I was fortunate to be invited for an interview and photoshoot a few days ago. It was a fun, somewhat off-the-cuff opportunity that arose. What was most revealing was that it really made me reflect on who I am as an individual, and what makes me different from other people.
I mentioned something briefly about changing the world, which perked up the interviewer. "What do you mean by that?"
I always ask people to 'imagine life without limitations', or 'imagine feeling great every day'. And my wish is that I can impact more people, who can live better and happier. I shared with the interviewer that I want to help people, not just in my practice, but as many other people as possible - even if I've not met them. I shyly went on to explain a few ways I'm changing the world.
1. I recently donated five of my books, The Pain-Free Desk Warrior, Free yourself from aches and pains to a Silent Auction event that supported Fight For Education, a group of martial artists who sponsor children's education in Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal (and teach children martial arts with the purpose of teaching them discipline, respect and humility) and Purnama Outreach, which provides skills training such as bag weaving for women in Nepal. In donating these books, they raised $195. I know that one hundred percent of the $195 will go towards the women or children. I've seen and own the woven bag (which is fantastic!) and I can see the ability for woven bags to significantly impact these women's lives, enrich the community and increase the economy in Nepal. The more awareness of these bags leads to more bags bought. The more bags bought, the more money these women earn. The more orders for bags also leads to the ability to train more women, and make more bags, so more lives are impacted and more business and money flows though Nepal. And I feel so happy to be a part of that process.
2. I support my friend Adeline, who is involved in Operation Shanti, a movement that provides essential human services (food, shelter, educational and medical assistance) to kids in Mysore, India, because they believe that only after their basic needs are met, can the destitute begin to help themselves. Adeline has been running an annual Sun Salutations from the heart of which I've supported over the last 3 years. Unfortunately this year, I couldn't be there to do the hour long sun salutation marathon though I know my contributions will help these kids in wonderful ways. Adeline is in Mysore visiting Operation Shanti now.
3. I am now a lifetime member of B1G1: Buy1Give1 - Businesses for good, who are creating tremendous amounts of giving impacts across the globe. Having met Masami and Paul in person, seeing their beliefs, values and actions, I feel so empowered to be able to make significant contributions to ones life. The recipients of these consistent giving impacts will certainly make life better for them, and allow them to do more and be more than they ever imagined. I am in awe and so are my clients. The page has not loaded properly, though when it does, I'll update this blog so you can see my giving impacts across the world through B1G1.
4. I am helping AugustMan Magazine, Singapore in a project for the Singapore FOODBANK, to raise funds for a Fresh Food Truck. This truck would enable fresh food to be easily delivered to the underprivileged. In return, the underprivileged would receive better nutrition and food that would allow them to perform better at study and/or work, in turn, creating a better life for themselves. The fresh food truck would be able to go to 50 locations around Singapore, and reach out to 50,000 underprivileged. It will also serve to provide education and fun facts on healthy eating, food nutrition and healthy cooking tips. The FOODBANK Singapore is fighting hunger, and reducing food wastage in Singapore.
To help me help support the FoodBank and the underprivileged in Singapore, I've donated $5 of every book sold in Nov, Dec '15, to the food bank which is currently around $250. You can donate here.
5. I go to Cambodia to help provide chiropractic care for Cambodians. I head out to a small town, a couple hours away from Phnom Penh called Kampong Trabek where I work out of the provincial hospital. I go there once or twice a year and stay from 3-6 days. I see as many people as I can while I'm there and I am often requested to do house calls. People even show up at where I stay, first thing in the morning to see me before I go to the hospital.
As I was conveying this to the interviewer, I suddenly felt small. I felt that it wasn't enough. I questioned if raising $195 or going to Cambodia a few days a year is really, truly changing the world. Is what I'm doing a game-changer?
Yes, I worked with post-stroke patients while in Cambodia. They couldn't walk, and saw them walking, unaided after 3 days. I saw one man, who was so amazed that chiropractic helped his chronic back pain heal, that he drove over 2 hours, picking up everyone he knew with any inkling of pain on the way to the hospital the following 2 days I was there. He had picked up 13 other people. Another man was overjoyed that he could go back to work on his family farm as his back was so much better. Another older lady with neck pain and numbness down her arms had such relief and exclaimed she could finally sleep through the night for the first time. And there's one lady I see every year, that lives near the house I stay in. Each time I arrive, she greets me with a big smile and asks if I remember her. She was the lady that 3 years ago, showed up at my accommodation at 6:30am waiting for me to wake up and treat her chronic knee pain - after which, till today, is still pain free. But was that all really changing the world?
This plagued my mind for hours, until leafed through a book, The Me Myth by Andrew Griffiths, and chanced on Chapter 16: If you truly want to grow, give your greatest asset. Andrew believes we can all give something. The key is to work out what our most valuable asset and then give it away to make a difference.
This made a huge shift in my thoughts. My greatest asset is my love and ability to help heal. Another of my greatest assets is my book. My book is my best thoughts, beliefs and solutions to being pain-free and living a life feeling great every day. It is taken from my personal experiences, my family and friends experiences, my 9 years of private clinical practice, the 400 + health talks and workshops I've delivered, and all the people I've met along the way. Though it seems that donating five books is a small order, I not only made a difference of $195 for the women of Nepal, but also positively impacted the lives of at least 5 people who will read my book, and potentially their friends, family and colleagues that the book may be passed on to.
The other passage in Andrew's book was "No one has enough time - all the more reason to give up some of yours. The more we value something, such as our precious time, the more important it is to give it away.... [we] need to overcome this inward looking philosophy that keeps us small and close-minded. By looking outwards and helping others in need, we cannot help but grow as individuals." Which is exactly why I go to Cambodia. I am amazed by the people there. Their selflessness, and genuine love and care of each other. Their peaceful, willing nature. Observing and receiving all of their actions was inspiring and was constantly nourishing me to being a better person.
I'm a little shy to say this publicly, though I will: I now realise why I'm trying to change the world. I'm doing so because I want people to know that others care. That there is hope. And that our actions can really change the world. The bonus is that I feel so good about it. When I see their smile, my heart warms. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing my contributions giving birth to a genuine smile. When I know that children get education, I am so grateful that they can have opportunities I took for granted as a child. If families in Kenya or india get access to life-saving clean drinking water for a year, I feel "wow", we expect clean water to come out of our taps. For them, it's a blessing. When I receive a letter in the mail describing how I've contributed to changing their life, I can't comprehend the amount of joy beaming through me and my watery eyes. What I gave as part and parcel of my daily life had such a great impact.
I'm may be going to Cambodia to help Cambodians. I'm giving. And yet, I am also on the receiving end. So to all, who are contributing to the world, to others lives, in any meaningful way. Thank you for showing people that WE care and that there IS hope.
We can change the world. There's no small giving. Every gift is BIG!