When I wrote the book Pain, Passion & Purpose, I never thought that it would become my own go-to manual for living. Why would it? These were profound revelations and insights gifted to me during a time of deep soul-searching, surely I would become changed by each and every one of them. And while I am certainly not the same person that I was before the book – I guess I’m just not a quick study. I find myself having to go back over some of these life lessons time and time again. Each time gaining just a smidgen more mastery and understanding. Even though we may receive the most amazing inspirations and guidance along our journey – we always come back to the substantial challenge of having to merge them with our own frail humanness. My latest challenge is based on the following insight:
“Do what’s right because it’s right – not for praise or validation” – Pain, Passion & Purpose by Marci Wise
While I’ve never been a selfish person, I think it’s safe to say that most of us choose our actions based on some sort of final, pleasing outcome. Whether it be for love, satisfaction or the respect of others, it seems that there’s always layer of ego-gratification involved. And when you get down to it – that is really beneath the highest, ideal version of ourselves.
We should do right – simply because it’s the right thing to do.
My latest gut-wrencher of personal growth came yesterday when I discovered that I will no longer be able to spend time with the adorable 7-year-old girl who I’ve been mentoring through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Now, right off the bat, let me say that I know my thinking is flawed here. I should be completely and ecstatically happy that this wonderful, little girl has found a stable and loving home where she can flourish and grow. And I really am happy about that. But I suppose I’m sort of sad for me too. Spending time with this open-hearted little person reminded me of how we give our love so freely when we’re younger. It’s not a drawn-out and complicated decision that we make – simply an expression of the purity of our being. Within our first week together there was laughter, joy and plenty of hugs. Not only was I helping to offer her some lighthearted experiences that she might not ordinarily have – but she was also helping me to bridge the gap from my role as a mother to an empty-nester.
This morning, as I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I realized that this is one of those moments where the “ego” is not my friend. Yes, it hurts to develop a connection to someone and then have it taken away – but certainly not enough to have missed out on the experience entirely. The only true way to keep a heart safe is to never give it to anyone – and that’s not living. I began volunteering for the organization because I had love to give – to someone who needed it. Mission accomplished. Not only was I able to do that – but I got the pleasure of seeing this little diamond-in-the-rough begin to polish and shine. Regardless of what might have occurred in her past, her future is now ripe with possibility – and I’m grateful for whatever part I was blessed enough to play. So I won’t focus on the loss – but instead treasure the memory of the joyous time we spent together. This was just one little way that my time and energy was able to help create a better world for someone. And while I cannot own or hold onto the experience – there were definitely gifts in it for me, too. Letting go of expectations – and control of our hearts – is freeing. Maybe that pain I’m feeling is actually my heart growing and expanding with more love to share. So who knows what new and wonderful relationships and opportunities lie around the next bend? I’m ready, willing and excited to find out.
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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2014 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.