• Plan An event with Stephanie Marston
Stephanie Marston is America's Foremost Life Balance Expert

Issue 12 December 2006

Sanity Saver #14: Share the Wealth

Once you have a sense that your life is on track and your needs are being met, you can then turn your attention to making a contribution to the larger community. After all, caring is instinctive. A child is lost, we help her find her parents; someone trips, we reflexively reach out to break his fall. A co-worker’s car won’t start; we offer her a ride home.

It’s a natural part of being human. We live, therefore we help. Helping occurs because the obstacles that separate us drop away, and we are, in essence, caring for ourselves. We help because the homeless person begging for food is us. We help because the person on welfare who is worried about feeding her family is us. We help because the gang member defending his turf is us. We help because the child who is abused and needs a safe haven is also us.

Among the questions I ask women in my seminars are: “How can you use your whole self to be of service in the world?” “How can you use the wisdom you have gained from your life experience to better our planet?” “Who do you feel the most compelled to serve?”

Take a moment and consider what it is you truly care about. Is it teen pregnancy? social justice? the environment? homelessness? endangered species? world hunger? human rights? There’s an endless list of issues that need your time, energy and dedication.

“In a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair,” writes poet Louise Bogan, “ no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.”

When a woman asks, “What do I have to give?” my response is everything--everything you’ve learned and experienced, everything you are, which is considerable. No, most of us aren’t going to become Mother Theresa, devote our lives to service, and move to Calcutta. But that’s not what’s being asked of us. What we’re being called to do is what we can--to make a contribution, no matter how small.

Giving can take many forms. We can start small by taking supper to a sick friend, writing a letter to the editor, volunteering for a school fundraiser, helping someone change a flat tire. Perhaps it’s as simple as extending common courtesies, making thoughtful gestures, offering words of encouragement to the people we interact with on a daily basis.

How Can I Serve?
As you consider how you can make a meaningful contribution why not ask yourself “Who (and what) do I feel the most compelled to serve?” Take a few minutes and consider what causes you truly care about. Is it migrant farm workers? The environment? Teen pregnancy? Low-income housing? World hunger? Adoption? Drunk driving? Freedom of speech? Civil Rights? There are an abundance of issues and organizations that would be thrilled to have your involvement.

For more information on 30 Days to Sanity please visit www.30daystosanity.com.