"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it."--Mahatma Gandhi

Coming off of the incredible historical high of January, the energy of a hope and vision are building in everything we do. I can see people reaching out to one another to help and create connections in ways that I am pleasantly surprised by every day. If you have been following the Rewrite Your Tomorrow blog, one of my recent posts is called “Sharing a Random Hug” (http://rewriteyourtomorrow.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/sharing-a-random-hug/). This is one of those WakeUp moments that we wait for so often and never take the time to appreciate when they happen.

As Valentine’s Day is thrust upon us by the marketing machine, with messages of spending to show your love for your significant other, these questions come to mind:

• What are you doing to show love for yourself?
• What will you do to give love to your community?
• What can you do to bring love to total strangers?

In short, what I’m asking you is what are you doing for yourself and others that will Rewrite Your Tomorrow? In spotlighting Mahatma Gandhi in this month traditionally reserved for love, the realization is that when you define your life goals and begin to live towards them authentically, accepting and expressing who you really are, you share your light and love with the world.

It is common to open yourself up and share the sentiments of Valentine’s Day with those in your inner circle of friends and family. But, often, these are not the only people that need the generous gift of your love. Much like the elderly woman in “Sharing a Random Hug,” you can easily change one person’s whole day with a warm hug, a smile, or simply a kind word.

But here is the secret I want to share with you!

While these can be incredibly enriching experiences for the person who receives the gift of your affection and support, the real benefit is in the way you feel when you have reached out to someone to offer them encouragement, kindness or support. When you know, in your heart, it has made a difference in their day. And the ripple is felt far and wide – and you will never know how many you’ve touched with your simple act. That old woman in the convenience store will never know how her story has touched you.

After all, with one hug you are not really seeking to change the world. One hug or smile will not fix all of the social ills that exist today. BUT, if stopping for 5 minutes to pass the time of day with a stranger will help you both go away happier, then you have given a gift to both of you! That’s a much better definition of global warming!

Positive change is born from intention but comes to life through action.

Ask yourself: If there were 3 acts of love I can offer for myself, a stranger, and my community, what would they be?
Some examples might include:

1. YOU: Taking 10 minutes out of your busy day to walk, meditate or stretch. We sprint and sprint and sprint and drop. Taking intermittent breaks will not only make your body and mind feel better, but it will replenish your energy so you will be more productive during that post-lunch, mid-afternoon fog. Just this short amount of time done consistently will help you find your center and gain positive energy in your life. With a positive outlook, you will be able to build a foundation for your other activities and interactions with others.

2. WE: Donate just a little time or money to a local organization or cause. So often, we forget that outreach is about giving of ourselves. Yes we are too busy. Yes we are concerned about our finances. But what if you turned a charitable experience into a family bonding activity? I did it recently with my wife and children and it was an awesome experience and a great lesson in contribution, perspective and kindness for my kids. The three hours we spent boxing food for needy families, and the small financial donation we made were a whole lot more satisfying than going to the Diner, or seeing a movie (and it cost less too).

3. THEM: Be generous with a complete stranger. For example, offer to open a door or carry a bag for someone. All too often, we either stand by quietly out of fear of reaching out to another person, or we’re not even aware of them. For most of us, we react to severe problems instantly and without hesitation; however, when was the last time you sent an extra dessert to a table full of kids? Ice cream makes the perfect smile!

To truly take the message from Mahatma Gandhi and mingle it with the intention of Valentine’s Day, reach deeper within yourself to ask what you can share that will bring about a change in yourself and others. Upon sharing these gifts with others, you are also sharing them with yourself!

A man walked on a beach and saw a little girl reaching down and picking up one of the thousands of starfish that had washed ashore due to a storm. He watched her throw it back into the water and then reach down and do the same with another, casting them one-by-one back into the sea. He said, “there are thousands of starfish here on the beach. What difference will that make?” She smiled and replied, “It will certainly make a difference to this one.”

Let your love for yourself and others spread through you.

Author's Bio: 

This article is based on the popular book and audio book, WakeUp: Your Life is Waiting for You by Mike Jaffe. Mike Jaffe, founder of Jaffe Life Design and renowned motivational speaker, is a powerful and inspiring coach and seminar leader whose programs empower people to redefine what’s possible in their personal and professional lives.

Without doubt, the date of September 11th will live in every Americans mind as one of those moments when time stands still. For Mike Jaffe, that moment arrived on September 11th when he stepped out of the subway 20 minutes late for work, just after the first plane slammed into his office floor. At that moment, Mike Jaffe knew he had to change his life and the lives of others in honor of his co-workers.

In Mike’s inspiring and powerful talks, participants learn what it takes to make real, lasting change in their businesses and their lives by shifting their perspective from entitlement to accountability; therefore, moving from victim to victor. To find out more about each of Jaffe Life Design programs, please visit jaffelifedesign.com/our-services-speaking.htm.