Food for the Soul: Service to Others

Today, Americans celebrate the national holiday dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (well some may be catching up on sleep instead).  Most known for his work as a pioneering civil right’s leader and advocate for justice and peace, Dr. King also championed for overcoming poverty and education inequities for all people.  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” King once proclaimed. In line with this, President Bill Clinton established the King holiday as a national day of service in 1994, and dedicated it “a day on, not a day off.”  So the question lies in what are you doing to serve others in honor of Dr. King and beyond?

With unemployment, hunger, and poverty in America growing, coupled with a failing education system, there are plenty of opportunities to serve and help others.  Volunteering your time at local soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, tutoring, and mentoring are all great ways to give back to your community and share your talents.  We all have something to give of ourselves that could benefit others.  We are not islands, and I strongly believe we are built to help our brothers and sisters in need.  As history has progressed, sadly, we have become more and more disconnected as a people.  Children with failing test scores and panhandlers on the street are thought of as someone else’s problem instead of a suffering human being.  (Of course, one could argue that we’re all suffering in some regard.  In fact, Buddhist philosophy suggests that life is suffering.)


But doing for others is not only a great gift for those in need, but also for your soul and being.  Life’s adversities are certainly a matter of perception.  The reality is that some people suffer more than others, and it’s a matter of how we deal with life’s adversities and misfortune which makes all the difference.  Giving back and serving others is one way to gain a greater appreciation for your life and what has been given to you–helping to put your personal tribulations into perspective.  There will always be someone who is worse off in some shape or form.  Even for someone who has nothing (materially speaking), he may be richer in other attributes that are unfortunately not as valued in this world and being (again everything is relative).

So as you’re reading this, I challenge you to place serving others on your list of goals for the new year.  On your journey to great health, it’s not only important to nourish your body, but likewise your soul!

For more information on ways to serve in your community, go to:  http://www.serve.gov/.


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