I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only
ones among you who will be really happy are those who will
have sought and found how to serve.
There are big changes coming for all of us on this beautiful blue planet. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, young or old, black, white or yellow, the changes are coming and they are coming fast. They will affect each and every one ofus as well as generations to come. Even the least aware of us feel it: a quickening of our life style, a churning in the stomach, a tenseness in the air. The old world order is rapidly changing and the new one is still undifferentiated. Regardless of our attempts to work harder, be smarter or do things differently the complexity and magnitude of change that is needed to meet the escalating challenges of the future are coming towards us like a runaway freight train. The automatic knee jerk response is to protect our families and ourselves; to take care of “our own”. But, this reaction only reinforces the myth of separation that is at the heart of the suffering, despair and habitat destruction that has been growing and threatening all life on this planet. We are all in this together.
We are in the time of what Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning, the shift from our current industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization. Our fragile earth can no longer sustain the perpetual growth cycles of our global economic system. We have the tools and resources to transition to a social economic system which supports all life and can lead to a more deeply connected, egalitarian and peaceful world. To be in service to the Great Turning is to overcome our habitual behavior and be in action towards the kind of world we want. But, even more important than that, we need to live the dream now, by focusing our intention on what we want to bring forth in this time of transition. Our thoughts, words and actions need to be aligned with a larger vision, one that encompasses all life. What would our lives look like if we were able to see the light in all people, while acting in service to our common dream of a world that works for the children of all species, for all time? Are not our actions today the most important gift we have to give to our descendants?
“Service is the only possible response to a world in chaos that is
falling apart in every way…”
We tend to say, “I don’t have time, I’m struggling to make ends meet, I’m not big enough, smart enough, rich enough, or just somehow flawed and not enough. Each of us has all the skills we need to contribute to the changes that are necessary. The way this is expressed is as unlimited as our individuality. We are enough to meet the present with clear eyes, to give a kind word or take the hand of someone who is dying and afraid, and that’s enough. Being of service is a way to cut through the chaos of our lives and the world in order to find clarity and thrive in these changing times. Serving others takes us out of our limiting stories and lets us explore the depths of consciousness within our universal humanity. It teaches us to love our own heart and all that arises within it, and it softens us to the human condition of fear, denial and suffering. We become tenderized, open and vulnerable as the walls of separation dissolve and we learn what it really means to love, for service is love in action.
Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to our
true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves,
but for the many others whose lives we touch.
We cannot care for others and sacrifice ourselves in the process. This can lead to burn out, illness, frustration and despair. To be of service we must take care of our basic needs, take time to be still in nature, exercise and take care of bodies. This is a gift we not only give to ourselves, but to our families, friends, the people we serve as well as future generations. To really make a difference in the outer world, we need to cultivate the inner one with caring attention and a grateful heart. To steward our whole self, heart, body, mind and spirit, is to become a good steward of our planet. This is when we can truly give the gift we came here to share with the spirit of life itself.
True service does not come from ego or self-glorification, it comes from recognizing ourselves in the sacred otherness of all beings, it is an act of inter-being “… (the nature of inter-being, there is no true well-being that does not consider the well-being of others.” – Thich Nhat Hanh) It is here that real happiness lies. This is a spiritual truth that has passed the test of time. Those of us who selflessly serve their community will find peace and joy beyond words and worldly pleasures.
I hope you will join me this month in discovering where it is that your divine gifts are wanted and needed and offer them to your community and the world. This is one of the key issues we will be exploring in the upcoming Shift Network, Shamanic Coaching course.
with love and blessings,
“You carry Mother Earth within you,
She is not just outside of you.
Mother Earth is not just your environment.”
Thich Nhat Hanh