The Pamela Positive: Philanthropy at the Drycleaners

Earlier this week I shared about philanthropy as “the love of people,” as a daily practice.

One day I had a pivotal experience that helped me be a better ‘daily philanthropist.’  Each day, I make a ‘to do’ list. The list might range from contacting a corporate client, to running an errand at the drycleaners. Checking off tese items certainly gave me a nice sense of satisfaction!

During this day, I found myself particularly busy. I rushed into the drycleaners. I swooped in to pick up my clothes and left a bundle of clothes on the counter.  “There!” I told myself triumphantly.  “I fit in the drycleaners before a meeting. I have gotten one more item off my list!”  Accomplishment, I thought; and yet I didn’t feel it.

What I realized is that the dry cleaners wasn’t an errand.

No, it was not a ‘to-do.’

It was an opportunity to love.

Life is not about lists.  We aren’t programmed to just get things done. Instead, each activity, each to-do, each task, is actually an experience of loving.  This is especially true because each experience usually means interacting with someone else. And when we do this in a calm, present, joyful way, that’s living.   And it’s also the true spirit of philanthropy. Loving and be present with others, with mankind.

As one great thinker wrote, a person “…is a marvel, a miracle in the universe….With selfless love, he inscribes on the heart of humanity and transcribes on the page of reality the living, palpable presence – the might and majesty! – of all goodness. He lives for all mankind.”*

Rushing in and out of the dry cleaners, I had missed a valuable opportunity. What I needed to do was connect with my dry cleaners, know them by name, greet them warmly, and sincerely ask how they are doing. Now I know how Hao is doing, and we have a great relationship of warmth and kindness.  I look forward to our visits.

Writing a check is only one type of philanthropy. I’ve found that it exists at the drycleaners, and pretty much anywhere we want.  Where does it exist for you?

 

*Mary Baker Eddy

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2 thoughts on “The Pamela Positive: Philanthropy at the Drycleaners

    1. Pamela Hawley Post author

      Dear Jodie,

      Thank you so much for your message, and glad you appreciated the quote! It’s from Mary Baker Eddy, who was a leader in the 19th century. She focused on spirituality, a pure form of Christianity, and sincere love of all mankind.

      If you also want to see more of my favorite quotes, you can visit our Favorite Quotes page. I’d love to hear some of yours!

      Warmly, Pamela

      Reply

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