M I N D F U L M O N D A Y

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“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” 
― Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

From the young age of 10 years old, I was given the humbling and transformational opportunity to volunteer my time, travel to a different city and see life from the perspective of a demographic of people who had been through more than I could imagine. This experience would open up many more experiences similar for me to serve and volunteer both globally and locally. Though I was born and raised in Calgary, a city with so much opportunity, I connected with those who came from a socioeconomic status of those I was serving. I came from a broken home, a mother who raised 5 kids all on her own and with the conditioning that there was never enough, money, food, time etc. With each opportunity to serve those who had even less than myself, I was not only able to develop a deep compassion for the poor, but I also understood what it was to be grateful for everything I had. One of the most beautiful things I took away from so many that I served was that they often had the most joyous and grateful hearts with anything we were able to do to help. 

One of my fondest memories was from a volunteer trip I was on to Haiti. We were travelling down with a group and leading up to my departure for this trip, I got a very intense flu that would not let up no matter how much I fought the sickness back. The night before my flight, I was sitting on my bedroom floor, bawling, snotting, coughing and wondering what the hell I was going to do, if I should cancel, if I should throw in the white flag. I chose to go anyway.

Side story; I had also went against my team leaders instruction to get all the shots necessary for a country with malaria and many other diseases foreign to us in Canada. My naturopath send me with herbal supplements which were to help me heal while on my trip. I will later explain how this is one of my miraculous testimony's of how incredible plant medicine in and that this earth has everything that we require to heal ourselves.

After, one of the most excruciating 2 days of travelling (airplanes when you have a head cold turn even the strongest person into a blubbering child!) having met up with my team in Ontario, missing our flights due to missing passports in scanners an hour from the airport and travelling into a country that looked nothing like my home, I was exhausted. On our second day, after staying in a hostel in Port Au Prince, we had one more flight to catch in a mini 4 seat plane, over the mountains, landing in a grass field on the other side. I was elated, by the rawness of every sensation as the plane took off and landed, the thrill of death being a higher possibility and the birds eye view of this incredibly diverse island. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't I who had to reach for the barf bag in the seats in front of me, rather it was my teammate next to me. We were in the wild. Rural Haiti, no concrete roads, old Landrovers with no suspension and our guides speaking to us in broken English with the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen, they were beaming. 

It was upon arrival to this camp where we would be staying for the next week that I was humbled beyond the expression of words. The sun had already set, the cool light from the remaining day made silhouettes of the trees and buildings as we walked to dirt path with our bags to the 4 room house where we were to stay. As we walked pasted this building structure which was the kitchen and dinning hall, I saw this woman crouched over this massive bowl like pan which contained the skull of one of their livestock which they had butchered as an offering to us as their guests. Tears well up in me even now as I am writing this out, remembering how beautifully generous our hosts were in spite of the purpose of our trip to be serving them. Later that evening, one of the ladies had heard that I wasn't feeling well and they brought me fresh ginger root tea and honey they had harvested and brought me in a little baby food jar. I can't even express how loved, cared for and blessed I feel to this day to have been able to experience that kind of kindness.

I took away more than just a deep gratitude for the kindness I was shown, that moment was a seed which was planted in my heart that would burst forth into a fire of passion for philanthropy, for generosity and for social entrepreneurship. These people, who were living with far less than myself gave all that they had, shared with us everything in their hearts to care for us as they would have other care for them. I know that this causes me to strive to take a page out of their book, to remember that no matter what I do or do not have, there is always ways we can care for those around us. It isn't about WHAT we have, but that we are willing. To first look and see what our fellow neighbours need, to care for the needs of others beyond our own gain, without an expectation of return. Generosity does not always have to look like a million dollar check to a not-for-profit of whom has no accountability for it's donations. It can look like a warm smile or simply making a cup of tea for someone who isn't feeling well.

What are some ways you'd like to incorporate generosity into your daily life?

 

With gratitude and sticky Haitian ginger honey fingers, 

Vanessa Chislett

Founder & Owner