What Can You Do Today - This Very Moment?

“My religion is simple.  My religion is kindness”.  Dalai Lama

Love Is Everything

There is a low brick wall in front of a small apartment building about a block from my house with the simplest  piece of graffiti on it - written in almost childlike handwriting, it reads, “love is everything”.  I pass that low brick wall often - and each time I do, I read that declaration again - love is everything.  It gets me thinking about how love can be expressed - not just as a feeling but also in action.  

Recently, I came across the statement the Dali Lama made to the world, right after the 9/11 attacks.  Here is part of what he said:

“Today the human soul asks the question: What can I do to preserve the beauty the wonder of our world and to eliminate the anger and hatred-and the disparity that inevitably causes it - in that part of the world which I touch?” 

In that statement, the Dali Lama challenged us to think about what we wish to experience in our own life and in the world - and then to seek to provide those very things to other people.  

  “If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to know that you are safe, cause another to know that they are safe. If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand. If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.”

Volunteering to Help

One of the best ways to offer caring, support and kindness to your local community this holiday season is by giving your time or your resources to help.  Here are some opportunities which are just around the corner:

Capitol Hill Group Ministryis seeking people to “sponsor” a family by volunteering to purchase presents. Families request a few items of clothing and a toy or book for each child, as well as a household gift like pots or towels.  Some volunteers sponsor an entire family on their own, while others bring together a group to sponsor a family together by splitting up gifts. For more information or to sign up to sponsor a family, please contact Shelah Wilcox: wilcox@chgm.netor 202.544.3150before December 21st.

Horton’s Kids, Inc.is a non-profit organization providing comprehensive services to underprivileged children and their families in the D.C. area, including tutoring, mentoring, dental and vision care, food, clothing, and holiday celebrations. Horton's Kids bring children from Anacostia to Capitol Hill for one-on-one tutoring by volunteers from all over the DC area. Currently, volunteers tutor children at the Rayburn House Office Buildings on Monday and Tuesday evenings.  To donate or volunteer contact Mike Langen at mike@hortonskids.orgor call 202.544.5033 ext. 8.

Capitol Hill Villageprovides support for residents of the Capitol Hill community who wish to stay in their homes as they grow older. Volunteers are needed to provide transportation; to help with vexing electronic issues, including computer mysteries, programming thermostats, DVDs, phones, clocks and watches; light home maintenance; at home assistance with paper work, and occasional meal preparation; and with companionship. To volunteer go to www.capitolhillvillage.org  or call 202.543.1778.

Trees for Capitol Hillis a non-profit community group dedicated to restoring the tree canopy of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, adding to the beauty of our streets and sidewalks.  Volunteers work to care for a new tree or renew, restore, and refresh the diversity of trees.  Currently, hundreds of new trees are being planted in our neighborhoods and they will need to be cared for.  If you are interested in watering and caring for a new tree near your home go to: www.treesforcapitolhill.orgor contact Margaret Missiaen at missiaen@verizon.net

Jan’s Tutoring House is a non-profit organization that provides educational and enrichment activities for inner city Washington, DC school-age children and youth with one-on-one mentoring and tutoring in a safe place, with nutritional support, through after school and summer programs.  To volunteer call 202.547.1345  or contact


Having a hard time finding a volunteer opportunity that floats your boat? Check out VolunteerMatch - they have an online database that enables you to search thousands of one-time and ongoing opportunities by zip code, category, and date. www.volunteermatch.org

You Make a Difference

The final words of the Dali Lama, in his statement after 9/11 still hold true today:

“Those others are waiting for you now. They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strength, for understanding, and for assurance at this hour. Most of all, they are looking to you for love.”

Ronda Bresnick Hauss is a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of the Quiet Waters Center for Trauma, Stress and Resilience, on Capitol Hill.  She uses an integrative & holistic approach to psychotherapy – addressing the connection between the mind, body and spirit through the use of traditional talk therapy, hypnosis, meditation, visualization, and creative, non-verbal techniques.   She can be reached at: 202-544-5050or at www.quietwaterscenter.com