April 2022: A Dash of Good
Steaming coffee, mug in hand, I gaze out my window at goldfinches flitting about the feeder amidst a backdrop of neighbor children scampering between grassy yards emitting shrieks and giggles. All is well with the world, at least my immediate world within the city block I inhabit.
And then I grab my smart phone. I allow the information age to infiltrate my peace with real-time war images and up-to-date stories of the devastation humans inflict upon each other for the sake of a border in the name of a tyrant. Lest we forget the other wars fought simultaneously around the globe and ongoing ails of our world, ever present, too many to name, yet equally urgent.
Yes, there is much to grieve, and I do within the span of a day. But a perpetual state of mourning is not what the world needs or asks of me. Nor does it need me to look away with the pain unacknowledged. I must honor the opposing forces within the spectrum of ease and struggle, joy and sorrow, justice and atrocity, life and death. If I focus on all the suffering swirling outside of my reach, I can get lost in despair. I must go within to find my strength and power. I ask myself, “What is mine to do?”
This quest of purpose is not new. “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something,” Max Lucado. “We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” Mother Teresa. “I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do,” Edward Everett Hale.
Ask yourself, “What is mine to do?” The answer is different for each person. On days where I am discouraged that I have not done enough, perhaps napped most of the day, or never changed out of my pajamas, I remind myself, “At least I did not contribute to the angst of the world today,” and that is enough. Imagine if I can manage to not contribute to the angst of the world each day and add a dash of good!
I see others adding their dashes of good. One stranger hosts a peace meditation for fifteen minutes over Zoom once a week and asks others to join her. Another friend makes yellow and blue candles and donates the profits to Ukraine. My ASL (American Sign Language) teacher hosts in-person classes for a modest fee, livestreaming them and posting the lessons for free. A kindred musician shares virtual recordings of original and cover songs to remind listeners of the small beauties in the world. Another artist shares her visual creations of hope. There is always a way to offer our unique gifts to refresh ourselves and benefit the lives of those around us.
In addition to doing my daily best not to add angst to the world, my general dashes of good include casting my vote, signing petitions, donating money, and voicing my concerns to people who hold offices and make decisions. My personal dash of good is sharing my gift of healing, with clients that come to my office, with people who read my book, with audiences that listen to my music, with organizations that extend healing to everyone who enters their doors, with all beings to whom I send healing through meditation.
Please share your dash of good whenever you can, wherever you can. It matters. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” Margaret Mead. And, as the Dalai Lama reminds us, “If you think you are too
small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Yes, you are one. What is the something you can do? What small thing can you do with great love? What gift can you share for the betterment of the world? A smile to a passerby. A helping hand to a neighbor. A listening ear to a friend.
A napping day to recharge yourself and add no angst. Simply loving the people in front of you, including yourself.