Someone wise once said, “If you have much, give your wealth; if you have little, give your heart.” And here is the perfect occasion: Thursday, April 28 is international Pay It Forward Day.

Based on the 2000 movie of the same name, Pay It Forward is the concept of doing a good deed for another.

In the movie, Kevin Spacey starred as the social science teacher who assigns his seventh grade class the charge to create an action plan that would change the world for the better. His student, played by Haley Joel Osment, devises a plan of a budding network of good deeds – somewhat akin to the branching of a tree, where each good deed would prompt the blossoming of another. This young man does three, well-intended, well-considered helping acts for three different individuals. And the hope is that one good deed leads to another and the three recipients would, in turn, do three acts of service for another personally selected trio of people. When asked, “How can I repay you for what you have done for me?” The response is, “Pay it forward.”

The movie offers more depth and nuance than my brief précis. That said, it was not a huge Hollywood success story raking in the big bucks. And yet, the movie’s theme managed to spur a long-running international movement. Clearly, the idea of paying it forward touched a chord with many people – including me. I really liked the movie. It touched something unnamed (at that time) within me. In fact, in 2000, I saw the movie twice within ten days – not something I normally do.

The idea of paying it forward speaks to the best of our human natures. We feel better when we do good deeds. It is fun, rewarding and nourishing to be generous of both heart and hand. Even Oprah and clinical research confirm the positive impact of doing good. There is power in giving a hand and helping one another.

The philosophy of Paying It Forward was ahead of its time. Today, we are more aware of the power of an open heart and there is an understanding that we are all connected to that great web of life. And this is still a fabulous idea and a terrific reminder that in paying it forward we actually seed our own future and replenish our personal grace bank accounts. We embrace the concept that we are all one and that in helping you, I help myself. This is a major win-win for us all. The energy of pure intentions, compassion, anonymous acts of service, good deeds -- all of this -- reverberates through our cosmos and raises the vibration and expands our collective consciousness.

The Pay It Forward Day is a day focused on random acts of kindness. The concept is a fun and easy way to make a difference in yourself -- and your neurotransmitters will be humming the Hallelujah Chorus – and for our world where everyone can use all the unconditional love, care and service to lift our spirits and fully awaken our high-octane selves.

Want more? Go to for some examples and inspiration.

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is the author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditations, and Coping Strategies for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl and a contributing author to the best-selling anthology, 2012: Creating Your Own Shift. You can learn more about Adele and her thinking