On the morning after Thanksgiving, I woke up to one email that erased all of the "Black Friday" messages that were bombarding my inbox. The profound words of truth and light from Ari Nessel, the founder of The Pollination Project embodied the authentic essence of our nation's day of Giving Thanks. Ari's message was written to his team of compassion activists in response to a project that his organization funded. It was a remarkable story about a boy with serious behavioral challenges who became a bright light and a leader in a community service project at his school. Ari shared with us that the gifts of service to the giver and the receiver are inextricably connected and that the impact when the elements are in perfect harmony is infinite.
It is one of life's most remarkable rules that we cannot sincerely try to help someone else without also uplifting ourselves.I guess that's why this holiday was named Thanksgiving instead of Thanksreceiving. I am always equally encouraged by the goodness the grantees are creating in their own hearts as I am with the goodness they are creating elsewhere in the world. I feel blessed to be part of this project with each of you. You mirror for me my own inherent goodness. This supports me in loving myself more. And when I rest in such a place, it becomes like a force -- field of kindness, consideration and compassion.
Working in mental health advocacy is not an easy task but each moment of grief is always balanced with equal amounts of hope and renewal of the belief in the kindness of the human spirit. On the difficult day that I wrote about the recent tragedy in Virginia with Senator Deeds and his family, I also witnessed what Ari talks about, radical love in action. I had the privilige to join our Flawless Foundation sponsors,The Burlington Tower who provided food and volunteers for the fifth year in a row to serve a thanksgiving dinner for 300 people at our pilot site. Children and their families who might not have another thanksgiving meal gathered in a festively decorated school cafeteria where warmth and community spirit fed all of our hearts and souls. One of our donors insisted on buying organic food for the feast as he poignantly stated that these children who are often forgotten and overlooked deserve only the best.
Hearts on fire with love and gratitude sustain us as we bring light to some very dark places. I have family in Virginia and my cousin called me after the release of the sad news about Senator Deeds' and the loss of his son to ask me what to do with her outrage and grief. My answer was simple, "Turn the grief into gold, give back, take action NOW."
As we launch into this week of coming together to celebrate with Giving Tuesday, our global campaign for activism and generosity, I invite you to experience the elixir that Ari talks about. Do good and make change by spreading compassion, resources and kindness. Ari calls us to give and love and "rest in such a place, that becomes like a force -- field of kindness, consideration and compassion." Its time for All Hearts on Deck, let's say "yes" and pollinate peace and healing for all.
Join us for the global celebration for #GivingTuesday