It’s been a good week for me. I’ve connected with valued friends and have come away from our conversations a little more whole and soul-filled. I can only hope that they had a similar experience. But it got me thinking about the impact of my life on my world. I want to believe that in some small way the world is a little warmer, kinder, and more beautiful because I’ve been in it. I like to think that maybe a few people’s lives are a little richer and more joyful because of my presence.
IT’S NOT JUST PERSONAL
Over the last few weeks, we’ve explored intentional living. My focus may have seemed to be on our personal and individual needs. That is certainly part of the reason why I recommend setting intentions, but it’s not the whole story. Last week I discussed the unavoidable intentional juggle between our personal intentions and those of our significant others. We can’t avoid this if we want a truly fulfilling and meaningful life. But if we really want to show up fully, authentically, and courageously in our lives and relationships, we also need to consider our impact on our world.
The eight segments of the Wellness Wheel (see this post for more) we’ve been examining can be applied only to our personal wellbeing. But some areas can also lead us to be more intentional about the mark we leave on the people and planet around us. For example:
- We can choose to think of financial wellness only in terms of our own bank account. Or we can expand our intentions to charitable giving, conscious consumption, and simple living.
- Occupational wellness can be about nothing more than finding greater fulfilment in our work, or it can be about using our skills and experience to make a positive contribution to others.
- Our intentions around environmental wellness can improve only our personal environment, or they can include caring for creation in some small way.
OUR BEST LIVES
Many spiritual paths call us to connect with our ‘Higher Power’ to find greater fulfilment, success, and personal happiness. But living narcissistically doesn’t lead to our best and most meaningful lives. When our lives matter, make a difference to others and leave the world a little better, that’s when we find true aliveness.
So ask yourself: what impact is your life having on your world right now? It’s not a question of if you’re making a difference. Just by existing you have an influence on the people and the planet around you. Rather, the question is: What kind of impact are you having?
As you work on your intention setting for the year, I urge you to consider including some goals about making a contribution to your world. Here are some questions to guide your thinking:
- What gifts, abilities, knowledge, and experience do you have that are valuable to others?
- What needs do you see in your neighbourhood, society, or world? Which resonate with your soul and call you to get involved?
- Who can help you find opportunities to make a contribution in some way?
- Which of your resources can you share a little more freely and generously?
- What would you like to see written on your tombstone? How would you want your friends to acknowledge you in your eulogy?
- How do you describe the world as you want it to be? What one thing can you do to help move the world a little closer to that ideal?
THE WORLD YOU WANT
Imagine a world where we all found small ways to be intentional about our impact. Our intention setting is not just about creating the life we want personally. It also determines our contribution to creating the world we all long for. And it’s not grand gestures and VIPs who have the most impact. The world changes for the better as ordinary people make small contributions. They all add up in the end. As Mother Teresa taught:
If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.
What intentions will you be setting this year to make a positive impact on your corner of the world? Do you have any ideas for how we can all make the world a more compassionate and connected place? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments and let’s inspire one another!
I want to let you know about some changes that are coming to EvoFaith. This will be the last long-form blog that I’ll be writing, at least for the foreseeable future. I am convinced that the best format for the content I share on EvoFaith is not writing, but rather audio or video. And so, next week I am launching a podcast! Videos will be available on YouTube and the audio will be posted on as many podcast channels as possible.
This blog will include links to the podcast along with the transcriptions—so you’ll still be able to read if that’s what you prefer. But the content will be available more widely.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the launch episode of the podcast and, if you want to be prepared, head over to YouTube and subscribe so you don’t miss out when new content is published.
See you on your preferred platform from next week!
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