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Ask not

President John F. Kennedy
photo credit: pixabay

Need help? There are many pundits who will give you self-help advice. I should know. I'm one of them. Self-help is an oxy-moron, though. As George Carlin was fond of pointing out, if you are getting help from someone else, it is not "self-help." It's just help.

At any rate, one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard came from a President, not a pundit. President John F. Kennedy.

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

For years this seemed backwards to me. What was so profound about asking what I can do for my country? It was me that needed the help. Then the other day, it came to me in a blinding flash of insight.

You know how they say, "Turn that frown upside down?" That's what you have to do with a lot of advice. Turn it upside down, inside out. Hold it up to a mirror. You need to see yourself in that reflection.

Karma. "What goes around comes around."

There are scads of similar adages that apply. What it all boils down to is that you are only going to get out of something as much as you are willing to put into it. In short, you get as good as you give.

Don't be afraid to ask what you can do to make a situation better. It makes even more sense to grab a broom, a paint brush, a hammer without asking. Show your willingness to pitch in and help. You will find that help is all around you when the time comes to sweep your walk or paint your fence, repair your gate. Remember, Karma.

Are you as supportive of your friends and loved ones as you expect them to be? Are you willing to take up their broom, lend them your hammer, or tell them their paint job was fabulous (even though you hate the color)? Being supportive, helpful and compassionate are qualities we want to see coming to us. Put them to use to take the Bitch out of Karma and make it a Blessing.

This quote, attributed to Giles of Assissi, a close companion of St. Francis, says it all:

Blessed is he who loves and does not therefore desire to be loved;
Blessed is he who fears and does not therefore desire to be feared;
Blessed is he who serves and does not therefore desire to be served;
Blessed is he who behaves well toward others and does not desire that others behave well toward him;
And because these are great things, the foolish do not rise to them.

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