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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Figuring Out My Life’s Work

As I watch my mother, who is almost totally blind and has mobility limitations, sit and do nothing all day, I ache, not just for her, but for everyone who doesn’t have something that gives her life meaning. Looking forward to my ever advancing age, I feel an urgency to have a life’s work that I can do at some level while I still have breath in my body. Deciding on one thing is driving me nuts! Consequently, I spend more time than I should doing crossword puzzles and reading.

While enjoying our deck time high in the Rocky Mountains, my sweetie and I have had this discussion. He says his life mission is to no harm and to always be open to new experiences. That’s fine, I say, but what are you actually doing? I volunteer long-distance while in Colorado and in person in St. Louis with the Red Cross, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be enough. I do volunteer writing and editing for a couple of organizations and look for people to mentor. Again, not enough.

Arianna Huffington said it best in her new book Thrive:

1. Make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit, and pay attention to how this affects your mind, your emotions, and your body.
2. During your day, make a personal connection with people you might normally tend to pass by and take for granted: the checkout clerk, the cleaning crew at your office or your hotel, the barista at the coffee shop. See how this helps you feel more alive and connected to the moment.
3. Use a skill or talent you have—cooking, accounting, decorating—to help someone who could benefit from it. It’ll jumpstart your transition from a go-getter to a go-giver, and reconnect you to the world and to the natural abundance in your own life.

By the way, I would heartily recommend this book. It teaches us how to be mindful in our lives so we experience every moment of every day of this oh, so brief existence.