Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
We have learned that one of the best indicators of a good path is feeling good, and hopelessness wasn’t feeling good. We felt burned out and unsure of our self. We didn’t feel alive.
We felt this battle in us. We wanted to be free to make our choices based on inspiration rather than fear, but how can we feel that everything is okay when children are starving, water is poisoned, and we are killing each other and the planet? Clearly that is not okay, right?
We didn’t want to rise up out of the realities of our world and pretend for the sake of our peace of mind that this wasn’t happening. We wanted to be present and meet our world’s problems, as well as our fear and pain, with compassion, and then to make a choice that feels good - because the last thing the world needs is another hopeless human.
Of course none of these, or anything else that you are striving for, are bad motives. But what would it be like if your primary motive was to feel alive? Would that change your ability to put your family first or to achieve some new level of excellence?
It may seem that what brings you alive is at odds with your obligations or even your other values. When you have people depending on you or a mortgage or debt, you may not feel free to pursue your joy.
In truth, enlivening yourself will always feed what is important to you if you remember these three things:
The little changes that would easily fit into your current life make a big difference. For example, feeling connected to the world brings someone to life. We could travel and live on communes or volunteer in refugee camps but that would be difficult with my toddler twins. Having potlucks and building garden beds in neighbors’ yards isn’t as romantic, but its easier and enlivening.
Your happiness feeds your relationships, your work, your health, and every other part of your life. And your happiness is fed by every part of your life. That means that you can’t sacrifice one thing that is important to you at the expense of another and you don’t have to. It will all work together.
You are not trapped by anything in your life. If you decide that you need to travel to be happy, you can. Sell the house, home school the kids, do whatever it takes. Do some research and you will find that there is someone already living in the way that you think isn’t possible.
Your happiness is a gift that sends a ripple of joy endlessly out. It is your deposit of aliveness into the collective experience of life. Your life is what you have to offer; when your life is full and vibrant, you give that energy to every other living thing.
Joy brings out the best in you. It naturally brings out your generosity and creativity. Your genius comes forth and you have the energy to apply it. If every person on the planet were accessing their potential in this way the logistical problems of food and shelter for everyone would be easily solved.
Caring for others is an inevitable part of enlivening yourself. When you feel alive and happy you want that for everyone else and you begin to see how other people’s happiness will add to your own.
If you don’t know, experiment. What brings you into the present moment? What gives you energy?
What feels good to do? Notice without judging or questioning whether it’s worth your time.
Your happiness is worth your time, and it’s more powerful than you realize. It impacts everyone in your life. Also, your joyful interactions set an example for how we might share the planet in peace.