Paying it Forward: An Invitation to Change the World

WRITING: Taren Maroun / IMAGE: James LaCroix

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are trips into the city. Not for the sake of the city itself, in fact I don't really remember the city, but because whenever we ventured into that San Francisco jungle it meant crossing a bridge-- and bridges meant tolls. My mother would look over at me bouncing in my seat and smile, pulling out an extra couple dollars as we rolled into the booth. I can clearly remember her saying, "We'd also like to pay for the person behind us." A sentence that echoes into present day.

I don't ever remember there being anything more to the moment. She would pay the toll-man and we would drive off. There was no need for explanation or revisiting, she was kind because she believed in kindness. She believed that we were in this together; me and her and the guy behind us.

Every day is a new, blank canvas and we are the artists. Each moment, each choice, is writing on the wall of our lives. We all desire to live a life of freedom, of creativity and abundance; bright colors of growth and experience flung with gusto. Memories like the toll booth exchange taught me early on that among a million ways to create space for each other to live those aforementioned things is the simple act of Paying it forward.

Paying it forward: the less woo woo name for positive karma, fluid energy. The embodiment of kindness and expansion; the giving up of self to benefit another. In that act you give invitation for someone else to choose growth. Paying it forward is pulling the pin from a grenade someone else is holding. It's the set up.

Kindness is an uncomfortable vortex, but a vortex nonetheless. The most minimal exposure and our world is turned upside down, the flow of monotony and predictability upset. The step by step nature of our day is disrupted and we have to look up-- from out phones, from our work, from ourselves.

Being introduced to something foreign can be scary. Kindness is not something effortlessly given these days, and so seems an elusive creature in our world, but trust that releasing it will challenge every part of you. It will rub you the wrong way and ask you to do and say things that seem out of place, and sometimes even unwelcome, and you can bet your ass that swimming against the current of "normality" and "self" will never be an easy thing, albeit one-hundred percent worth it.

So-- go ahead.
Go forward, write your invitation with passion, put all of yourself into one simple moment of change and watch it snowball into something magnificent.
Go ahead-- change the world.
I dare you.