It feels like the world is going mad.
There is a pandemic that has not disappeared, despite other stuff happening. The protests against injustice and police brutality are a valid reaction to the number of black people being killed over nothing — especially when white people never face the same threats for equal or greater crimes.
Don’t even get me started on politics, taxes, greedy business practices, and the other insanities of the world today. It takes very little for me to start feeling down, hopeless, angry, fearful, and lots of other negative emotions.
In the face of all of this, it feels like continuing to take action to walk my path is selfish. How can I go after things to improve my life when there is so much shit happening in the world today?
The better question, however, is — how can I not? The path I am walking for my life is not selfish, greedy, or destructive. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Thus, to walk my path in the middle of all this is part of how I can help to do something about it.
It all begins personally
Recently, someone close to me did something that caused another person they cared about to hurt a lot. While they knew their action was going to cause pain in the moment, ultimately it would release them both.
All of us experience things that cause us pain — physically, emotionally, spiritually, sometimes even all three. A lot of the things that cause us to feel pain are utterly outside of our control. Think of these things in the terms of concentric circles — you at the center.
Some circles are way, way out. They are occupied by those like Trump, McConnell, and the other so-called “leaders” doing the awful things they are doing. Their impact is largely indirect (but still a thing).
Then some circles are closer. These are occupied by bosses, teachers, friends of friends. People not necessarily part of your inner circles, but a lot closer and more directly impactful on your life.
Once you get to the inner circles, it gets far more personal. Friends, family, and loved ones occupy the innermost circles. The things that they do tend to directly impact your life because you care about them.
What’s more, you care about what they think about you. So if they do something that causes you to feel hurt — of you do something that you know will cause them to hurt — it creates an unwanted experience.
The important take-away from all of this is that, ultimately, you choose how you think and feel. Yes, those circles will set you off and impact upon you. But that impact, how it phases you, is entirely up to you.
The further out the circle, the less I can do to work with it. As such, when that circle impacts me I can generally only respond for my own accord.
What has this got to do with how I walk my path?
When I allow outside influence to alter how I think and feel, it’s on me to accept it or change it. So when I see injustice and selfishness causing pain, I have a choice. Take that pain in and absorb it, internalize it — or take that pain in and take action to alleviate it.
Because of COVID-19, I can’t attend any protests. But I am a writer, and I can share ideas to inspire others to help, support those in need, and offer my own support.
When it comes to how I walk my path it is largely about my writing. While I strive to make my fiction works sell better and get me out there, I ALSO am working to make a name for myself in the self-help, inspiration, self-improvement world, too.
Though I desire to make money following this path, it is more important to me to do something for others. Whether it’s creating an awesome diversion or sparking imagination from my fiction — or — inspiring self-care, self-improvement, and mindfulness practice with my nonfiction — my greatest desire is to give back to the world.
Self-care and practicing mindfulness are not selfish
Let me just make this point right off the bat. In the current societal definition of selfishness, self-care, and using mindfulness to control your thoughts, feelings, and actions is selfish. Because you are looking out for you and in the process not putting others first, it’s a selfish act.
However, in the broader and more realistic definition of selfishness — self-care and practical mindfulness are not at all selfish.
How do you resolve the paradox?
If you have no energy, are mentally, physically, and/or emotionally drained or sick, how can you do anything for anyone? Sure, maybe you can — but what will that ultimately do to you?
There is a big difference between putting yourself first and putting yourself ahead of others. Putting yourself first means you are giving to yourself before giving to others. When you put yourself ahead of others you are taking for yourself and from others.
Some people in the world are givers. They give on levels tangible and intangible, sometimes to the point of their detriment.
Then there are the takers. Look at the upper echelons of the Republican party in the United States for the perfect example of such. Or, for a less political and partisan example, look at Jeff Bezos. They take and take and care little to not at all about giving a damned thing to anyone — unless it directly benefits them.
For me, the best way that I can give — even in the face of the present uncertainty and chaos — is to walk my path and strive to be as genuine, open, and giving as possible.
Now is the time
The past has come and gone. The future is more uncertain than ever. Now is the only time that you can truly live and have any impact on the world.
Sure, your impact will have future consequences and/or repercussions. But here and now is the only time you can be mindful, present, conscious — and assume control of your personal destiny.
Since the present is the only time that is truly real, now is the time to walk your path. But not without certain considerations.
Considerations include whether your path gives or takes. Will you help or hurt people in the process? Are you giving kindness and empathy and value in what you do?
I believe that the path I walk does good in the world by helping people. If I do not choose to walk it now — when can I? The answer is that now is the time because you never know what tomorrow may bring.
Be kind. Express empathy. Be mindful of your consciousness and remember that consciousness ultimately creates reality. Do no harm and practice self-care. All of this doesn’t just better you, it can better other people and the whole wide world.
Do you walk your path? Is it with the intent to give and improve the lives of those you encounter?
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, as does the intent of our paths — especially in the chaos of today.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on June 3, 2020.