We live in challenging times of this no one can argue.
It can leave a person feeling untethered and aimless, for what do the details and troubles of one individual matter in the grand scheme? A lot more than you think.
War, pestilence, pandemic, and woe have plagued mankind since we separated from our ape brethren or an Almighty God breathed life into us. Whatever your belief system, we know our species started somewhere at some point, and that is when the trouble began.
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
This biblical quote was written well over two thousand years ago when we all assume novelty was in abundant supply.
It teaches us that we need to give ourselves and others a break by recognizing problems and existence go hand in hand.
We’d all like to stop suffering, end tears, and ensure every sentient being has their needs met, but how?
As in all things, it’s about starting with the basics. We don’t need to overcomplicate things because many others already play out that role.
1. Fill your cup until it overflows.
Not the exact bible quote, but close enough, considering each version uses its own vocabulary.
Iyanla Vanzant explains its meaning in the most beautifully simplistic way:
“You know: 'My cup runneth over.' What comes out of the cup is for y'all. What's in the cup is mine. But I've got to keep my cup full.”
If your cup is chronically depleted, then you have nothing to give.
If you continue trying to impact life, running on empty or half-full, you won’t be as beneficial to others as you intend to be.
If you don’t have it, you can’t share it.
So focus on activities that keep you fulfilled and compassionate while maintaining a willingness to share once overflow is available.
Start small, fifteen minutes a day, and see where it leads.
2. Be discerning.
In a compelling commencement speech, Matthew McConaughey advises us to
“Choose it because you want it. Do it because you want to.”
Don’t live your life based on anyone else’s expectations and limitations.
You get to decide every day where to put your attention. And as we all know, what you nurture grows.
Remember, the opposite is also true. When you remove attention and energy from what is insignificant and doesn’t serve, it shrivels and dies.
Check in periodically with your inner voice and question whether the thoughts bouncing around inside serve your purposeful it or not.
3. Focus on peace.
The Dalai Lama says,
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
Changing the self is the quickest way to influencing the world.
When you see the attributes within that don’t engender peace, you gain compassion for a world that doesn’t express it externally.
Whatever you want in life, peace, joy, love, forgiveness, give it first to yourself.
When it fills you to overflowing, share it with everyone you can.