt to ban advertising on liquor, isolate persons drinking liquor to only certain sections of restaurants, and otherwise ostracise them. Can anyone in the anti-smoking lobby seriously suggest that the societal harm caused by alcohol is less than that caused by tobacco? Why the double standards? Shouldn’t we start campaigning against both
  • This week, find out which schools in your city are poor, struggling, under-financed. Contact the principal and get him to send a shopping list of their most pressing needs. The articles might be inexpensive, or not. Soccer balls, laptops, stationary – you’d be surprised. Make a point of delivering a gift each month to that school for the next half year. Ask the principal to send you a photograph of the children utilising whatever you have donated – hang it up somewhere in the home.
  • A gift we can give daily to everyone we encounter, from tycoons to waitrons, is respect, understanding, appreciation. It works wonders.
  • This week why not get your children , or friend’s children, together and form a car-wash team. Offer to wash neighbour’s cars and arrange to take the proceeds to a charity with them… let them see themselves the fruits of their labour.
  • Sign up for Cheesekids.org.za … they organise community projects and fun ways to make a difference around Jo’Burg, Cape Town and Durban.
  • Volunteer for any one of the great projects on GreaterGoodSA this week or any week of the year.
  • Drop off books at a local school or support Breadline Africa‘s National Book Drive.
  • Volunteer for or donate to Help2Read.org and help primary school children learn to love books and gain confidence reading.
  • Sew a scarf with a message for an African girl or follow StoryScarves.org for more ideas to empower girls and youth world-wide.
  • Donate a pair of locally made leather school shoes to a Bobs for Good Foundation Shoe Drop near you.
  • Greet any stranger you encounter in the lift, lobby or office. Enquire after their health, wish them a pleasant day, make eye contact.
  • Learn to bake bread – it’s easy. Bake two loaves a day. Keep one for your family, give one to the guys at the traffic light.
  • Phone your friends and organise a house painting party for an elderly couple in your neighbourhood whose house looks neglected.
  • Collect all the old furniture, gadgets, bric-a-brac in your garage, basement, bedroom cupboards. Phone your favourite charity – asked for advice as to which community upliftment projects in your city could use the stuff. Arrange delivery.
  • Look for a school in your neighbourhood which does not have a library. Get everyone at work to bring ten books to work. Deliver the book collection to the school’s headmaster.

'It is better to
light a brief candle than to curse
the darkness'

Eleanor Roosevelt
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