After a break from this space, it feels somewhat ill-timed to begin posting today in the aftermath and midst of hurricanes, in the aftermath and midst of forest fires. It seems there’s always something. War and refugees and unrest and poverty and disease. There are people all over the world facing real danger and real hardships every day. And here I am, writing a blog.
But I believe there is work to be done by everyone. For some of us, it is fighting the fires. For some of us, it is rescuing the flooded-in stranger. For some of us, it is driving the ambulance. For some of us, it is legislating laws that help people. For some of us, it’s packing the lunches and scrubbing the toilets. For some of us, it’s making the donation. For some of us, it’s writing or painting or public speaking. For lots of us, it’s a combination of things.
I watch the news and follow the reports. My heart aches for the people who lose loved ones and homes and jobs. My heart aches for the forests and polar ice caps and wetlands. My heart aches. It’s enough to make me want to throw in the proverbial towel. But instead I choose this: I feed my family and clean our house. I guide my children in their studies. I love my family and friends and neighbors. I recycle and try to reduce and reuse. I write. I photograph. I share my creative work with the wider world. I make a difference in this world by doing my work…that of family and home, that of heart. I give where and when and how I can.
You can do this too. Whatever your work is – at home, at the office, in the studio, in the classroom, in the hospital – you can do this too. Do your work with whole-heartedness. Do it with intention. Give where and when and how you can.
Yesterday, I was discussing Mary Oliver’s poem “The Buddha’s Last Instruction” with my daughter. “Make of yourself a light” said the Buddha, before he died. We talked about what that might mean…to me, to her, to others. But especially to her. I want her to honor and celebrate her strengths; I want her to understand how her strengths will light the way for others.
I was looking for another quote to illustrate this quiet, yet powerful point, but was unable to find it. I think it’s Thoreau, but I’ve been front-to-back and back-to-front in my quotes journal, and my eyes keep missing the one for which I’m looking. My eyes did settle on this quote though, so I’ll share it instead:
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Yes, it’s that too. Wherever you live in this wide world, may you shine your light. May you do what you can today, with what you have. May you do it with heart, may you do it with intention. However best you can.
sending a little love your way, m
**Registration for Just Five Things is now open. Class begins Monday, September 18 and we’re doing something special this time around. Click right here to learn more and to register.
**If you’re looking for a place to make a donation, the Red Cross is always a good choice. Click here, if inspired.