community hands
Custodians of the Caring Movement, Self-Care, Unified Caring Association

A Caring Community of One

Ancient wisdom tells us that there is strength in numbers.  Our grandmothers taught us “many hands make light work.” We would do well to revisit the sage advice of our Elders. Theirs is often a hard-won form of common sense, good judgment and prudence.  And it all ladders up to the notion that seemingly monumental tasks are achievable when we’re all rowing in the same direction.

The Unified Caring Association truly walks the talk of coalition and combined motivation.  That’s what “Unified” really means.  With our ranks swelling ever-closer to 200,000 Members, there is truly a cohesive mission that creates a “Caring Community of One.”

Urgency Creates Focus

At first glance you might wonder what connects an advocacy for children and animals and reforestation and our beloved seniors.  Sounds like a disparate group of causes, right? But at the heart of each is concern and caring.  Because the connective tissue is that these areas are often among the most under-served in a community, which creates a further sense of urgency to act… and act now.

In this sense, the simple commitment to becoming a Member of UCA may seem to be an individual decision, but it is a unifying one that benefits those who cannot speak for themselves. Once again proving that the insight about strength in numbers is true.  And the fact that a Unified Association has more influence and power to affect changes than any one single individual.

That’s the Spirit!

From sports to corporate retreats, there has always been an emphasis on “team spirit.”  Why is that? The answer is that some form of spirit is a proven bonding agent.  It unifies otherwise distinct and contrasting groups of folks.  There is now a growing body of evidence indicating that any type of spiritual practice is associated with furthering a desire to care for others.  Amen to that!

If you look at spirituality (no matter the faith tradition, denomination or practice), it is associated with better self-care and wellbeing for many reasons.

Chief among them is the fact that spirituality can guide you to direct your attention to a specific focus—often an inward-looking reflection. Essentially every spiritual tradition has a long history of using contemplative practices to increase compassion, empathy, and attention.

Said another way, without a spiritual underpinning of some kind, it’s nearly impossible to be truly immersed in caring.  Whether it’s caring for oneself or others.

Finders Keepers

Almost every faith tradition tells a story of “being a brother’s keeper.”  It means that you are looking out for your fellow brothers and sisters. Not only biological brothers and sisters, but as we are all the children of the same planet, we should treat each other with respect and look after one another.

It’s why the world, now more than ever, needs more “Custodians of the Caring Movement.”  And it explains why this is central to who we are and what we do. It integrates everything UCA stands for.  If you think of a “Custodian” as a “keeper,” then you will immediately see how it can improve your life and those who are under-served.

A spiritual community is also a source of social support, which provides a much-needed sense of belonging, and security. And here’s a “finding” you can feel good about.  Caring Communities have been proven to increase well-being and bolster life expectancy.  Major studies “find” a strong association between spirituality and improved mood.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

For centuries, our planet has really been one big city of neighborhoods. Time on this Earth moves on a scale according to relationships between neighbors: The people who stop and ask you “how are you doing?” The people who watch your dog for you when you have to go out of town.  The people who invite you over for a backyard barbecue, just because it’s Saturday, and they haven’t seen you in a few days.  The people who respond to every concern you have with “let me know how I can help.”

There is a long tradition of caring that began with simply greeting our neighbors from porches and sidewalks and continued through sharing communal spaces and emotions.  The world may be getting bigger as our neighborhoods get smaller but addressing care and support as a  “Community of One” is what connects us.  And that common thread is the true fulfillment of relationships.  No wonder authentic community ties are some of the most enduring.  It is also the most satisfying joy of becoming a Custodian of the Caring Movement.

Caring Is Doing

UCA caring includes self-care and service to others

Wanting to help is the first step toward helping.  Membership in UCA is in itself a powerful difference-maker. That’s because a small portion of Membership fees go toward those very projects that have a caring impact through hands-on organizations that provide everything from emotional support and emotional intelligence tools – to sanctuary for horses. And nearly everything in between. 

Of course, it’s always easier to turn a blind eye to the world’s urgent problems.  But once you know, once you’ve seen it, then you have a responsibility to do something. Helping our Members step into action in their Community is crucial because service gives self-care meaning

But we also need to fill ourselves up before we move into service. So we need each other. We’re better together.

There IS strength numbers. By working as one for our caring mission mandate, The Unified Caring Association works to change lives individually and as a collective. It is what keeps us forever Unified.

We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caringresilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

Custodians of the Caring Movement

4 Ways to Make Your Life Easier and More Fulfilling

We’ve been told that “life is hard.”  We’ve been told that marriage is “hard work.” We’ve been told that “nothing ever comes easy in this world.” Truth? Or self-fulfilling prophecy? 

It’s probably more accurate to say that an easy life can be elusive, but that’s quite a bit different than saying it is strenuous or difficult to achieve.

Finding a parking space is easy – but only when they are in abundance.  When an empty spot is elusive, it becomes harder.

soul body mind emotions in balance

But there are 4 ways to make your life easier and more fulfilling.  And the greatest minds have concluded that they center around the quality of our life on an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual level.  The surprise? Each is directly proportional to the quality of our relationships.

Good Relationships Keep Us Happier and Healthier

Now before you say: “great partners, like parking spaces, can be hard to find,” don’t think of relationships in the strict sense of a lifetime companion.

What is your relationship with your neighbor? Your community? Those in need? What is your relationship to exercise? Alcohol? Pets? The interior life?

Family, loved ones, and dear friends are absolutely part of the relationships in your life, too, of course.

But the common thread is that true fulfillment in relationships is about genuine connection.  This is one of the most satisfying joys of becoming a Custodian of the Caring Movement. Authentic community ties are some of the most enduring.

relationship connections, who to call or text

Tell Us Something We Don’t Already Know

Okay, so you may not be astounded to learn the importance of relationships.  But if we already know this, why do so many of us struggle in this area?

Are we treating the most important relationships in our lives properly?  Are we giving them the time, attention, and priority they deserve?

Do you know a lifelong friend who would think nothing of putting in a 70-hour workweek, yet they can’t “find time” to check in with you?

Or have you caught yourself (when stressed out) showing less patience and grace toward a life-partner than you’d ever show to a complete stranger?

Move from Deadlines to Lifelines

So many things in life are urgency-driven, but have you noticed that relationships almost never are?  In fact, they’re almost always the first part of our lives that we neglect until we can “find the time.”

Everyone wants deep, meaningful relationships.  But most think it’s a daunting or time-consuming goal. 

Building more fulfilling relationships every day is easier when you realize one fundamental truth:

The very thing that makes you feel happy or fulfilled isn’t the relationship itself, but the interactions within that relationship. 

The Custodian Connection

Custodians of the Caring Movement understand that the best path to enjoying fulfilling relationships is through meaningful interactions and consistently connecting. Just the act of expressing care to self and others – by putting caring into action – is all that is required.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, either. Moving the Caring Movement forward and reaping its rewards can be as simple as a friendly smile. A short note of appreciation. A wave. Saying “thank you.” A word of encouragement. Patience in line for coffee.

None of which is difficult.  Especially if you choose to see, feel, and consciously become aware of where there is a need – and then step up.

Small and Simple = Happy and Fulfilled

Being an active part of the Caring Movement isn’t about money or overwhelming commitment. It’s about  consistently delivering small and simple experiences that leave those in your orbit feeling genuinely uplifted.

One of the best ways to begin is choosing to give voice to the positive thoughts you have in your head. That’s right.  Instead of allowing them to evaporate, say them out loud! Don’t cheat yourself out of a valuable opportunity to move caring forward and enrich your relationships at the same time.

The world needs to hear that you care – now more than ever.  There is no doubt that you’ll make the recipient of your caring thoughts feel better. And in turn, their emotional response will give you an incredibly fulfilling sense of happiness and satisfaction as well.  When you raise someone’s spirts, you uplift your own at the same time. Wonderful, isn’t it?

You Care When You’re Aware

The last step in a more fulfilling life is a simple shift in awareness. The key is becoming more intentional. Getting into the habit of being aware of a positive thought and giving voice to it – as long as it is genuine, and you really mean it.

Most Custodians of the Caring Movement will tell you that it quickly becomes second nature to recognize or compliment someone they know.  And yes, if you’re shy and can’t voice it, you can certainly text it or e-mail it.  Action is what matters!

Caring isn’t just a holiday-time-of-year thing. It’s a day-to-day part of who you are.  Who WE are.

Simple, caring interactions are at the heart of Caring Movement and the foundation for meaningful relationships. And those very same relationships are the roadmap to an easier and more fulfilling life. For everyone.

By Mark Smith, contributing author

We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caringresilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

helping hand for community
Caring, Caring Action, Unified Caring Association

Putting a Community into Caring Action

A simple social media post from a UCA member put a community into caring action that changed the lives of an entire family in need.

putting a community into caring action

Last December the member posted in one of her local Facebook mom groups to see if anyone knew of a local family in need of baby boy clothing. She had just cleaned out the closet of her nine-month-old and had a TON of baby boy clothes to donate. “Rather than just dropping it off at the local Salvation Army, I hoped to find a family I could help out and continue to help as my little boy grows up and we clear out his closet,” she said. Almost immediately she received a direct message from someone.

The Need that Propelled Action

Hi… i commented on your post i dont really feel comfortable putting our family business on fb so i thought I’d message you my daughter just had a little boy December 4th my 16 yr old was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma a form of bone cancer last month we are going through alot and really strapped tight on money we are actually being evicted due to not being able to pay our rent this month due to my husband taking off of work to be with our 4 other children while me and my daughter in the hospital doing chemo my oldest daughter and my grandson live with us we could really use and appreciate the things you are giving away it would mean the world to us

Initially, the UCA member didn’t know what to think. It all sounded like too many bad things happening to one family. She started communicating with the person who replied right-away and immediately felt a connection.  This family needed SO much help. She started gathering every baby item she had and posted on Facebook to try to get more help from the local mom community.

Rallying the Local Community

Note to Facebook Moms Group:
I need your help! I’m pulling together baby boy items for a local family in need. They have recently fallen into a VERY bad situation financially and have a newborn baby boy. He was born in December and is only 7lbs right now. I already donated ALL of my newborn clothing. Does anyone have any 0-6mo clothes they would be willing to donate? I could come pick them up from you! Also, he’s on Similac Pro Advance if anyone has any formula they’d like to donate. Any other baby items would be appreciated. They literally need everything. I have bottles, lots of clothes (all 6mo +) and an infant car seat covered.

There was an incredible outpouring of support. We were literally able to gather everything anyone could ever want or need for a baby (pack-n-plays, clothing, bottles, formula, diapers, toys, high-chair, car seats, etc.). Over the course of a week people dropped things off at the UCA member’s house (and her parent’s house too) so they all could make deliveries to the family.

In the meantime, she wanted to help this family even more and decided to start raising money to make sure they weren’t evicted. Unfortunately, everything the family in need had been telling her turned out to be an understatement. Their power was scheduled to be turned off the day before Christmas, most of them were sleeping on the floor. They didn’t have a kitchen table or chairs, or couch because they had been renting virtually all their furniture and could no longer make the payments.

An Outpouring from the Caring Community

She was able to secure beds, a couch, a kitchen table and chairs, a desk, a desk top computer, a laptop along with a ton of other necessities. It was truly amazing to see how much people were willing to help an unknown family.  She even convinced Lowe’s to donate and deliver a brand-new washer and dryer to this family.

Ultimately, the community ended up raising over $6,000 in less than a week.  They worked with the landlord and paid the family’s rent for both December and January.  They then called all utilities and got them current on all past due bills.  With the remaining money, gift cards were purchased as well as giving the mother cash to buy Christmas presents for their kids.

It was a remarkable example of a community that truly CARES.  In the end, the UCA member summed up her caring community best: “One social media post kick-started an expression of genuine love.  Now, more than ever, we need to continue to care for one another.  Even those we don’t know.”

We all can easily take a moment to be kind to others, to help when a need shows itself to us, and give to others with urgent needs. Beyond that moment of caring action, our communities desperately need Caring Ambassadors to catalyze a caring movement needed more than ever.

Share Your Caring Story

As the majority of us have had our daily lives altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we invite you to share your personal story. Have you discovered silver-linings in your life or around you? Has something funny inspired you to carry on? Have you learned something great about yourself, family or community that you would not otherwise have discovered? We’d love to hear from you – we encourage the idea of a Caring Community through the tradition of story-telling. As we go through this epic event, it is the perfect time to share experiences that reinforce resilience, demonstrate creative coping and lighten our hearts with humor. After all, sharing IS caring.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!