Returnment and Volunteering


Returnment: noun
The act of giving back or returning in some small way what the world has given you.
An alternative to retirement.
-Jay C. Bloom.


“It is more important to find out what you are giving to society than to ask what is the right means of livelihood.”
-J. Krishnamurti


“An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention to goods.”
-E.F. Schumacher


“Work is love made visible.”
-Kahlil Gibran


“An unemployed existence is a negation worse than death itself, because to live means to have something definitely to do, a mission to fulfill…and in the measure in which we avoid setting our life to something we make it empty…Human life by its very nature has to be dedicated to something.”
-Jose Ortega Y. Gasset


“Without work, all life goes rotten; but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.”
-Albert Camus


“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”
-John Wesley


“In my view, the greatest threat to America’s future isn’t hiding in a cave in Pakistan or Afghanistan; it’s right here at home. Baby boomers like myself are on course to become the first generation of Americans who leave things in worse shape than they found them.”
– David Walker, U.S. comptroller general November, 2006


“Lives based on having are less free than lives based on either doing or being.”
-William James


“Work comes from the inside out; work is an expression of our soul, our inner being. It is unique to the individual; it is creative. Work is an expression of the spirit at work in the world through us.”
-Matthew Fox


“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
-Winston Churchill


“This our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us,….to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves, to act in such a way that some part of us lives on.”
-Oswald Spengler


“One need ask only one question, ‘What for? What am I to unify my being for?’ The reply is: ‘Not for my own sake.’”
-Martin Buber


“Life’s most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
-Martin Luther King, Jr


“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
-Henry David Thoreau


“What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
-George Eliot


“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”
-Walter Lippmann, 20th century American journalist, author and public philosopher


“Begin with the possible, begin with one step. There is always a limit, you cannot do more than you can. If you try to do too much, you will do nothing,”
-P.D. Ouspensky & G.I. Gurdjieff


“Right now, the potential to bring about lasting change is greater than ever before, and so is the need.” {Baby boomers want} “to give something back, to find a way to contribute that will be meaningful and make a difference. What they want to know is how.”
-Bill Shore, “The Cathedral Within,” 1999


“There is increasing evidence that the so called ‘baby-boomer’ generation, those born from 1946-1964 and numbering 76 million nationally, is re-defining pre-retirement and retirement years. Many in this age group are seeking new careers and work that has greater meaning and purpose, often involving making a contribution or connection to community.”
-Marc Freedman, Prime Time 1999


“It is not a miracle we do this kind of work, it is a miracle we love this kind of work.”
-Mother Teresa


“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
-Anne Frank


“What is the spirituality we need for the 21st century? We face a choice: to retire from this fray into some marshmallow paradise where we can massage away the heat of the day, the questions of the time, the injustice of the age, and live like pious moles in the heart of a twisted world. Or, we can gather our strength – our spiritual strength – for the struggle it will take to wake up from this pious sleep.”
-Joan Chittister


“I am what survives of me”
-Erik Erikson


“I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one’s own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.”
-The Dalai Lama


“To strive for leisure as an alternative to work could be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and can’t be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.”
-E.F. Schumacher


“Many times a day I realize how much my inner and outer life is built on the labors of other men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give and return as much as I have received.”
-Albert Einstein


“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do.”
-Goethe


“When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless. The cure for boredom is not diversion, it is to find some work to do, something to care about.”
-John Gardner


“It is not at first with our own hands that we pick the acorns and apples from the commonwealth of nature to nourish our own bodies. It is the hands of other people that supply the needs of our bodies, both in our infancy and beyond.
“For each of us lives in and through an immense movement of the hands of other people; the hands of other people lift us from the womb. The hands of other people grow the food we eat, weave the clothes we wear and build the shelter we inhabit. The hands of other people give pleasure to our bodies in moments of passion and aid and comfort in times of affliction and distress.
“It is in and through the hands of other people that the commonwealth of nature is appropriated and accommodated to the needs and pleasures of our separate, individual lives, and, at the end, it is the hands of other people that lower us into the earth.”
-Robert Bellah


“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
-Helen Keller


“The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.”
-Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer


“Profoundly influenced by the example of Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie; Tom Hunter, a Scots businessman worth over L500 million, pledges L100 to various children’s and educational charities. Of his wealth, Hunter says, ‘Making money is only half the equation. It’s what you do with it that makes you who you are’.”

“This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love…. The more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength…”
-Rainer Maria Rilke


“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


“If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
-Mother Teresa


“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
-John Andrew Holmes


“The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
-William James


“In Benedictine spirituality, work is what we do to continue what God wanted done….God goes on creating through us. Consequently a life spent serving God must be a life spent giving to others what we have been given.”
-Sister Joan Chittister


“Give generously for your gifts will return to you later.”
-The Bible, Ecclesiastes


“It is always important to have something yet to do in life.”
-Viktor Frankl


“The trouble is that not enough people have come together with the firm determination to live the things which they say they believe.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt


“The measure of a civilization is how it treats those at the dawn of life, the margins of life and the twilight of life.”
-Hubert Humphrey


“You are here to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with finer spirit of hope, and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
-Woodrow Wilson


“Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This expression of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, and hence joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a depravation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”
-Erich Fromm, “The Art of Loving”


“You have been told also that life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work

And all work is empty save when there is love.

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.”
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”
-Leo Tolstoy


“To serve, not to be served.”
-Motto of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)


“One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say risking oneself. If one cannot risk one self, then one is simply incapable of giving.”
-James Baldwin


“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and along those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
-Herman Melville


“The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
-Albert Schweitzer


“My purpose is to live the kind of life that will mean the most to you, to me, to the universe immediately around us, and to some part of the universe that lies a little beyond what we see around us. We’ve got to stop fooling around and move toward a new way of life. I’d like to get people into the habit of living physically and mentally in such a way that, when they get all through, the earth could be a better place to live than it was…Sit back and be comfortable? That’s no way to be. Sit up, move forward, keep going. I’d like to give out and plant potatoes; cut wood; anything constructive. I’d like to live as long as I’m useful.”
-Scott Nearing, economist & philosopher, a little before his death at age 100


“We have a duty to pass on our learning.”
-Richard Beckhard


“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


“When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless.”
-John Gardner


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, but it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt


“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?”
-Hillel


“The more we take the welfare of others to heart and work for their benefit, the more benefit we derive for ourselves. This is a fact we can see, and the more selfish we remain and self-centered, the more selfish our way of life is, the lonelier we feel and the more miserable. This is also a fact we can see.”
-The Dalai Lama


“The big problem is not the haves and have-nots – it’s the give-nots.”
-Arnold Glasow


“Every man’s obligation is to put into the world at least what he takes out of it.”
-Albert Einstein


“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


“One need ask only one question, ‘What for? What am I to unify my being for?’ The reply is: Not for my own sake.”
-Martin Buber


E-mail: jay@BloomAnew.com
Phone: 808-753-4331
Cell: 503-381-2649

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