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