If you feel yourself overwhelmed from time to time by the darkness in the world, be it from current events in the news, or personal struggles, I wanted to offer some encouragement today that might lighten the burden.
The American writer Edith Wharton once wrote, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Even when we find ourselves with so little light to share, the one thing sure to enhance our defense against the darkness is reflecting the light we encounter. When we act as a mirror, amplifying the light, we light the way for others.
In that spirit, here are seven simple ways to cast or reflect light:
- Send a simple, honest compliment out of the blue.
- Give people hope through direct assistance.
- Introduce someone to a helpful resource.
- Provide pathways to free education and hands-on learning.
- Introduce two of your friends who do not know one another yet.
- Include people in efforts for common (or community) good.
- Find opportunities to be a good listener.
The next time you despair, rouse your waning energy to attempt one of these seven small acts. Though they may not solve all of your problems, or reverse the course of the world, they will give you a lift and light your way forward.
All the best, Cindy
If you’re like most people, you may wake up feeling like you’re already behind the proverbial 8-ball. The clock is running. There’s a lot to do. More sleep would have been nice, but hey, here we go.
Sometimes we forget to count our blessings for what we possess in abundance. If we have food, shelter, and our health, it’s easy to overlook these gifts. As soon as one of these “basics” falls short we have a dramatically revised view of our world.
There are people out there who struggle every day to make sure their necessary bases are covered. It’s all to easy to allow our hectic work and social schedules obscure the view of those in need. When we neglect to reach out to our neighbors, we both fail to do what we can to reduce suffering and we deny ourselves the pleasures of sharing.
Rather than submitting to a blindness common to the “luxury of your essentials,” I encourage shifting over to an abundance mindset. With an abundance mindset, you recognize with gratitude what you have and ask yourself two fundamental questions:
- How can I reduce someone’s suffering today?
- What can I give away today?
Good fortune may give you more than you need, making charity easy. Other times, you may only be able to spare a kind word. Regardless of how much or how little you may be able to contribute on any single day, holding fast to an abundance mindset can brighten the lives of those around you and make your days more fulfilling.
At times, uncertainty can plague us. Nothing robs us of today’s real joys like the worries over tomorrow’s possible disasters. Unfortunately, in our attempts to predict the future, we shortchange ourselves of the moment we’re living. While there is a place for common sense preparation in our lives — i.e. preparing a hurricane kit, keeping an eye out for plumbing leaks, changing the batteries in our smoke detectors — pure panic about the days to come serves us not at all.
Or does it? What are we getting out of all this worry about our future? Why do we feel compelled to fret about catastrophe?
Worrying is a form of control. It isn’t a terribly effective one, as events beyond our control remain beyond our control, but it helps us maintain the illusion that we’re engaged with or vigilant about what threatens us. If you’ve ever felt like your problems will strike just at the moment you let down your guard, you may be addicted to worrying as a form of control.
Instead of worrying, I would instead offer you this alternative: Turn your fear and anxiety into direct action. Sometimes these actions may be small. It may mean joining a civic group matching your interests or writing local politicians about something you feel important. It may mean making small changes in your diet or exercise plan to help your health. It may take the form of meeting with a friend or counselor to voice your fears and put them in perspective.
Do what you can do, and try to put aside the “crutch” of worry. Trade it in for gratitude for what you have within your grasp, be it friends, family, or a simple cup of coffee and time to reflect.
All the very best,