mAgNoLia 2

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Living Large

I wrote in my journal for this coming year that I wanted to do something to make a real difference in the lives of other people. I was thinking just this evening that I have already done that; I have played a key role in saving the lives of at least two young men that I know of and I have notably had a positive impact in the lives of many others. I am sublimely grateful to have been of service and appreciate what an honor it is to play that role for another human being so I can’t help but wonder at this sense of dissatisfaction I feel at not yet having done enough. I actually think about things like; is being an artist and writer really enough to be of service? As I mentally meander down this path of what is enough and think of the things I have done like the 6 cats I am currently the care taker of; all of whom are rescues and yes, I do feel like I am on the verge of being a crazy cat lady. Then I get to this point where I realize I didn’t “do” anything to get to the point where I was acting to save people’s lives. The time when I was a kid out riding my bike and I helped stop a fire from burning down a neighbor’s town home; started by two kids who had been playing with matches. Or when this kid mentioned in a meeting that two years prior I said something to him that changed his life and his relationship with his alcoholic Mother, I had no idea at the time I was saying something that would be so profound. When I followed a nudge to visit a friend from Vietnam who didn’t speak much English and neither did his family only to find out that he needed to immediately be taken to the hospital because he had sever appendicitis. The surgeon later told me if they had operated a moment later he would have died because it rupture as it was removed. Or the time I realized that one young man’s threats of suicide were a dispirit cry for help from someone who had been abused and simply needed to be heard. I counseled him for a number of months when I finally was able to get him to a point where he felt he could go to a professional for help. When sexual abuse comes from an authority figure in a child's life it can be extremely difficult if not impossible for a person to feel safe going to an authority figure to ask for help. 

It is in dwelling on how I had arrived at each of these experiences I realized that I had been given the privilege to serve by trusting my intuition, listening to others, paying attention and stepping fully into those moments. It also means having courage. Courage doesn't mean you aren't afraid; what it does mean is that you know what needs to be done and that you are going to do it anyway, or find someone who can, even though you may be afraid. So I guess what I am saying here is that to really live your life BIG you have to be present in the moment because you never know when life will give you the opportunity to make a difference and on those blessed times when you actually get to witness the results – to see how your actions have allowed you to be of service to another soul (not all of them are human) embrace it with gratitude. There is nothing so humbling, beautiful, divine or moving as to know you mattered; you made a difference in another’s life. And if by chance someone has made a difference in your life be generous and take the time and share with him or her and who knows, you might get the chance to return the favor.

And though I have to keep reminding myself YES, being an artist, writer and following my dreams is enough. In doing what I love I am being a source for that love and compassion in the world. Why do I say compassion? Well, in learning to be more compassionate with myself I have a greater capacity to give that love and compassion to others because; you can’t give what you don’t have.