Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zen Peacekeeper, Marianne Elliott, Shares How She Has Fun, Does Good

We write and teach what we want to learn, at least, I do.  One of the reasons I keep this blog is to help me figure out how to have fun, and do good, and one of the ways I learn is by example, so I've asked a handful of bloggers from my Have Fun, Do Good blogroll to share how they have fun and do good. 

The first guest post is by Marianne Elliott.  Marianne is a change-maker, a human rights advocate, a yoga teacher and a writer. She is the creator of 30 days of yoga: an online course to establish a regular home practice of yoga and build a kinder relationship with your own body. She is currently writing a memoir about her life as a UN peacekeeper in Afghanistan.  You can follow her on Twitter at @zenpeacekeeper.

All I’ve ever wanted from my life was to do good. As a small child I was profoundly affected by the glimpses I got into the injustices in the world so I became a human rights lawyer and spent a decade working in places like the Gaza Strip, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.

When you are working on serious human rights issues it can be easy to think that having fun might be incompatible with doing good. But my experience has always been that I do the most good when I am doing what I love with people I love.

One of my favorite ways to do good and have fun is to get together a group of friends to do a garden make-over for a busy young family. In one day a group of five or six people can transform an over-grown yard or roof-top into a functioning vegetable garden.

I love this because it does good on so many levels. A vegetable garden reduces the expenses of a young family by providing them with fresh, organic healthy food. Vegetable gardens also have positive environmental impacts, especially if they are planted using biodynamic principles to promote, for example, regeneration of healthy insect life.

A day working in the garden is good for the mental and physical health of everyone who takes part, and working together to do good is a great way to deepen friendships and strengthen group bonds. Finally, in my experience, the sight of a freshly planted vegetable garden gives everyone who took part in the day a profound sense of satisfaction.

If you like this post, you might also like, How to Find Your Have Fun, Do Good.

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