The other evening I received a phone call from one of “my boys”. He said, “Thank-you, you saved my life”. My response was the same as it always is, “No kid, you saved your life….I just reminded you it was worth saving.” If that sounds immodest, you would be wrong. Humility is one of the building blocks to a happy life. Once we recognize the limitations of our influence we can stop taking responsibility (feeling guilty) over things for which we have limited or no control. I took this I Can Achieve contest as an opportunity to share my secrets of achieving JOY, PEACE & LOVE with a larger audience… not that my regular Angels of the Road readers aren’t important but all ya’ll have heard most of this stuff. Now, for the first time, here it is all in one place LOL.
Live outside yourself… I’m not sure what it is in our nature, the need to be needed or simply a distraction from self-assessment. But giving our energy to others (family or strangers) seems to fulfill something in our souls. Maybe it is just that by helping others we tend to appreciate what we have (in my case “am”). When we have appreciation we spend less time wanting and Buddhism teaches that wanting is the source of all our suffering.
Be realistic… optimism & pessimism both ignore aspects of any situation, which is dangerous because it leaves things that need to be dealt with undone. The realist says, “My glass is half empty, so I better start searching for a new water source, while it is still half full”.
Be humble… do what you can and rejoice in that… Canada has 170,000 homeless in shelters (50,000 are street people) I can’t help them all… but I can make any given moment a little easier & a little more enjoyable. And for some (like the young man who called me) that changes everything.
Be focused… there are a million places in the world that need help, find one speaks to your heart and give your time and energy to that. You can find yourself pulled in too many directions even by related issues; if you give in to this you will burnout. My focus is one on one outreach with street people, helping them find enough hope and self love to move themselves forward in their lives. Someone else will make the sandwiches, provide the blankets and provide the resources… it is for me to touch a heart and stir it to action. I support housing initiatives, welfare reform and most antipoverty causes to a limited extent. But I am a pebble; I am secure that one life touched ripples out touching others with its wake. The world is a better place for each small change.
Be kind … first with yourself, everyone makes mistakes (has a bad day) but as long as you do the best you can in any given moment you should be proud. Then extend that courtesy to others and appreciate that everyone one is doing the best they can and forgive any shortfalls.
Be respectful… it is not for us to judge another person, we have not lived in their head or in their life. I’m not going to tell you everyone is innately good…some people are just assholes, but it doesn’t make them or the situation any better by disrespecting them. Treating everyone with respect & kindness speaks to who you are and makes the world a better place for your having passed through it.
Be honest… this is probably at the root of everything. When you are honest you accept your limitations, take responsibility (& action) when you can. A person never has to live with guilt or regret when they have done what they honestly can do. Now you know how to create a life filled with joy, peace & love.
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