Doing Good One Step at a Time
A discussion with a runner and kindness ambassador, who takes us through the steps of how to stay motivated to continue doing good by keeping a steady pace and finding endurance to keep yourself inspired no matter what.
Doing Good One Step at a Time
Lois Paula: Whether you’re hoping to heal the world or heal yourself. This podcast is here for you to highlight how Kindness Moves.
Nan: Yes. And you might have been touched by a simple act of kindness, you might want tips on how you can act now in your own community. Or maybe you just love the feeling of doing good.
Lois Paula: Welcome to Kindness moves a new podcast brought to you by the INC Giving Project. We’ll tackle topics on volunteerism, on creating good habits for a positive mindset, on raising kids, or maintaining an attitude of gratitude, generosity even in entrepreneurism and so much more.
Nan: And we’re your hosts, Nan, and LP.
Lois Paula: So Nan, we’re bringing up something today that everyone gets. You know, we’re human, and as much as we want to make our lives better you know by helping those around us, we all have limits. You know, we can admit it, we all get tired, we all get fatigued.
Nan: Right. You know, we feel it; all of us feel it today, especially with so much going on. And in today’s world we all wear, you know, multiple hats. We’re having to juggle sometimes more than we can handle, you know, all of us have so many different responsibilities and sometimes it just seems like we can’t even catch our breath. So where can we possibly find the energy to continue helping other people if we can’t even help ourselves or if we don’t have the energy to help ourselves?
Lois Paula: Right. So well, to our listeners finding yourselves in the same boat, let’s get re-energized together today. We have joining us in our episode, a Kindness Ambassador who will share what kindness moves she’s made for lasting and continuous impact, despite fighting fatigue — a runner’s fatigue to be exact. So everyone let’s welcome, Renezen Benedicto. Hi Renezen!
Renezen: Hi, how are you guys?
Nan: Renezen, I just want to jump right into it because Renezen is such a unique name, but I have heard you being called by another name. Is there another name you go by?
Renezen: Yes, I have a few, but most people probably know me as Dimple.
Nan: Dimple, can you please explain — why do people call you Dimple?
Renezen: I have these monster holes on my face.
Lois Paula: Monster holes.
Nan: That sounds scary.
Renezen: It is, but they’ve been there since I was born, so like ever since I was a baby I’ve been known as Dimple.
Nan: Dimple. Okay, so it’s pretty obvious why your name is Dimple, so thank you for clarifying. So Dimple, you are a runner and you recently finished a race that you participated in and you’re also part of a running group in the Bay Area. So what is it about running that you love?
Renezen: You know I, to be honest, I never really liked running. I grew up playing sports and running was just that thing you had to do, but I think as, you know, as I got older and like, you know, everybody’s busy, running just became this way for me to still go out there and do something active and not be dependent on people’s schedule and stuff like that. And then after a while, it just became this way for me, you know, on busy days and days where it’s really stressful, like work or with everything going on in life, it’s kind of like an escape — regardless of how I feel going into the run I always walk away feeling better.
Lois Paula: That’s a beautiful way of putting it. It’s, it’s your hobby. It’s your pastime. It’s, you know your way like your, your self care type. And it’s also something that helps you physically, you get these natural endorphins that help you and make you feel better. So can you explain to us what is runner’s high Dimple? You know, there’s this natural chemical change that happens right, can you explain what is it? How do you feel? How do we get it?
Renezen: I know, I didn’t really believe it, until — for me, it’s when I hit like the third and fourth mile. Like the first two miles, I have to convince myself the whole time like — “do not quit, you just have to run a little bit more, a little bit more.” But there’s a threshold you cross, and like it just feels good. You know, there’s still pain right, like your muscles hurt and like, you’re still focusing on your breathing but everything just, I don’t know, something turns and everything just feels like you’re meant to be out there running. And for me, I think that’s what runner’s high is. I know people have described it in very different ways, but you do walk away feeling so much better at the end of it. And you you know for me like I know, I get there, when I’m running and I’m already thinking about the next place I want to run.
Lois Paula: What’s the normal run like how many miles?
Renezen: You know lately, especially right now, like for me right now a couple of miles is, is good. But I used to be able to run three to five miles, a couple of times during the week that part feels normal. And like, I live on hills so sometimes when you’re running downhill like the rush of it, is even, it builds up the exhilarating, it builds, yeah.
Lois Paula: I’m already getting pumped. I’m getting inspired, I’m going to run, not really, maybe. I need to.
Renezen: One of the things that I learned, because like I said right, running was not something that I loved growing up. And it wasn’t until a few years ago actually, where I just decided to go out there to run. Like it didn’t matter if I ran like half a mile or a mile or two miles, it was just I was just gonna go out there and if I ran half a mile and that was it. I was good, like I wasn’t going to put that pressure of “I have to run three miles I have to be this fast, at this point.” and all of that stuff and it took doing that and really falling in love with it that way, versus like — I used to sign up for races, not train until the month before, and just show up. And I think as you get older you stopped doing that because it hurts. Like, that’s not smart anymore.
Lois Paula: You stopped worrying about, about the details, so to say, you know.
Renezen: Yeah, and it’s just going out there. The Bay Area is such a beautiful place that there’s so many places that you can’t experience in a car or from just being near it, you actually have to run through it or walk through it and it’s it, you see so many different things you wouldn’t have experienced without it.
Lois Paula: And you said earlier you said you kind of just have to go out there and take that first step, which is beautiful because we can all use that you know that extra dose of happiness in our lives, especially with these times that we’re living in, you know we’ve all been at home mostly so it’s a perfect combination of both, you know, physical and mental support that you’re getting through it.
Nan: I think it’s awesome that you have these awesome experiences through running, and that you found a way to do what you love, that, at the same time you’re able to make a difference in your community during this pandemic. So, you know, we know that you love to run, but we also know that you like to help your community. So how did you find an opportunity to combine both?
Renezen: I think it was that around the time I started liking running a lot more than just, you know, something I had to do. You know I was already volunteering so I was looking at, I think I may have just ran into an article about an organization called Back On My Feet. What they do is — three times a week, they go out for runs and it’s volunteers and individuals who are currently homeless. And so, they go out to run at 5:45 in the morning. They run anywhere from a mile to I think five miles sometimes, depending on you know what your level is. The idea is, if you can commit to getting up three times a week to run at 5:45am — and for these individuals who are homeless, if they’re able to commit to that for a month, then they’re, they are able to kind of get additional help to kind of get them back on their feet basically. And I, you know, the whole concept behind it, because waking up at five in the morning to go for a run is tough.
Lois Paula: Right, that’s a sacrifice.
Nan: Not fun, not fun.
Renezen: And for them to show up, and I remember the first time I went out there and they were, you know, there was a group of them that they were out there and they have, you know — and you go out on a run with them and you start talking and you forget about who’s homeless and you forget about who’s a volunteer and you end up talking about like different experiences that they’ve had and you’ve had and these individuals in San Francisco, there’s such a big homeless population but these individuals. I don’t know, I think sometimes we have this idea of what a homeless person is like. But these guys were, you know, they came to San Francisco hoping to get a better job and they wanted to take care of their families. But, you know, life didn’t turn out that way for them. You know they ended up on the street, they ended up homeless, and they were, the fact that they were there that morning, you could tell that they were trying to get out of that situation. And so, you know, every three times a week you would just get to know these people. The more I ran, you get there at 5:45, and I was always late because I don’t know I’m the worst waker-upper, but like the recog— I think it’s because you’re out there and there’s a, you already have something in common, because you’re out there at the same time with these people. And you start like, building these relationships with them and you get to, you get to know a little bit more each time you go out there for a run with them. There was this one guy, I remember he, in his younger days he goes, “I used to be a big time runner.” like you know he used to compete a lot. And so, we would get to stop signs and I just need to stop. And he’s like “No, don’t stop, keep moving.” And like he’s giving me tips right and then he ends up telling me about his life and how he ended up on the street. And he’s trying really hard to get a job. The cool thing about the group is when somebody achieves something like if one of the individuals in the program they are able to find a job or they are able to even just complete a type of training, everyone celebrates. Like we started each one or we’re in a circle and we ended each run when we’re in a circle, there’s no like you finish your run and you’re done. Everybody starts and finishes together.
Lois Paula: That’s awesome.
Nan: That is awesome.
Lois Paula: And I like how you were talking about the fatigue that you get. But you commit, and you make that first step — and then you wake up in the morning and you forget, you know how tired you are or you forget how cold it is or whatever.
What we’re doing today is we’re looking at the similarities we’re paralleling, you know, running, and volunteering. Just like volunteering, you make that commitment to go and you forget about everything else that sets you apart and you just, you commit and you want to do it again. It’s awesome that you have found this thing that you love.
What a lot might not know, is that for every enthusiast out there — Nan is an outdoors enthusiast, you’re really active — or if you’re into fitness or sports or cooking or art or music, dance, whatever, there are organizations out there catered to helping people to that specific hobby,
Nan: You know it’s totally true like you know all of us have different hobbies and things that we’re into. Today where we’re seeing how awesome it is that Dimple you’re able to go out there and as LP mentioned earlier, we’re paralleling your running and your marathons, to your acts of kindness. But I think even the fact that you’re having these conversations. I mean I think that in itself is such a valuable thing to have. And as far as being able to help people that you might have not normally spoken to you know like, how do you feel about that like that you have these conversations and you’re able to help in that way too?
Renezen: Oh, it’s really opened my eyes to see a different population of people that I don’t even know if I would have ran into them. But yeah, it’s not just even the ones that you’re helping when you volunteer but your fellow volunteers, you know. Going out there you get to meet so many different people who may be, you know, some of them are in the corporate world, some of them are teachers, some of them are just you know trying to do something different. Some of them are retired, and they just want to keep busy and for that moment, you guys are doing something together. And I love San Francisco and I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to go in and to take advantage of the different opportunities that are out there in the city. So it’s really eye-opening, I think, because sometimes we do kind of get really busy with, you know, work in our own personal lives that we can easily get stuck in that bubble.
Nan: Right right and you know, LP mentioned earlier that you know all of us are enthusiasts, in some way, shape or form and there’s organizations out there. So you know when it comes to volunteering, do people have to settle to just finding an organization or can they get creative with it and do something on their own?
Renezen: Oh man, you can do all, all of those things. Honestly. like one of the things that I always tell people when it comes to volunteering is, you know, you can go on a website and they can list so many different opportunities there. But the truth is, that’s just the stuff that they’re able to list out there there’s so many other ways to help an organization that isn’t listed on the website and you just have to kind of take that first step and get to know that organization. Or, you know, do things on your own — I’ve seen people who have just decided I’m just going to help people and like it’s as simple as putting together, little care packages in your car right and just, you know, having it available to hand out should the opportunity present itself, Or, if you have an hour of time or you have a couple of hours during the week, like there’s opportunities out there to volunteer and it’s cool to actually find those opportunities to participate. I think there’s so many ways people can do good now.
Lois Paula: And you don’t even have to leave your house, too, right?
Renezen: Yeah you totally don’t have to like, especially now with the pandemic right, it’s a mix. Some people are scared to go out there or like they’re not as comfortable to go out to volunteer in certain places and some organizations I’ve seen less volunteers come out for certain things. But there’s opportunities to help inside your house now. Like one of the things that I think I just recently saw is, there’s organizations that coordinate weekly phone calls with senior citizens. Because no one’s visiting them, and they can’t have any visitors because you know you don’t want to put them at risk but they can answer a phone, and you can talk to them for about half an hour, and you’ve done something for somebody else already.
Nan: That’s so cool, it’s nice to know that there are so many other opportunities out there that you know you don’t necessarily have to settle for whatever organizations are around you but you can get creative with it.
Going back to your experiences as a runner — there’s no denying that in running you’re going to experience fatigue so we wanted to address the fatigue because in some shape or form all of us are feeling it especially in these times, even if we’re not runners. So what is it that pushes you to keep going to keep running, especially when like you mentioned earlier in the podcast, you said when your body’s starting to feel tired your muscles are hurting, when your body’s starting to tell you. No, I don’t want to run anymore. What pushes you?
Renezen: You know, I think the thing that people forget, is that it’s okay to pause and take a breath, like, you can take a few moments for yourself, to just pause a little bit, reset yourself and then keep going. I think we keep thinking we have to just keep going. And it’s true with any race right like, I think the last time I ran something, the virtual race that I ran like I hadn’t been training as much as I should have been for it, but I wanted to finish the 10K. So I basically, from the beginning I told myself, you’re gonna run as far as you can. But if you need to stop. If you need to start walking, you can, and like you have to give yourself, basically permission, that it’s okay to take a moment to walk to breathe. But the most important thing is you keep going.
And I think it goes with even volunteering or like life in general — it’s like it’s okay to take a second to like, think about like, what you’re doing and if that’s what you need to keep going then that’s what you need to keep going. But yeah it’s the same with running like that pressure of having to keep going, or just keep running even if everything hurts. That’s basically you putting pressure on yourself. For the most part.
Lois Paula: And you know, who wrote about this in a blog, a few years ago on incgiving.org. Can you tell us about, I think it was your first marathon that you ran. There was something beautiful that you wrote about, you know you’re feeling that, that pressure, that fatigue you were feeling tired but there’s something, someone that specifically pushed you and motivated you to move forward. Can you describe that and explain that experience to us?
Renezen: Oh, so that was. I think that was 2015, and I signed up to run my first half marathon in San Francisco. As I mentioned earlier, I used to sign up for things and not train. This would be one of those and you shouldn’t ever sign up for 13 miles and not train, and like I could barely run. I think during the whole training I ran four miles was the longest I had ever ran at that point, and then I just remember showing up thinking I don’t know.
Lois Paula: You’re like “I’m gonna do it, 13 miles here we go.”
Renezen: Yeah and, and it hurt. Like, it really hurt and San Francisco is not flat like it’s all hills. But one of the coolest things about running in those races are the people that show up just to cheer people on. Some of them are are actual volunteer some people are just in the neighborhood and they just want to cheer people who are actually out there running. I saw, there are these volunteers that basically had their hand out like you know to give high fives.
You know I’m usually the type of person who walks, you know, not very social. I went straight for those high fives, because I needed their energy like I needed something to keep me going. I didn’t want to give up on that race, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and I you know. People’s hands were out, I just went and like gave high hives like I don’t know who these people are, but you know they were out there for us.
And so I’ve actually gotten the opportunity to volunteer to be one of those people that give high fives and water. It’s so much fun — you see the determination in the face of all these runners, you know, I think that is the fastest volunteer opportunity that you can have, a high-fiver. Just giving high fives, but it makes such a big difference to the individuals that are on the receiving end.
Nan: It’s so awesome to see because you know with your running with the different volunteer opportunities that you’ve participated in, and especially with us talking about marathon running — energy and persistence, are the common denominators, in you making a difference right. So you mentioned, even if you have to take a break, the key is just like not stopping right? So if you do have energy and persistence, it’s pretty clear that you can keep this as an ongoing thing, whether it be volunteering or or running a marathon. And I think it’s really cool that you’re really showing people that you can do that through persistence and energy.
Lois Paula: Yeah and you said this earlier too , Dimple — how important those people were, that high five, like it’s so beautiful I can just feel it I can feel like the moments that, you know … We need that, we need people, we need motivation, we are inspired by one another.
So even in volunteering, you know when we see people post it on social media how easy it was to you know go out there, or whether we share it you know we invite our friends to volunteer with us — that’s us, sharing that natural, you know, like how you said the runner’s high. This is the volunteer high if you will or you know that the natural happiness that we get from doing good, we get that from each other when we share that with each other and when we invite each other to do it.
So for all of our listeners out there, when you do go out, let us know! We want to be inspired by you, we want to get that extra push from you so that we can help you know, keep this energy up like Dimple has been mentioning and, you know, kind of not get tired of doing good, we can keep going.
Lois Paula: Well, we asked you, our listeners, our Kindness Ambassadors to chime in as well about how Kindness Moves you. So for this episode. Here’s what Natalie Fitzpatrick, from Surrey British Columbia, Canada had to say about a common challenge of volunteering and how the INC Giving Project can help.
Natalie Fitzpatrick: One of the challenges, I think, in trying to volunteer is that sometimes you don’t know where the opportunities are or where your help is needed the most. But through the INC Giving Show, several examples have been given because of different projects that come about, different suggestions or recommendations that I made. Being able to donate to a food bank, being able to donate clothing or blankets during the winter time, appreciating the community, being able to offer different services like washing people’s cars for free or being able to give somebody a haircut who might not be able to afford one all the time, different examples like that. And to be able to give in those ways has inspired more creative ideas from people every day to offer their services or use their talents towards good.
I think especially for the younger generation who may not be exposed to ideas like that all the time, this is a good opportunity to get them started young, to see that you know giving back, definitely does pave the way for a brighter future. Because we’re not just helping other people feel good about themselves, we’re helping them realize that there is kindness still in the world, that there is still a community. Hence, the Church Of Christ, or people in the Church Of Christ who are here to give back, who want to help willingly and want to share their heart and soul, by doing these good things in our communities that we live in, and appreciate.
Nan: So, Dimple we just want to say thank you so much for sharing how Kindness Moves you for those that might have missed it, we said Renezen in the beginning but it is Dimple Benedicto on the show today, and she has shown us, you know how she’s taking it one step at a time, in her acts of kindness and even in the way that she is doing her acts of kindness through marathons and participating in these runs, in addition to the other awesome things that she’s done with helping people.
So, before we go though, you’ve seen the INC Giving Project grow from the very start, can you share maybe a favorite it giving moment, or an event or an experience that you had at one of the events?
Renezen: Oh man, I always have a hard time with this question.
Lois Paula: Right!?
Renezen: There are so many, like, you know, I am always moved when I get to see–I love seeing actually the smaller activities like when you see a couple of, especially smaller groups of volunteers go out there and volunteer together. But one of the events that really sticks out with me is actually a big event. It was in the Dominican Republic and LP was there, but it was a small group of volunteers compared to the number of people they were able to help, and we were able to go out there and not only meet them and shoot their stories, but we actually got to pack bags for the first time, and meet individuals who, in the community in La Romana who were going to be on the receiving end of these packages that we were preparing. It just for me, because we were such a small group of volunteers compared to how many that were there to help, it really showed just how much even the smallest of groups can do to help others. And that experience continues to stick with me even today and every other, you know, assignment that we’ve gotten on the media side and every other opportunity we’ve gotten to do for INC Giving, that experience has really, really does stick out for me as, you know, something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Lois Paula: I’m gonna get emotional, that’s my, that’s also at the top of my list of favorite moments Dimple.
Renezen: Yeah, you know, me and Jan still talk about it and we’re like, it was the end of the month and that’s usually when we had an episode due, and we were like, not sleeping okay so we’re like sleeping at two or three in the morning. And then we had to go on this assignment and we’re like “Man we are so tired.” And like we had to like, wash clothes last moment. And like just pack whatever we could find. And it was hot, but we came back it such a…
Lois Paula: It was so hot there.
Renezen: Yeah, like you forget, you forget how tired you were, or are at that point. You forget like how, like the weather is different and you’re in a different time zone you just forget all about that because you get to be right in front of the pieces that you’re actually going to be helping and the people that you were volunteering with.
Lois Paula: And that was it. It was really like literally we had no you know idea of what the plans were we were kind of just there to take part and to help where we could, you know, at one of the events, we turned the corner, and they were running after us because they had made this connection with us and they just the faces of the children, it was just such a..
Renezen: Oh yeah, the kids that would show up every single day that we were there.
Lois Paula: And there were some from the neighborhood. You know that they wanted to just help pack bags and distribute bags with us, not even being members of the Church Of Christ or INC Giving volunteers. And there was a language barrier. We spoke English, you know, I had to dust off my Spanish and, you know, it was, it was interesting to say the least. But to know that we were able to just communicate that and all together feel the power of you know really acts of kindness even without speaking a word or not understanding each other, that’s so beautiful, so That’s a good moment.
And so Dimple also before you go, you know you’ve been giving us such great advice — how to stay persistent, how to take it one step at a time, and stay energized and know if you had to share, you know, a final parting piece of advice for us and our listeners, maybe something you were given or words that pushed you forward all these years, either you know and keeping kindness contagious or feeling good no matter what, what would that be?
Renezen: That one’s hard. Honestly, it’s really just, just give it a try. Like, there’s so many things that we can do. And the, really the only thing, and I don’t know if it’s, you know, for me, I get really nervous when going into a new situation or meeting new people and it never really goes away. Even like if I volunteered at a place I still get nervous, walking into the place.
But I have never regretted trying. Like, you just have to, you see an opportunity that you like, or that you, you think you might enjoy, and you know you just, you want to try it, even a little bit just sign up for it. I think it’s just getting out the door, that, that kind of basically stops us, but you know I am thankful that I have not allowed my fear of people, you know. I think I would have regretted– if you go back to that first time running at 5:45 in the morning … I am nervous, up until I get out of the car and join the circle. Like I am nervous because I’m like “Oh no what am I gonna say I’m so nervous, I don’t know these people,” and like, you know, it’s dark I can’t see anything.
But, I never walked away regretting it and that’s what every opportunity I’ve gotten to sign up for that with, you know, every project that we’ve gotten to do for INC Giving like I have never walked away regretting participating. And I think, knowing that, that kind of helps me get over that hump of like, Oh, I’m nervous, all of that stuff. And for somebody who’s out there who’s thinking about volunteering or thinking about something that they want to try but aren’t sure if they’ll be good at it, don’t know anybody, they’ll feel different– just give it a try. Honestly, if you don’t like it, or you realize, Oh, this isn’t for me. Then find another opportunity but you won’t know until you give it a try.
Lois Paula: Absolutely.
Lois Paula: So beautiful. Thank you so much, Dimple, for your advice and for joining us and for helping motivate us to take it one step at a time and to just, you know, not think about the details and to just give it a try.
Nan: Yeah, thank you so much for joining us and I think, for our listeners I mean Dimple already mentioned it like to never give up and I think if you’re listening to this podcast or you’re thinking about volunteering, you have already started that move forward in helping someone. So you shouldn’t give up, like what Dimple said don’t give up just try it. Don’t let ourselves be, you know, the limiting factor. So thank you so much Dimple for, for sharing all that with us.
Renezen: Thanks for having me.
Lois Paula: Dimple has written a few blogs as well on incgiving.org as well with her experiences and her volunteering opportunities, and even advice on you know virtual volunteering throughout this time. So if you are interested in learning more, you can visit incgiving.org.
Nan: All right, so our listeners thank you again for joining us. Let’s stay tuned for discussions on how kindness heals, how doing good is not only healthy for the heart and the mind, but also for the soul. We’ll also learn some daily steps to move towards more positive thinking and in turn doing.
Lois Paula: Thank you so much for tuning in. I’m Lois Paula.
Nan: And I’m Nan. For more tips and ideas on how you can make kindness contagious, please visit incgiving.org.
Lois Paula: And you can add us to your playlist of favorites or download more episodes of Kindness Moves the podcast brought to you by the INC Giving Project, on Google podcasts, I Heart Radio and Apple podcasts. Remember, act now. Make your move to do good, because kindness matters. It’s meaningful, it motivates — kindness moves.