Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘Giving to Others’

Values on Your Compass

We each have our own moral compass consisting of our personal standards, values, and beliefs that have been formed from childhood and enlarged upon as we experience life. The values on our compass are the touchstones that are sacred to us as individuals. For example, concepts such as honesty, compassion and integrity are just a few areas that may constitute our moral compass. What five words would you choose to list on your moral compass? Which one concept is your true north, the most important of all the other values? The one you simply cannot compromise and remain true to yourself?

Although we all have our own moral compass we are interdependent on each other for survival. If we think about the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the energy we use to heat our homes or drive our cars, other human beings were involved in delivering to us what we needed to survive. It takes all of us to contribute our own unique skill set, working within our own moral compass, for the world to work.

We are inherently good, well-intentioned folks. We give and take from the banquet before us and try to make the world a little better place during our extended stay here. The challenge seems to be when values on our own moral compass conflict with values on the moral compass of others. What do we do when we disagree with the values that others seem to hold as their true north?

As individuals, it seems natural to have different priorities, different sacred cows. This can work well as long as we stay committed to improvement to society as a whole. However, if we allow ourselves to fall into indifference and not hold ourselves or others accountable for hypocrisy or benefit to personal vested interest rather than society as a whole than our system, our moral compass, begins to be negatively effected and we all lose.

It takes time to help a friend or loved one who is seeking input and yet, the time spent seems to be in direct proportion to the value we place on our human experience. How much time are you willing to give to help another? It also takes time to have your voice heard on political, economic or other areas. Time is the ultimate compliment you can offer to another person or cause. Who knows, you might just have a positive effect on the world. It’s worth a try.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ” It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

Have a great few days!

What’s Your Purpose?

” Everything can be taken from a man but one thing – the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances..” This statement was written by Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning in 1946 after being interned in a Nazi concentration camp and losing his family to the brutal hands of others. In 1991, 45 years later, his book was selected by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the -Month Club as one of 10 most influential books in the U.S. Truth is, indeed, both ageless and timeless.

A salient point he made was that when we have a purpose in life, something greater or bigger than ourselves to be concerned about we can endure whatever life presents to us. It helps us keep perspective on the day to day events in our lives as we keep our eyes focused on a more expansive vision of possibilities for tomorrow.

Frankl also reflected on the topic of happiness and its relationship to a purpose driven life. We constantly hear the message about the importance of being happy. Makes sense since positive energy is involved in happiness. However, there is something much bigger than simply feeding the beast inside of us that says,’ I want… and then I will be happy. Do this, buy that and then I will be happy.’ That approach may fuel our economy but it doesn’t fuel our soul.

The idea of purpose, of making a difference in our families, friends and world is what keeps excitement in our lives and helps us develop into more fully functioning individuals. Simply doing things to make ourselves happy requires more and more fuel (things, money, experiences) to keep going. Having a purpose in life, however, gives us a never ending supply of energy because it comes from the Universal Source. We have all heard of the adage, ‘You get out of life what you give – no more no less.’ What a simple and elegant truth to consider.

Show me a person whose purpose is to be involved in life, seeing tomorrow with possibilities and helping others along the way and I will show you a person who has a happy AND meaningful life. They look forward to tomorrow with excitement, appreciation, and hope. That is a powerful elixir for life.

We are all here to learn unique lessons in this lifetime. Learning to move past simply making ourselves happy and into a purpose driven life is the answer to our own personal fulfillment and to a life well-lived.

Have a great few days!