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Practical Updates: Volunteering in My Denver Neighborhood + Beginning to Compartmentalize

Do you volunteer?

In the process of looking myself in the mirror, I have to answer that question with an overwhelming “no”. Mind you, this makes absolutely no sense for my personality, being that I think about the world constantly.

Thing is, I have this fear that when I show up, I’m not going to be wanted there. I’m going to walk into the room and they’re going to look up at me and say, “What are YOU doing here?”.

It’s completely irrational. But it’s led me to go 50% towards volunteer sign ups for years, without ever completing the final process to begin. I’ve gone in for multiple in-person meetings and trainings, and then have managed to not do the part where I actually begin volunteering.

This pattern must change.

First of all, its rooted in my ego. It’s rooted in fear. It’s rooted in a projection I have based on stories of the past. I am not interested in living that way at all. And if you experience that same sentiment, then I feel you, and you too need to get past it. Immediately.

And so here is what I did today. I went on VolunteerMatch.org and I signed up for several volunteer opportunities and orientations. I’m going to check them out and see where it fits the best and where I can be of the most service. I selected services such as:

  • Denver Mission – Prepping and serving food to the homeless. The Mission is down the street from where I live. I see homeless people daily in my neighborhood.
  • Child Literacy Improvement – For kids who are 1 month to 2 years behind in their reading abilities. (The ability to read and take in information is essential to knowledge, and knowledge is essential to changing this world.)
  • Refugee English Teaching – Many refugees come to a new country without knowing English. Having traveled abroad, I know how it can feel to not be able to communicate. Refugees learning English allows them to integrate into their new home, and help make it a better place.
  • Elderly Company – Spending time with an elderly person to keep them company. Many of them are incredibly lonely. We do not honor the elderly in this country like so many other cultures do. I’d like to see that change, and pay my respects an glean wisdom from the elders.

By the end of October:

  • I am volunteering at minimum once a week.
  • When I have a free time slot and there’s help needed at the Mission, I’ll come by and help out.
  • I am gathering groups of friends together to join me in volunteering.

Here’s the other piece that I need right now. To survive this strange and fucked up world. I need to have more fun. I need to be able to compartmentalize various sides of myself.

At the moment, everything is bleeding into each other.

For instance, on Friday nights, I need to be able to go out and dance to good and loud music and forget about the world for a bit and get lost in the moment with good friends and strangers doing the same thing. It feels good.

Because I don’t want to become jaded. And we are here to enjoy our human experience, and to love our human experience. I am not willing to let myself enter into a rabbit hole of only darkness and despair. I will not let myself become jaded and numb.

That’s where I’m at with that right now. Two life updates for you of what I’ll be putting in place on a practical level.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress with volunteering, and let you know how it goes as well.

If you are considering volunteering, head over to VolunteerMatch.org and take a look at what is around you based on your zip code. Whether its helping out at a batter women’s shelter, keeping the elderly company, teaching refugees how to speak english, and the list goes on, find your cause and begin to learn from it. Begin to understand the real lives and realities of those around the world less fortunate around you, and become their ally. We are in this together.

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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