How to Live a Rich and Meaningful Lifestyle by Desirae Ofori

How to Live a Rich and Meaningful Lifestyle by Desirae Ofori

Recently, I was invited to attend the Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon, hosted by the Lakeland Regional Health Foundation. The invitation came with the offer to cover the event on

Jane Seymour (yes, THE Jane Seymour a.k.a. Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) was the keynote speaker and I was so excited! I mean who doesn’t know Dr. Quinn?? And if you’ve never seen an episode, then I’m sure you’ve at least seen the commercials for the Open Heart Jewelry line.

Jane Seymour's bio
Jane Seymour’s bio

After doing a quick research on Women in Philanthropy, I realized just how honorable it would be for me to attend. I mean this is the same group that helped fundraise for the hospital’s new women and children’s pavilion I gave birth in this summer. I even wrote about the pavilion here in “What’s New at Lakeland Regional Health Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion”.

Honestly, I second guessed if I should go. Not only because of the logistics of childcare, but did I “deserve” to be there? Who was I? And was my blog significant enough to cover such an event?

My mind thought about the monetary part of being a Philanthropist, but then I reminded myself of the giving of self part of Philanthropy and accepted the fact that I indeed belonged to have a “seat at the table”.

At the core, I believe I have a Philanthropic heart. I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I feel like the desire to help people regardless of what I have or who they were, has always been a part of me.

So instead of backing out, I secured a babysitter, confirmed my RSVP and waited for the day. And I’m so glad that I went! It was a beautiful event and I even had the chance to meet and talk to Ms. Seymour for a little bit. I also saw some friends and fairly new acquaintances and it really put me at ease and after awhile I felt like I belonged. I have to admit, it felt pretty cool and awesome being there.

I loved Ms. Seymour’s speech and it really helped me to continue to put things into perspective. It reminded me of how giving back and of yourself is what it truly means to live a rich and meaningful lifestyle.

How to Live a Rich and Meaningful Lifestyle Feature photo
How to Live a Rich and Meaningful Lifestyle

The Beauty of Giving Back

Jane said that everyone has challenges and that it’s natural to hold it to yourself and not let anyone know about it. However, when we reach out to help someone else it gives us purpose. Helping others is also a gift to ourselves to help us move on with our lives and challenges. She also talked about how when we are able to touch, feel, and be a part of giving back, it’s actually more valuable than just giving a check.

Jane also shared her story of how early on in her acting career having an out of body near death experience. She said that she spoke up and said, “If you give me a chance, I’d like to get back into my body, I have things to do and children to raise”.

Jane Seymour Keynote Speaker of Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon
Jane Seymour Keynote Speaker of Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon

She went on to talk about the important lesson she learned that day,

“I realized… when you pass there are only two things that matter in life. The love you shared and the difference you’ve made.”

She also said it’s not about the money, awards, houses or estates, but about the difference you’ve made in the life of others.” Sometimes Jane also teaches art in nursing homes and places for children. She says that painting healed her. She painted for herself. Even her art is philanthropic.

Passing on the Wealth

That heart of philanthropy has passed on to Jane’s children and grandchildren as they create and engage in multiple volunteer related work. Her daughter puts together care packages to pass out to homeless women and children. One of her granddaughters makes greeting cards with her friends for nursing home patients who have no one to visit them.

Jane also has another granddaughter, who founded Young Hearts and is working on an app to link the people who want to volunteer with the organizations that need volunteers. Philanthropy has become a way of fun and life to her grandchildren.

Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon. Photo by Desirae Ofori
Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon. Photo by Desirae Ofori

Jane stated that her daughter helped her to realize, that although Millenials may not have the finances to help, they do have and give their time. Think about it. That is something we all can do regardless of what our bank accounts look like. That in turn makes us more rich than we could ever imagine.

I personally believe that giving back and helping others has a high return on investment – even if your account doesn’t reflect it. The payback can come in the security of your health, the wellbeing of your family, opportunities, blessings, and the warmth in your heart when you’ve helped someone who can’t “pay you back”.

Desirae Ofori with Jane Seymour
Desirae Ofori with Jane Seymour

So give it a thought. In what ways can you live a more rich and meaningful life filled with purpose? What is something you can do to give of your time? Who can you support? Who can you be a blessing to? It doesn’t have to be huge to make a difference. Just start with what you know and what you have in your hands.

P.S. If someone offers you an opportunity or shares that they see something valuable in you, don’t doubt them – say thank you and go for it! Don’t dim the light they see in you, let that light guide you to the great places you never knew existed. This is also an extension of living a more rich and meaningful life.

Desirae Ofori with Jane Seymour
Desirae Ofori with Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour will be back to Central Florida, in Bradenton, Florida, January 18-19, 2019 to celebrate the Open Heart sculpture presentation. Her hope is for the open heart to be a symbol of giving and receiving love.

To learn more about the Women in Philanthropy click here, as they are now accepting volunteers.


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