“The Poetry of Emily Dickinson” is one of my favourite holiday season reads (thanks to my son who bought it recently). So many beautiful verses in this gem of a book. I was really moved by this verse, I just finished reading:
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Emily Dickson’s sentiments are reflected in one of Dalai Lama’s latest tweets:
“Within each of us exists the potential to contribute positively to society. Although one individual among so many on this planet may seem too insignificant, it is our personal efforts that will determine the direction our society is heading.”
Living a life with purpose means different things to different people…at the end of the day, I think it is all about lifting others up, when they are down and taking the time to appreciate life and express gratitude.
When I was sixteen, I lived in a small town called Palghat, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. I was happily living my middle class life with nothing much to worry about when I became involved with the Rotaract Youth Club. As a community service volunteer I got to connect and relate to young boys in an orphanage. Many of them had no memory of their parents and spent their school holidays at the orphanage since there was no home to go to. I not only had a home, I had parents and siblings who loved me. For the first time, I realised how fortunate I was and how much I had taken my life for granted. I started to say “thank you” for all that I had in my life.
Over the years, as a social work professional, I got to connect and relate to people from all walks of life…each person had a story to tell. In 2014, I was in Victoria, BC. I was waiting for my bus and I noticed a woman beside me. She looked tired. I started a conversation. She shared that her ex-husband was terminally ill and did not have the resources to have someone to help him out. So, she decided to go over and help him few days a week. She said this was her way of making peace with the past and saying thank you.
Every year, in December, I get a bit pensive and reflect on the calendar year coming to an end. I end up feeling immensely grateful, especially for all those people I have a connection to. I am glad that’s how I feel. Apart from being good for the soul, gratitude has now been proven to be good for your health too.
This festive season, ask for the gift of being able to relate to others and the universe.