I recently heard the phrase “there is no planet B” and this clever play with words really stuck with me. With all the clear evidence about the dramatic impact of climate change, we are living the consequences of past choices up close and personal. No longer can we hide our heads in the sand avoiding what is right in front of us. The extreme heat, the forest fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and that’s just the summer. What’s in store for us this winter? So as the saying goes, when we know better, we do better. Now is the time to do better. This last blog in my month-long series of “Being Honourable” from my book Being Joy™ is dedicated to honouring our planet for it is the only real home we have. And my request this week is an important one.
Who do you admire and why? Is it because of their accomplishments? Are they kind and generous of spirit? Or is it because of their convictions? When you think about those who you admire, whether they’re from previous times, are fictional characters or are people you know today, is there a common attribute that connects them? Is it a quality you would like to emulate? For me, the ones I admire have lived with honour. They admit they’re not perfect but have strived to be better than they were before. They believe in truth and doing the right thing with compassion, especially when it’s hard. They are my heroes.
Have you researched your family tree? Did you discover any surprises? Is there someone from your past who you most take after? I find the study of genealogy to be a fascinating undertaking – to learn about my roots, the people whose DNA runs through my cells today and the way the past can influence my present characteristics and inclinations. This month’s joy habit theme is about Being Honourable and for this week’s post, I am honouring my ancestors. I am fortunate that back in the late 70’s, my father Jack and his brother Cliff, decided to do a deep dive into our history and were able to go back as far as the late 1700’s. The result of their research was a binder they had professionally printed with pictures and biographies for each branch of the family. The objective was to have each successive generation add their story to the binder so that there would be an ongoing living history of the family for future generations. Easier said than done I’m afraid with the original duo, my dad and his brother, now deceased and with the next generation of relatives spread out all over the world.
Do you have any daily rituals that show respect for “the self”? Ways of honouring who you are? Things you do to nurture the inside as well as the outside of your being? Daily reminders that you are deserving of respect because you do your best to live up to your higher self? This month’s joy habit is about being honourable. And the best way to convey that you are an honourable human being – someone who lives their truth with conviction and compassion - is by ensuring you are living in balance with all that surrounds you. Let me tell you what I mean. To me, honouring “the self” means being mindful of what I allow into my life. The thoughts I think, the people I interact with, the environments I expose myself to and of course, the things I allow on or into my body. In order for me to live a balanced and honourable life, I work diligently at replacing the things that weaken and disempower me with things that nurture and strengthen me.
What’s your purpose? Are you a teacher of young minds or new concepts? Are you a builder of companies or of things? Are you a leader – someone who can mobilize others because of a shared vision? As this is the last blog about this month’s joy habit about being on purpose, I’ve chosen the purpose of leadership to wrap up the series. Why? Because I believe we need to reawaken the leadership qualities we all possess in order to stand up for people or things we care about. We can no longer afford to stand by thinking that someone else will do the heavy lifting. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Are you someone who is in constant motion? Do you crave change? Are you able to see opportunities where others just see rubble? If this describes some of your characteristics, then your purpose may be that of a “builder” – someone who is likely either a serial entrepreneur or literally in the building profession. And just like Michelangelo who when asked how he could create such a masterpiece as his famous statue of David, said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” , you too are being called to transform matter into your masterpiece. You may be an alchemist my friend.
Are you someone who loves to learn? Do you ask a lot of questions? Are you curious about everything? If so, your purpose may be that of a teacher. Since this month’s joy habit is about being on purpose, I thought I would talk about three distinct expressions of purpose for the rest of July, starting with those teachers who open the doors for the rest of us. I’ve found that most of the teachers I know and respect are life-long learners who are passionate about sharing what they know with others. Their caring nature makes them generous and giving. Take my good friend Jan for example who chose teaching school children the love of learning as her profession. What a gift to the world Jan’s purposeful passion has been.
Did you create a new ritual or activity during the pandemic that has now become part of your daily routine? Is it something that has elevated you? Hope so. Mine has. In the early days of the pandemic, my son and I created a morning ritual that I’m happy to say continues to this day. Since we knew we wouldn’t be able to see each other in person for a while, he called me each morning on his way to work. In the first few weeks it was merely a way to stay connected to each other on a more regular basis. But it soon morphed into something much more meaningful. In many ways it helped to shift our energy away from thoughts of fear and anxiety and towards peace and promise instead. This is how it began. Once we said good morning, we each asked the other “what is your gratitude for today”. Sometimes it was as simple as the sun shining or the smell of the morning. Other times it was deeper and required a few seconds of contemplation. And after a few months, we added an evening call that included “tell me one good thing that happened today.”
We are at the final week of my month-long random acts of kindness challenge. I hope you’ve been able to practice some of the ideas I have shared over the past four weeks. If you have, I’m sure you’ve noticed a difference in your own level of peace and calm. And I’ll bet your joy vibration has increased. It’s just the way the law of attraction works. What you give out gets returned. Just like a boomerang. Just to recap, your first random acts of kindness challenge was on sharpening your joy habit of kindness by first showing love and kindness to yourself. I hope you were able to try some of the suggestions I offered. The second post was about performing random acts of kindness towards children – either your children, grandchildren or those of friends or family members. I have more suggestions that would help model kindness to growing minds.
What do you do when you pass a stranger on the street? Do you smile and say hello, or do you keep your head down and keep on walking? I guess it depends on where you live and where you’re walking. But if you’re on a street where you feel safe, then I say, go for it. Smile and say hello. You never know, it might be the first kind thing that stranger heard all day. I’ve been particularly aware of how people behave whether they come from a big city or small town. I’ve found that town folk tend to say hello and strike up a conversation with a total stranger much easier than city folk. Now I know that’s a generalization, but that’s been my observation. So why is that? Is it that big cities make people feel invisible amongst the throngs and it’s easier to be anonymous? Whereas small communities tend to be more interlinked, so whether you the know the person or not is not that important. Saying hi and being kind is just the neighbourly thing to do. Which brings me to the topic of this week’s blog.