I would’ve really liked to claim that this has been a meticulous scheme on my part, carefully planned and plotted during the closing months of 2013, nonetheless this challenge which I’ve embarked upon, was inspired by something I did on the very first day of 2014. On 01/01/2014, I was in the laboratory ward of a Jeddah hospital, donating blood, because a friend had asked for help. So instead of starting the year on the right foot, I started it with my left arm!
I’m sitting there thinking, “I need to do more of this”. But like the hundreds of thoughts that permeate our consciousness every day, the idea, like the whale which comes up to the surface to breathe, sank back into the abyss of my subconscious.
Later on that evening, I was flicking through my social media channels and reading friends’ posts about how much they loved/hated the preceding year, what they were thankful for, and what they were looking forward to. Now all is well to be thankful for what you have received, but what if we are thankful for what we have given. Now indulge me a bit while I explain the latter part. Each and every one of us has the capacity to give, and it is in this simple notion that we must be thankful, that we have been granted the ability to give, from our money, our time, our ideas, our love, our any and everything.
When you are within that mindset, you can never be without it. Things start coming to you out of nowhere, and you are high (more on that later) on doing those innocuous things. Seemingly insignificant details become full blown stories, and your day, once gray and dull, is infused with magic.
Some might view this initiative as a form of self-aggrandizement, while some might prefer that people not flaunt their good deeds. However this line of thought would miss the whole point. We humans are a forgetful bunch, and sometimes we need a small reminder, that what we might perceive in our minds as routine acts, actually deliver a huge impact on the receiver, which entices us to do more of it. Consider the simple act of smiling in the face of someone, and how it induces, most of the time, a reciprocal action from the person we smiled at. Go ahead and try it, the results are phenomenal! Some of you might know the story of the second Muslim khalifa, Omar ibn Khattab, and how he used to go around at night (on top of his duties as the leader of the Muslims) of putting food outside the doors of those less fortunate. During his lifetime, nobody knew the identity of this person, and it was only after he was assassinated and the food stopped appearing that they realized it was him.
I mentioned the high I get, some people associate doing good with disregarding one’s self. But what is the point of giving others if you are not giving yourself? Nourishing your body and soul, and doing things that make you happy. Now one might argue that there are many things other than giving that’ll make a person feel happy, I’d like to challenge that by asking this: has doing good for others ever made someone feel bad?
Describing the initiative
In case you were too busy to read the above, and you’re only curious about the initiative itself, reading this will suffice. For those who’ve read this far, thank you!
I will post a photo everyday on my social media channels: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, using the hashtag #My365DaysOfGiving describing the previous day’s act. For example, on January 2 I’ll post what I did on January 1, and so on.
The photo will relate to the day’s action, sometimes depicting the action itself (if permitted by the receiving party), sometimes in relation to it, and at others an abstract representation; together with a description, sometimes lengthy, sometimes a one-liner, but always, I hope, informative.
Some of the daily actions will be spontaneous, some will be pre-planned, and some will follow the global event on that particular day (Earth Hour being an example).
The actions will vary in magnitude, outreach, and complexity, they’ll alternate between being monetary and non-monetary, charitable and sustainable. Sometimes there will be recurring actions but I will try to limit those. Some of the actions will maybe take days, or even months, to complete, so I will only post the kick-off of that action on the day it happens.
Posting the act on one day does not mean I will stop doing it the next, on the contrary, the more things I discover and participate in along the way will only increase my appetite (hopefully!) to do more.
So I’ve read your post and feel (kinda) inspired, how can I participate?
Simple, for starters, kick off your own 365, 30 or even 7 day challenge, and share it within your circles, both public and/or private. If that proves too much of a challenge (yes you might detect the slightest twinge of playful sarcasm between the lines), by simply sharing this blogpost, you might be the reason in inspiring someone to take action, and you will share, however indirectly, in the goodwill arising from that deed.
I’d like to thank you for reading, and hopefully sharing, this post. My goal is to inspire myself and everyone who’ll be getting this message. My goal is to make 2014 (and beyond) the year you and I incorporate this into our daily routine, embarking on a journey of purpose, and living instead of merely existing. Last but not least, thank you for giving this post a part of your time today, while I hope that I’ve given you something to ponder. Let’s give, while our time on Earth still permits.
I leave you with part of a verse from the holy Quran’s Surat Al-Mai’dah, which a friend sent me back in December 2013, I hope we all put it to good use in this year and beyond:
“…If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ.” (Quran: 5: 48)