Mindfulness and Charity

If I've learned anything from my experiences in the past year it's that there is a lot of good in the world (and a lot of bad) and when things are going badly for everyone, it's those kind acts that are so important and truly make the difference. As a teacher I constantly try to put across to my students the quote "In a World where you can be anything, be kind" as I truly believe making life better for other people leads to true happiness. As a Biologist this makes sense - symbiosis is helpful behaviour seen throughout the animal kingdom. Whether these acts are truly selfless or actually elevations of survival chance I'll leave with you to decide...

420. Raise a large amount of money (>£500) in one go for charity.

421. Raise a large cumulative total for charity in my lifetime (>£2000)

422. Host a charity event.

423. Volunteer for charity (Do 100 hours of volunteer work). – 30 so far at the RSPCA

424. Volunteer for the National Trust.

425. Volunteer in a conservation program.

426. Donate toys as part of the shoebox Christmas appeal.

This is something I did as a school child and again during my teacher training year back in 2016 although I really can't find the photos from it annoyingly! It's a scheme I've wanted to encourage my current school to get involved in anyway so maybe I'll do it again next year.

427. Sponsor a Child’s wish through the “make a wish” foundation.

428. Send a care package for charity.

429. Give blood.

This is something I did in my second year at University back in 2010. We donated in a proper centre set up in Nottingham, where I studied. It was over really quickly - I was so nervous my heart pumped it out really fast! I think I was only on the bed around 15 minutes. It was a really proud moment for me although I've not done it since. I should probably donate more often, it's certainly something I've meant to do for a while.

430. Become a registered organ donor.

I've been an organ donor for over a decade now and keep hold of my card as I teach students about it as part of our "Tissues and Transplants" topic in their first year at school (year 7). Although it's hard to think about being gone, as my final act I'd like to do something good for people. I would fully recommend registering if it's something you want to do too: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/

431. Buy someone’s groceries for them/donate to a food bank.

432. Help someone who truly needs it in some way/make a difference to someone’s life.

I realised this is such a hard one to quantify however I was reflecting on whether I feel I've achieved this and realised there's been a number of occasions where I truly believe I helped someone in need. As a teacher we make such a difference to young people's lives, but I think that's a bit of a cop out as although it's a pleasure and a reward, it is my job at the end of the day. However, I provided a home to a friend who needed one for a year, she gave us what money she could but we didn't really charge her "rent". During lockdown we fetched medicines for a family friend who was shielding with her husband and we've done food shopping for family who have been shielding too. Again, they're family, and friends, it's what you do to protect them and keep them safe, so maybe I'll keep soul searching on this one.

433. Give someone a heartfelt surprise.

This particular garden party was a surprise party for Mum and Dad to celebrate their pearl wedding anniversary (30 years together). We spent all day cleaning and tidying, fetching food and setting up the conservatory and gazebos. We called their friends and came up with an elaborate ruse pretending we were going to take them for a fancy dinner. They seemed happy with a surprise garden party instead though. It was a really memorable and lovely evening with a good time had by all.

434. Send flowers to someone for no reason.

435. Perform 40 random acts of kindness throughout my lifetime.

436. Read to a child.

I've done this a number of times but getting some kind of evidence of it is hard. I used to read to my little brother before he went to bed and the girl I used to babysit liked me reading to her before bed. I used to read to my tutor group once a week too before our tutor programme became so packed I no longer can.

437. Give up my seat for someone.

438. Help someone who is lost.

Again, not one I can really evidence but I've helped a few lost people in our village and as a waitress at a pub right out on a back country lane I used to get asked directions from holiday-makers quite frequently. There's definitely a good feeling that comes from helping someone find their way.

439. Learn the alphabet in BSL.

440. Help someone achieve something on his or her bucket list.

441. Send an anonymous gift to someone.

442. Write a thank you letter to a company that treated me well.

443. Send myself flowers.

444. Spend an entire day by myself.

In my second year of university my flatmates all graduated leaving the flat unoccupied aside from me for a week. It was lonely and strange but I'm glad I've tried living by myself. I exercised and watched movies, I cooked for myself and read. I was very relieved to go and visit my friend Emma a few days later though as I was feeling quite isolated.

445. Turn off my mobile/internet for a week.

446. Do 24 hours of silence.

This actually links with 444 as I didn't have anyone to talk to verbally during this time - although I did chat to friends online. Largely I don't really talk to myself so I did spend 24 hours alone with my thoughts in silence (if you exclude sounds of the films I watched and the music I listened to).

447. Make a short film about my life and my achievements to enjoy when I am old and unable to go on any more adventures.

448. Complete a lifetime of scrapbooks.

449. Create a memory jar one year.

450. Have a DIY Spa day

451. Own a hammock.

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