Plant your seeds.

harvest

Doing the right thing, the kind thing, the compassionate thing is an act of faith. You may never see the results of your action. You may never know that your courage in doing the right thing inspired someone else who, without that example, may have chosen the expedient thing, or the self-serving thing, or the popular thing. You may never know that the kind words you said gave someone an affirmation they desperately needed. You may never know that your kind thing spread exponentially outward into a billion kind things. You may feel that doing the right thing cost you somehow or was foolish or self-destructive. But you know it is the right thing, so you do it because you have faith that it will make a difference.

Those seeds of kindness that you sow take on a life of their own. They couple with other kind things and spread, though that may be largely invisible to you. Take heart from this video of a seed sprouting. Have faith that what you do makes a difference.

And remember, as stated by Cynthia Occe, “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out, and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

 

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Begin with a dream

Harriet

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. There is nothing that has ever happened to help this world that didn’t start with someone believing the world could be better and dreaming of a way to make it so. No matter how wildly unbelievable or preposterous the dream, someone had the audacity to challenge the status quo and the tenacity to make it happen.

What is your dream? How will you reach for the stars to change the world?

How to carry a heavy load

load

We are weighed down. The tasks ahead seem dauntless; the burdens great. There is so much to be done, and seemingly so little time. Yet, we know that others before us have been able to carry heavy burdens with grace and inner strength. How do they do it? Some ideas:

Evaluate your load. Is it really yours to carry? Holding on to other people’s problems is debilitating because we have no control over their actions. Similarly, feeling like you’re bearing the weight of a global problem on just our own shoulders is both unrealistic and unnecessary. We can help and support someone struggling, and work with others toward a common goal on larger problems, and those are properly our burdens, but we can’t force someone to behave as we would have them, and we, alone, cannot solve a problem like world hunger and peace that is so much greater than any one person. We must discern how best to offer our support and efforts, but realize that, sometimes, the ultimate solutions are beyond our control.

Focus on the gift of that present moment. It is easy to get overwhelmed in a crisis. We see or experience them daily, but when we focus on the present moment as an opportunity to help others, our perception shifts away from the weight of the burden to the lightness that comes from helping others. Yes, there is a refugee crisis, but perhaps we can help. Yes, we’ve lost our job, but perhaps that is an opportunity to do something we’ve dreamed about. Part of the burden that comes from bad things happening is trying to hold on to the world as it existed before the crisis. We mourn the loss and rail against the unfairness. But when we lay that down, and focus on the new reality and challenges present now, in the life we have now, we feel lighter.

Recognize a larger perspective. We will not always be here in this dark place. A new day will come bringing new possibilities and circumstances. We must hold on and look for the bigger picture, remembering that there are ebbs and flows to life, and that this too shall pass.

Ask for help. Sometimes we best carry our burdens by letting someone else share them. We are made to support each other. Perhaps helping you with your burden is the answer to someone else who feels that they lack purpose. Win-win. Life will surprise you that way.

Yes, we are burdened. Life can be hard. As M. Scott Peck says in The Road Less Traveled,

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Amaze yourself. We are stronger than we realize and braver and smarter and more capable, and sometimes we just have to close our eyes and push forward. For inspiration, consider this video of an actual burden and use it as a metaphor for the burdens you face today:

 

 

You’ve got this.

 

 

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Be kind.

kindness

Kindness isn’t something you ponder in your heart. It is something you do–with your hands, with your words, with your gifts. Person to person, face to face. Lift those who have fallen; feed those who are hungry; speak up for those without a voice; reach out to those who feel alone.

In her song, Hands, Jewel reminds us that even when our hands are small, they are the tools we have to help others and we must use them. That is the way we will use our lives to make a difference for the better in the lives of those around us.

When she was 18, pop singer Jewel lived in a van. One day, she walked into a store to shoplift a dress; but looking at her hands, she realized she controlled them. “I realized I was cheating myself.” Here’s a song titled ‘Hands’ with a beautiful refrain: ‘In the end, only kindness matters.”

Listen to Jewell’s beautiful song here. And, today, contemplate her words:

We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

Today, be kind. Look for any and every opportunity to make a difference.

 

One step at a time.

firststep

Have you ever been overwhelmed before you even get out of bed in the morning? The problems of the day seem too big; you seem too small? At times like these, it is important to breathe deep, close your eyes and think of all the things and people you love, and then remember that you don’t have to solve all the problems now. You just have to do the next right thing. Step by step, piece by piece, showing up and moving forward.

Take the time to find a quiet place and remember whose you are and that each moment is a gift. To help, here is a lovely video that will start you with  a wonderful perspective with which to face the day.