The Power of Taking Responsibility

Donating in A Time of Global Crisis

I can very easily sum up my reaction to all the animals that are burnt to death in Australia: I cried. A lot. I cried before falling asleep, I cried in the shower, and I cried while scrolling down my Instagram field. This kept on going for a week. I couldn’t handle seeing animals with their burnt furs and paws in casts. Nor I was able to look at ten-second videos of volunteers giving water to yet another baby kangaroo standing in the middle of ashes. The red and innocent eyes of koalas were too much for me. So I cried because it was my heart’s purest reaction to this tragic situation.

My Emotions Took Control

In a few days, I became angry. I was pissed at all the people in my social media feeds who were posting selfies, photos from their vacations and pointless content to satisfy their egos as if a continent was not on fire, as if people were not fighting for their homes, as if living creatures of all kinds were not dying or losing their natural habitat.

And then I felt guilty. Who was I to judge other people? I realized the thing I was doing – sitting silently and feeling hopeless, wasn’t any better. I felt guilty for blaming others for pretending the fires were not happening, or for not caring because they were in Australia and “it’s Australia’s problem”. At the same time, I was not doing anything either.

This whole mentality of “it’s not my problem” will be the end of humanity.

How is it not your problem? Do you not live on this planet? Do you not depend on it for your survival? If you could stay indifferent to something like this, then I have very little hope that less significant things touch your heart. How do you feel when you see an old lady on the pavement with a plastic cup praying someone drops a few coins because her pension is so ridiculous that she cannot sustain herself on it? How do you feel when a stray dog limps around a dumpster looking for something to eat? Or when you see a kid being pushed on the street or mocked by his or her peers? Don’t these things happen in your backyard? Because they damn sure happen right in front of my eyes and not in Australia. Does seeing things like these bring up a lump in your throat, or is it not your problem?


Instead of Feeling Powerless, I Took Responsibility

My sadness, anger and guilt weighed on me as if I had stones in my chest. Not doing anything to help was killing me. No, it was the feeling of powerlessness was killing me. But we, humans, are not that powerless. I picked myself up and one day I simply declared that I will do something to help. My sister had come up with the idea to lead a yoga class and donate the profits to a wildlife organization in Australia. I wanted to raise money, too, and I felt like I had to offer something in return. This is how the idea of the koala sticker came about. I printed a hundred of them, organized some homemade sweets to be brought to work, sent a heartfelt email to ex- and current colleagues and the rest is history. We collected four hundred euros in two days and donated it to the same organization my sister found.

A few people told me I should be proud of myself. I am not.

 I feel like I have done what was right. So if you feel a calling to do something, do it. Drop some coins to help out the old lady, leave your leftovers next to the dumpster for a stay dog, help the kid on the street. Donate your coffee money, or as much as you can, to a good cause. If you ever feel powerless, find it in yourself to be more generous. Giving is a beautiful way to realise just how much abundance there is in your life and that you can share it with others. Don’t worry – nothing in the universe is ever lost. Everything you give will come right back to you one way or another, and maybe exactly when you need it most.

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