When I come in the door to my house, my first
thoughts are not (always) on doing whatever my
animals need done for them, even though I say
I care about them.
I am selfish and concerned about decompressing
after a long day. I don't think about how they've
been cooped up and devoid of company. I don't
appreciate the love and affection they show me;
I am annoyed that I have to perform.
I look to the answering machine for the 'magic
bullet' of proof that someone cares. My thoughts
tend not to be on "Who do I know that's going
through a rough time, that I should call and share
some encouragement with?"
(No, I feel lonely and self-pitying when there are
no messages on the machine. Once more, looking
to things outside of me for my strength and
The same is true every time I check e-mails, go
to the mailbox or Post Office box, and so on.
There's always a spirit of anticipation of "What's
coming my way to make me feel complete....
My focus is still on what others can do for me,
not what I can do for others (Thanks, Prez!)
We are by nature selfish creatures, but we
also have the duality of needing connection to
the rest of the world. These two things seem to
work at cross-purposes, until I discovered that
in seeking to be of service to others, and finding
a connection to something greater, I found a
place of contentment and belonging.
But the old ways die hard, and that angst can
pop up at any time.
Anger and frustration, irritation...they all emerge
from selfishness. If we block love from anyone
at any time, we are deciding the course not only of
their day, but our own.
Choosing not to love others enough as they are
is what results in anger, frustration, irritation, and
other low end emotions.
Focusing on our needs not being met (as we see
it,) rather than having gratitude for what is right--
is the penultimate selfishness and detached action.
There is always something that needs doing;
lonely people who need attention, sick people who
need care, hungry people, homeless people, hurt
animals, community needs, and so on.
The fact that need is never-ending is not an
overwhelming notion; it should be incentive to
start taking action. Every person has something to
offer, in ways large or small.
Love is never wasted action, no matter the reaction
or response. We don;'t always know what someone is
thinking or feeling; we do right for the sake of doing it.
Heck, do good deeds anonymously to get a real kick.
Positive action produces more of same.
Stagnation--withholding love and nursing pain--
maintains the status quo.
If not you, then who?
If we all wait for our princes and queens to save us,
we're going to be waiting a long time.
Even if there isn't a miraculous cure for our pity
as we engage others, we'll still make a difference.
It's still more productive than filling time. Perhaps the
gratitude and the release will come in time.
Getting outside of ourselves really is the best tonic
for all our ills.