Celebrating 28 With The Decision To Serve

30 May

There’s been a lot sitting in my heart lately.  It’s been rattling around and causing me to ask myself a lot of questions.  I’ve been avoiding blogging and others because I’ve felt the need to go inward; to find my own answers.

Lately unhappiness has stopped by, but unlike before I can’t attribute it to anything concrete.  I’ve been walking around in this cloud, unable to identify what brought the fog, starting to ask myself, “why am I so petty?  Things are good, aren’t they?”

But see, that’s the problem.  Things are good; things haven’t been this good ever.  Every faucet of my life (almost) is stable: my job, my friends, my family and relationships all are running smoothly.

In Yoga there’s an expression that I love and believe to be true: You can only see your reflection in a still lake.  Only in calm can you see yourself, and I haven’t been thrilled by everything that I’ve been looking at.

My mistakes, my losses, all of what I haven’t yet learned to let go has been laughing at me, and with it are some other things like wasted time, fear, disappointment and all those other obstacles that we all struggle with and battle against.  These emotions have been stealing my sleep, and when that goes I know that changes need to be made.

So enters, “what needs to change?” I had a thousand answers, but they all seemed wrong; seemed like my standard pattern of unnecessarily uprooting what’s just finally beginning to blossom.

These thoughts were encircling me on my last day in Philadelphia (where I recently visited).  I was walking the streets on a beautiful day, after just attending a learning conference and spending the night with friends.

Here I was in an historic city that I’ve always wanted to visit, a city that birthed our very Constitution, and I was forlorn for no clear reason.  Then I saw a young girl, about eight years old.  She was wearing yellow shorts and using her metal legs to strut down the street.

It was shocking to encounter such an injury; like a bomb on a quiet day, being hit when you least expect it.  Not by sorrow, but by life and reality of others.  A reminder of how life can be; that it can take away the legs of a child, and yet she can still learn to walk – the  pain and hope all wrapped up in one little being.

This led me to buy the book The Heart & The Fist, a book about a Rhodes Scholar, humanitarian who decides to become a Navy Seal.  This man has done human rights work all over the world, and came to the conclusion that life is about both living from the heart and being strong when needed.  That is why he chose to become a Seal; to embody aide both in giving and in defense.

His words moved me, and the image of the young girl stayed with me and my best friend’s wise words echoed, “Our actions create our perception of our self and our perception of our self creates our actions.”

I realized that I’ve been unhappy because my calm lake is only reflecting my own face back to me; my life is only about me.  There is no greater purpose than my own satisfaction; the only person I’m serving is I, and since I’ve served myself well; have led myself to the point of stability it is time to start truly helping others with my own hands and heart.

So, with my 28th birthday a month away, I’ve decided to set the goal of raising money for a volunteer trip to either work at an orphanage or serve at a school.  At the moment I’m not yet announcing which one because there are so many programs that I’d like to do some more research before I pick one.

After I consult those who know more than me on these matters, I will make a formal announcement with all the details on this very blog.

Though this is just one small step in the larger journey of purpose, I am very excited to embrace this challenge because what better way to start a new year then by helping others?   What better way to begin a new beginning then by reaching out?  It is here, I believe that I will discover the tides of my own heart and hope that they will led me where I’m meant to go, a meaning that is more than just me.

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