Tag Archives: family

The Classic Pamela Positive: Philanthropy at the Dry Cleaners

shop-1596551_1280

Get inspired by an audio version of this blog!

I’ve shared before 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 dry cleaners. Checking off these items certainly gave me a nice sense of satisfaction!

During this day, I found myself particularly busy. I rushed into the dry cleaners. 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 dry cleaners before a meeting. I have gotten one more item off my list!” Accomplishment, I thought; and yet I didn’t feel it.

list-372766_640

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 being 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 dry cleaners, and pretty much anywhere we want.  Where does it exist for you?

*Mary Baker Eddy
Advertisements

The Classic Pamela Positive: When You’re at the Table, You’re Open and Your Defenses Are Down

friends-581753_640

“People want that gathering together. The table is magical. When you’re at the table, you’re open and your defenses are down.” – Lidia Bastianich, host of PBS “Lidia’s Italy”

Mealtimes seem to be a time of the past. We eat in our cars and desks or even holding a powerbar walking out the door… and yet Lidia points out how we can find deep caring and nourishment at the table.  It’s not just sharing food, but also sharing of our hearts and feelings.  It’s a time to be a sounding board and to have sounding boards…from people who truly care about you.  It’s a time to relax, and yet also profound as some of the most important issues in your life may come out in a casual way.

Don’t miss this time with your loved ones.  “The table is magical.”  Or I might add  “The people at the table are magical.”

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich (born on February 21, 1947, in Pula, Croatia–then a part of Italy), is an American chef, television host, author, and restaurateur.  Specializing in Italian and Italian-American cuisine, Lidia has been a regular contributor to public television cooking show lineups since 1998. In 2011, she launched her fourth TV series Lidia’s Italy in America. She also owns several Italian restaurants in the U.S. in partnership with her daughter Tanya Bastianich Manuali and her son, Joe Bastianich, including Felidia (founded with her ex-husband, Felice), Del Posto, Esca, and Becco in Manhattan; Lidia’s Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Lidia’s Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bio Source: Wikipedia

The Classic Pamela Positive: Celebrate True Wealth

Wealth is a state of mind and life. We tend to associate poverty with money. But poverty can be mental, emotional or spiritual poverty. I am often struck by this in my travel and volunteering in developing nations. Often, the divorce rates are low. Families not only stay together, but also spend time together. They gather food from the fields together, cook together and share meals together.

Contrast us: 15 minute family dinners if we are lucky. Fast-food and food distanced from its natural base. We eat alone; we eat in our cars. Divorces are easier to get, and in our mind it can be easier to allow those thoughts in as a possibility, rather than work through critical issues. So we lose the connection to family. We lose the connection to the local farm. We can lose the connection to long-term commitment.

We lose our greatest asset in natural wealth: relationships. Relationships with ourselves, our families, the earth. This wealth creates happy, balanced, productive, lower stress lifestyles, because we are connected in the way we are meant to be.

Further, we often pass by our heritage and where we come from. In many emerging nations, and especially in the continent of Africa, we see tribes value their connection to their heritage as primary importance even above their nationality. There is a deep-rooted connection to rituals and history which keeps people grounded in who they are, and the deeper, long-term meaning of being a part of a larger community in their lives.

Poverty is about money, at times. It has to be addressed as people should have the opportunity to live productive lives and make choices about what they would like to devote their lives to. Poverty is also about our well-being. Often when we get beyond “money poverty,” we forget “well-being poverty,” and get trapped in a go-go-go consumer culture.

I hope we can celebrate the healthy wealth that is accessible to us all in positive, committed relationships with ourselves, one another, our families, our earth, our communities and our heritage. How wonderful this is available to us all.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Love Many, Trust a Few, And Always Paddle Your Own Canoe”

heart

“Love Many, Trust a Few, And Always Paddle Your Own Canoe”
–Terri, from Coudersport, PA, as seen on Dark Chocolate Dove Wrapper

Terri has it right. What a joy to enjoy dark chocolate, which I love, with a truly inspired quote.

Life affords us so many ways to love, and how important we keep doing so. At the same time, we have to be careful, and so Trust, or entrusting ourselves to others, perhaps must be a bit more rare.  I wish it weren’t so… however, everyone is on their pathway of personal growth. So we must honor them, honor ourselves: We should always love, but not necessarily entrust to others.

As far as paddling one’s own canoe. As my Oma says, “You’d better put a little elbow grease into that.” She was always ensuring she had pulled her weight. In fact, when I went over to Oma’s for a sleepover as a young child, even at the age of 8 or 9, our fun together — was working together. We scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees, sharpened pencils, and wrote up a list for the freezer so she knew what was in there. She taught me to care about being clean, ordered and organized, which made her home special. She made it fun. I loved working with my Oma.

Terri, we thank you for a quote which has delighted us all!

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Ignorance of Certain Subjects Is a Great Part of Wisdom.”

“Ignorance of certain subjects is a great part of wisdom.” –Hugo de Groot

Ignorance is Good.

Ignorance of gossip. Ignorance of unnecessary negative thoughts. Ignorance of self-doubting thoughts, and ignorance of unhelpful suggestions which come to our thoughts. A lot of these thoughts are just not true…. and don’t find yourself accepting them as part of your normal experience.

We all go through a tough day. Yet we need to defend our thoughts, and therefore our life. Our life is based upon our thought. What you think will come through to fruition… It does not mean we ignore life lessons, a candid talk with ourselves; and at times, gently with others; it does not mean everything is perfect.

But in general, we pursue being, doing and recognizing good.

Hugo de Groot (1583-1645), also called Hugo Grotius, was a philosopher and a theologian, and worked as a jurist in the Dutch Republic.  He was extremely influential in the creation of international law.  He wrote a number of books, including On the Law of War and Peace, addressing subjects such as just wars and rules to govern conflict.  His overall purpose was to urge restraint in rushing to war, and to urge reasonable conduct once war was engaged.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Happiness: “Spending Time with People You Love and Who Love You”

“It is only a slight exaggeration to say that happiness is the experience of spending time with people you love and who love you.” –Daniel Kahneman, nobel laureate

Gifts and giving.  We associate so much of that with happiness.  Yet our one true Happiness is Loving Others. Oh, that sweet presence to just be around those we cherish and feel at home with!

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel laureate.  He is known for his work in the psychology of decision-making.  He was born in Tel Aviv, spent his childhood in France, and moved to Israel in the late 1940s.  He studied psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and began his career as a lecturer there.  Kahneman has published extensively in psychology, and received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2002 for his work on prospect theory.  He is currently on the faculty at Princeton.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Sit Down at the Table

family-eating-at-the-table-619142_640“…they’ve done studies on children who are required to sit down at the family table and those who are not.  And the ones who are score higher academically; they’re more well adjusted.”

– Paula Deen, Food Network Star

Sit down, be present, share. It’s not just about community, about family… but also about being the best we can be. Sitting down at the table with your loved ones for a mealtime shares love, and, helps you reach your goals!

Deen was born Paula Hiers in Albany, Georgia, the daughter of Corrie A. (née Paul) and Earl Wayne Hiers, Sr. Her parents died before she was 23, and an early marriage ended in divorce. In her 20s, Deen suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia. She then focused on cooking for her family as something she could do without leaving her house.

Her grandmother Irene Paul had taught her the hand-me-down art of Southern cooking; one of the only places she felt safe was at her own stove, making thousands of pots of chicken and dumplings.  She later moved to Savannah, Georgia, with her sons. In 1989, she divorced her husband, Jimmy Deen, to whom she had been married since 1965.  She tried hanging wallpaper, working as a bank teller, selling real estate and insurance. She then started a catering service,  making sandwiches and meals, which her sons Jamie and Bobby delivered.

Bio Source: Wikipedia