Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice
Friday, June 10, 2011
How may I serve?
How may I serve? This question has been front and center in my consciousness lately. No doubt it has something to do with having recently completed a course at Conscious Living Center, titled “Make Me An Instrument.” It was created and facilitated by Rev. Jane Beach, an esteemed spiritual mentor of mine. Based on an exquisitely written book exploring the Prayer of St. Francis, we spent 8 weeks contemplating line by line how to live every day with a consciousness of being of service. You don’t need to be religious, let alone Catholic, to appreciate the heartfelt wisdom conveyed in the prayer about how to be a presence of peace, love, grace--or whatever label resonates with you the most.
Since I was little, I knew instinctively that I was meant to be a helper in this life, even if I didn’t always know in what specific capacity. That’s how I ended up becoming a professor and spending another decade-plus being a consultant. I was doing my best to feel my way around how to be of help. Then, I started studying spiritual teachings by renowned teachers like Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and others. Using different words, they all urge us to focus on being of service. When we focus on giving to others, success ensues, even if it isn’t the motivational driver behind the action.
It has taken me years to let this wisdom truly sink in and to practice it in everyday living. After all, as human beings, we’re wired to instinctively tend to our survival. In other words, we’re naturally “me-focused”--How do I take care of myself? What do I need to do to ensure that I’m safe? Every time we experience letdown by others, it further feeds our self-preservation instincts. We can only rely on ourselves to be safe--until we learn to debunk this fear-based myth.
There’s no shame to being human, and there’s no need to reject our instinctive selves. In fact, it’s really needless hard work to push away our fundamental needs to feel safe. It’s far better to let the fearful part of ourselves know that whatever we choose to do will not compromise our safety. That energy can then be directed to much more productive endeavors, when we learn to choose an “other-centric” way of going about life. By being “other-centric,” it doesn’t require us to be martyrs or to dismiss our own wants and needs. It’s about reframing what we do to focus first on how to deliver value to others. When we’re able to serve others well, our wants and needs will be met also.
This service consciousness is precisely how I’m approaching building my next business. I’m keeping the intention to be of service in everything I do in the otherwise dreaded “me-centered” promotional activities. That is, instead of worrying about how I can sell books, speaking engagements, workshops and coaching programs, I focus on the intention to serve as many people as possible through these different wrappers around how I can help them--at different levels of affordability to them. Even though not everyone will end up buying from me, it’s ultimately all good. It makes me feel wonderful to know that the free article they read, the free talk they attended, or the free coaching discovery session we had helped them in some measure that’s meaningful to them. In these encounters, I’m fulfilling my intention to serve.
When I focus on gracious giving, the energy of love and grace flows out of me toward my brothers and sisters on Planet Earth. It comes back to me multiplied in love and grace, filling me up with the joy of living my dream, acting on purpose, being of service. This is so much better and more freeing than the debilitating, inwardly focused energy of worrying about survival. I also believe wholeheartedly in the pure magic of universal circulation. If I manage to deliver value to those I’m intended to serve, it’s inevitable that the value of having done that well will come back to me, even if my overt focus isn’t on giving to get. So, why would I ever worry about anything, when I can focus joyfully on creating the most value for others and finding the best ways to let them know about how I can help?
Choosing to be of service feels really good! Why not try this for yourself sometime? The next time you start worrying about being ok, try asking instead: How may I serve?