by Niall Doherty

Last day of Random Acts of Courage, Part Deux. Continuing on with the modified theme of not so much doing things that push me out of my comfort zone, but doing things that feel good and meaningful, today I attempted the following…

1. Help a friend

I mentioned my new Moroccan buddy earlier this week. He’s the chap I met last Friday who asked if I could spare some time to teach him about web design. My first thought was to say no, because I was going to be too busy this week doing all kinds of crazy shit for RAoC. But then I stepped back and realized that helping him out would be a much better use of my time than prancing around town, looking for attention.

So today we sat down at a local community center for a couple of hours and ran through a bunch of things. Turns out my new friend is Muslim, too, so we chatted a bit about my introduction to Islam yesterday. Good times.

Afterwards I got talking to the priest who runs the community center, and we came to an informal agreement that I teach a beginners class on web design there next week. Should be fun 🙂

2. Pay it forward

It’s been years since I heard about the whole pay it forward concept. I’ve seen the movie and followed the movement somewhat, but I’d never actually paid it forward myself. I figured today was as good a day as any to jump on the bandwagon.

I headed to the smoothie place in The English Market, waited until there were no customers around, then went and had the following conversation with the nice foreign girl (German, methinks) behind the counter:

— Hi, can I ask you for a strange favor?

— [amused] … it depends, what is it?

— [holding out €5] I don’t want anything for myself. I just want to pay for the next person who orders something.

— Excuse me?

I explained further, and Smoothie Girl quickly warmed to the idea. She took my money, promising to use it for the next transaction, and to relay the pay it forward message. I thanked her and wandered off with a smile, not knowing if what I’d just done would make any difference to anybody, if it would really start a wave of kindness, but not really caring either.

I’d planted the seed; my work was done.

Things I didn’t get to do

That pay it forward challenge marked the end of Random Acts of Courage, Part Deux. Before I wrap this up though, I want to share with you a couple of other challenges I would liked to have attempted this week, but couldn’t. They were…

1. Visit and chat with old folks at a nursing home

I thought it would be nice to go spend some time with the elderly, listen to their stories, ask them about their lives, but it turns out you can’t just waltz into a nursing home for a chin wag whenever you feel like it. No, you first have to join a charitable organization and get a stamp from the Gardai to prove you’re not some sort of gerontophile (i.e. pedophile, Benjamin Button-style), and that latter part can take four to six months. (I imagine they get a detective to tail you for all that time, trying to determine whether or not you have a wrinkle fetish.)

Oh well. At least I’ll get to visit my grandmother in a couple of weeks when I’m back home in Slieverue. No forms to fill out or tails to shake.

2. Model nude for an art class

I made approximately a half-dozen phone calls and sent twice as many emails trying to make this happen, but alas, it wasn’t to be. I discovered that there are life drawing classes around Cork, but they either weren’t being held this week, or they weren’t willing to have just any auld random dude pose for them in his birthday suit. Shucks.

Why the interest in doing this in the first place? I figured it would help me become much less body shy. I don’t believe we should feel any guilt or shame about nudity. Nor do I believe that everyone should be walking around butt naked. But when it comes time to let it all hang out in front of other people, for whatever reason, I’d like to be comfortable with it.

I have in mind to visit a nude beach or two this year (never been to one before), and I’d eventually like to spend some time at a nudist colony, see what that’s like. It would have to be a classy nudist colony though and not one of those freaky orgy camps. The latter would be a little too far outside of my comfort zone.

[This just in: I received an invite to model for a life drawing class in Limerick this Saturday, but I won’t be able to make it. Might try and drop in there though when I’m back in Ireland in September.]

Coming Monday: The relaunch of A Course In Courage

Yup, registration for A Course In Courage is reopening on Monday, at 2 pm GMT. If you feel like you need a little extra help facing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone, you should definitely give it a shot. There’s a 100% money back guarantee, nothing to lose.

I’m also putting the finishing touches on an affiliate program for the course, so if you try it and dig it, you can recommend it to your friends and get a 50% cut of whatever sales you generate.

Sound good? Fill in the form below to get priority notice for new registrations.

[UPDATE: Mailing list closed, course open]

I pinky promise not to do anything shady with your e-mail address, and rest assured that subscribing to the above list puts you under no obligation to join the course at any time.

And if you have no interest of A Course In Courage, that’s fine, too. We can still be friends 😉