All of life is connected. What I do has a flow on effect to those and the world around me; both for good, and for the not so good. I hope that the life I live creates a positive echo; A sound that makes a difference. And I’ve been touched by strangers met traveling that making a difference doesn’t happen in doing great things for others, but in filling small everyday moments with openness and kindness.
Mother Teresa in her nobel peace prize acceptance speech commends talks about the impact of doing small things with great love. “We must live life beautifully, we have Jesus with us and He loves us. If we could only remember that God loves me, and I have an opportunity to love others as he loves me, not in big things, but in small things with great love, then Norway becomes a nest of love.” Mother Teresa. “Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.” December 11, 1979 Oslo, Norway.
The culture and demands of city life press us to turn self-focused. Our individualism and separation from each other is emphasised with increasing scale. And an increasing dissonance can grow between the good of the common and our individual rights. For example we contest impacts of alcohol reform for the greater good, on our right to consume. Or we think affordable housing is a good thing, but not in our neighbourhood (it might affect house values).
The separation of individuality and our commonality does not need to be a battle. We cannot contribute effectively to the common good if we have not paid attention to ourselves. It is hard to love and care for others well if we fail to take good care of ourselves. It is not one or the other. We are better humans when we have great connections with others; and we have great connections with others when we better ourselves.
My friend’s fight with cancer has brought this into sharp realisation. In a moment of receiving the news I was changed. Every moment, every person is now glaringly precious. And yet as much as I want to spill my life to make her struggle light, I am not much of a friend if I have not taken care of myself so I can continue to bring joy, lightness and kindness not just in this moment but throughout her entire fight. My tendancy has been to go all in previously and burn out. Now love and friendship motivates me to ensure I’m filled with energy to love in the small things.