I was writing a new about page the other day, the place on my website where I get to tell you about me, why I do what I do and what’s the use of it all. I noticed a familiar urge to reach for the grand words. To grab my little contribution and stitch it on to something more obviously useful.
I’ve been so keen on doing good, all my life. Being good. And since I started on this path, following my dreams and creating this business and life that I adore, I’ve often felt a pressing need to explain and justify my choice.
So that you would see that what I do does matter (really really matter) in the grand scheme of things, that it’s not just some selfish pursuit, not just silly happy work done for no good reason (beyond the pure joy of it). That it is also USEFUL. For the GREATER GOOD OF ALL. Recognisable to others as DECENT work.
And it has always felt a bit off.
It is so tempting to go there. If you’re just the tiniest bit insecure about your enoughness, your right to “just” be you, to want what you want, and to choose from love instead of duty, it’s so tempting to try to be good instead of honest. To at least, in the eyes of others, have a legitimate reason to take up space.
The thing is, it’s not just dishonest, it’s arrogant. Save the world? Really?
As if I’m standing at a distance, looking at this mess of a world I’m willing and able to save. As if I’m not part of it, neck deep in it. As if I could ever solve a problem on the outside, if it’s still unresolved on the inside. There’s a disconnect there.
I want the courage to stay with the true why behind what I do. To stay with the original impulse, and trust it without needing to make it good and right by claiming to save anyone or anything.
I want the courage to say that I do what I do because my heart melts when I do it. My mind grows quiet and whatever’s left of me expands into something immeasurable. Inexplicable. A place where there’s no-one and no-thing left to save, not even myself.
Only consciousness, ever expanding. Power, of a kind I have not known before. Happiness beyond happiness.
I do it to melt in love, and out of that a thought is born: This is for the good of the world, this love. It has to be. When someone’s heart melts like this the world becomes a better place.
And that might be true. But it’s also just a thought. In the end I know nothing about the impact my work has on someone else. I know nothing of the thousand ways my words, my actions, and my being affects another. I know nothing about anything.
This moment is all I ever have, and I do what I do because it helps me melt into it.
Writing melts me. It is my way back to the place I never left. It is what pours out when I get out of my own way. And to get out of my own way is the pathway to the purest, truest joy I’ve ever known. That is why I do what I do.
Let’s drop the grand claims (at least when we write our bios). By all means, let’s state what we believe in, let’s place our work in a larger context, but let’s make sure we stay really close to home and speak from a place of humility and honesty when we do it.
No, we’re not in it to save the world. None of us are. Ever.
Whenever we do something that turns out to be truly great, truly courageous or truly helpful, it is not because we aspire to be good, admirable people, but simply because love compels us to. Joy compels us to. Like Mother Theresa said, “Profound joy of the heart, indicates the path of life”.
I know you have a good heart. I know there is love wanting to come through, and that you yearn to be of use, somehow. To be of service. I do too.
This is what I know:
If we take our passion, take our deep deep desire, and pour it into what we do. If we let our melting hearts lead the way and allow ourselves to get lost in the beauty of it. Then, if we’re lucky, our work might transform into something bigger than us and light up some corner of the universe. Then it might help someone.
But that’s not for us to decide. It is none of our business. And it cannot be our motivation. Love simply will not be employed by duty, so don’t bother trying. Go straight for love.
Let’s tell about the joy we find in what we do, it’s infinitely more compelling than our dutiful claims. In fact, that kind of honesty is a small revolution in and of itself, (but don’t tell your ego that, she might try to make a manifesto out of it).