Secret good deeds:
“When we are humble everyone is a potential best friend and our generosity naturally grows.”
“There is a wonderful Zen tradition called “inji-gyo” or secret good deeds. So, in a monastery, if one watched closely, you might see a monk secretly mending another’s robes or taking down someone’s laundry and folding it before the rain comes.”
“Sometimes the bathrooms are miraculously cleaned overnight. And flowers spontaneously appear in a neighbor’s yard, thanks to the children in the temple. Secret good deeds. They are so much fun. In their doing you can’t help but smile.“
[ Geri Larkin in “Tap Dancing in Zen]
Make a double-batch of something delicious and give it to an old neighbor who doesn’t cook for himself
Cut fresh flowers from your garden and bring them to your local nursing home.
Bring your well behaved dog for a visit at a local nursing home to raise someone’s spirits.
When out shoveling your walk or raking your leaves, it’s not too much more effort to do the same for a neighbour. Consider it good exercise as well as a good deed.
Hold the door for people behind you, especially if the person behind is carrying packages, bags or kids.
Volunteer at a local breakfast program. A warm smile and a friendly welcome go a long way.
Bring someone less fortunate a plant or some fresh flowers. This is something they might not want to spend money on.
Make soup for a friend who just recovers from surgery or an illness. Cooking is the last thing you feel like doing when you aren’t feeling 100 per cent.
Take your sibling’s kids out for the day. The parents could probably use a break and the kids will love it.
Put together a basket of treats for a friend who had a death in the family. Deliver it after the funeral has taken place, when most friends have gone back to their day-to-day lives.
Drive your grandparents, elderly parents and their friends to church, doctor’s appointments or the movies. They (and their aging bodies) will value the gesture.
Volunteer for a charity. Pick a cause that’s near and dear to your heart and donate your time to them.
Sit down with your family and estimate what you’d spend on each other for gifts. Instead of buying each other gifts for birthdays or holidays, donate the estimate amount to charity.
Take your neighbors trash to the curb while you’re taking yours. Imagine their surprise when they see that the chore is already done.
If you’re in line at the grocery store with a full cart, let the person behind you who only has 5-10 items go in front of you.
Offer to take care of a neighbour’s pet when they go away on a small vacation. They’ll be comfortable knowing their pet is in good hands.
Make dinner for friends with a newborn baby (or, if they’re far away, send a gift card for the grocery store or a favourite restaurant so they can pick something up).
Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. It will make someone’s day!
Help someone who looks lost with directions. Most people are intimidated and feel vulnerable when they’re lost, offering to help them find their destination will relieve them.
Donate blood. One single donation can help up to 4 people – that should be inspiring enough.
Donate your used clothes and housewares to charity. By doing so, you can help people meet basic human needs. Your old sweaters will keep someone warm during the winter and your old housewares can help someone furnish their new apartment.
Around Christmas time, find a holiday angel program in your community. You can donate basic things like toothpaste, towels, sheets and pyjamas for a family in need to open on Christmas morning.
Take a CPR class. You never know when you might be in a position to put those life-saving skills into practice.
Help an elderly person off the bus or cross the road by offering to take their arm or carry their packages.
By joining a bone marrow registry, you could be giving someone a lifesaving gift.
Offer to babysit a friend’s kids one night so she and her partner can enjoy a romantic evening out. You friend will certainly be grateful for the night off.
Bring your old magazines to a hospital waiting room to make patients’ waits a little less nerve racking.
Write a letter or e-mail to a good friend or family member to let them know how much you value them. Can you imagine opening a letter of that sort? Go on, start the trend.
Volunteer yourself to walk an elderly neighbour’s dog once a week. Getting out for a walk isn’t overly easy for many elderly folk, so they’d most likely appreciate this gesture.
Instead of dropping your head and pretending you don’t notice (like the rest of the rush-hour crowd) someone struggling to get a stroller down the stairs, take a second and offer to help.
Offer an elderly person, a pregnant woman, a physically disabled person – or just someone who looks tired – your seat on the bus.
Help keep your city clean. Pick up plastic bottles and other trash you see around your neighbourhood and deposit it in its appropriate place.
Visit a nursing home just to chat with some of the residents, as many of them don’t get regular visitors.
They say that smiling is contagious. Pick a day to smile at everyone you pass on the street.
Pass on your books after you’ve read them for someone else to enjoy. Take them to a local shelter or give them to friends.
Next time you read an article about an author you know your book-loving friend would enjoy, pass it on to them. It will make them feel good that you think about them.
If you’ve discovered a great little restaurant or store, spread the word. The business and whoever you tell will both benefit.
Being angry at someone requires a lot of energy from both people involved, so go ahead and let go of an old grudge. Forgiving someone who hurt you will open the door for a friendship to be rekindled.
A few days before the holidays or a family member’s birthday, head over to your parents’ or grandparents’ home to wrap their gifts for them. They’ll appreciate your help and the company.
On a random weekend, surprise your unsuspecting spouse with breakfast in bed. It will make their day.
When you come across a two for one deal, donate your free product to a local shelter or youth group.
Allow yourself a set amount of compliments to dole out a day. Your co-worker will love hearing that she looks great in her new skirt.
Getting out and about isn’t so easy for some. Volunteer to do your grandparents’ grocery shopping for them ever two weeks. Is it that much trouble to shop for someone else when you’re already making a trip to the grocery store for yourself?
Next time you’re at your favourite local pub or breakfast diner, leave your server a very generous tip.
Next time you do your grocery shopping, pick up a large bag of cat or dog food to donate to a local animal shelter.