Somewhere in my rearing, I was taught the principle of leaving things better than I found them. I suspect it came from a lesson in borrowing etiquette, to have respect for things that were not mine. Regardless of where it derived, this principle got into my bones and cells. It influences the way I interact with everything: objects, people, places.
I want to leave the world better than I found it.
Now, to be clear, this isn't a savior complex. I'm not trying to save anyone or be a martyr. I learned the futility and dysfunction of that in my 20's (which is a story for another post). This desire comes from a grounded, authentic and sincere place deep in my soul. It centers on the knowledge that the individual's journey is sacred and her/his contribution is invaluable. It manifests in most of what I do. I've started calling these contributions, "my life's echoes." They are what I put into the world, in an attempt to make it a better place. Can you relate? Do you know deep in your soul that you have important things to offer the world? That you can make a difference? Does the prospect of this overwhelm you? Take a deep breath. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day and that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. There are small steps you can take that will have a big impact on your life and in the lives of others. Here are 4:
Show up and Actively Participate in Your Life
There's a significant difference between letting the days of your life go passively by and choosing to actively participate. Actively participating in your life means being open and vulnerable to new things, new relationships. It means making a decision in the face of uncertainty. It means showing up and saying YES, even when resistance is making a very good argument for saying no.
This is hard, I know. Sometimes its easier to binge watch the first three seasons of Homeland, specially when you finally got Showtime Anytime (don't give away any plot points!) than it is to do these things. But if you don't show up for your life, who will?
Take Responsibility for Your Echoes
You are responsible for what you produce, how you act, and how you don't. Engage in your life deliberately and mindfully.
Our actions echo in the world, impacting it in foreseen and unforeseen ways. (click to tweet)
Invest in Your Tribe
Your tribe can be one person or a handful of people. Your tribe is the family you chose. They are the people who honor, support and encourage you. Or as the people at Sweatpants & Coffee say,
Be the Steward of Your Creativity
Your creativity has been entrusted to you. You have an obligation and responsibility to excavate, cultivate and share your creativity.
The expression of your creativity leaves an echo of who you are, how you contribute, and that you are very much alive. (click to tweet)
Some of the recent echoes in my life:
- Asking for help when I needed it.
- Being kind to myself by saying yes to a day at the beach, instead of overworking myself.
- Working on my art.
- Writing this post.
- Apologizing for not being more sensitive to a friend.
Use the hashtag #LifesEchoes when sharing your life's echoes on social media.