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Thursday, April 27, 2006

life = service

if i can stop one heart from breaking, i shall not live in vain.
if i can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, i shall not live in vain.—emily dickinson

how can i be of service today? have you ever stopped to think how different our world would be if we began our day with this simple question?

last night we celebrated the graduation of this year’s 200-hour teacher training group. during our final weekend together, we discussed the importance of viewing teaching as a service. but service goes well beyond teaching yoga, it can become a way of life. imagine this: you awaken to the sound of ocean waves, leap out of bed excited about the fresh day ahead, and ponder what steps you will take today to make a difference.

ok, back to reality. you wake up to an alarm clock buzz when you’re finally in a deep sleep and wonder how you’ll get everything done on your to-do list. yet, as yogis, we can incorporate this concept of service into our daily grind even when we’re feeling a bit discombobulated and sleep deprived.

i just finished the draft of my final book chapter on savvy social consciousness. it opened my eyes to the various ways in which our values translate into everyday habits, along with the ways we contribute to a better society through volunteering, conscious consumption, and small gestures. being of service is why we’re here. you may practice this by raising a family, creating a business, mentoring a child, or helping someone in need across the street.

another way we can be of service is by example. i view certain women as mentors although i’ve never met them (anais nin, oprah). live your life in a way that inspires others. what is your message? are you living life fully or sleep-walking from one to-do to the next? how can you get closer to the imagined state described above?

dedicate your practice to someone who you would like to honor through the energy and effort you put forth. the creative options are limitless.
as the poem above states, if you can make a difference to just one person, your life is not in vain. explore ways to help improve the quality of someone else’s life. below are some easy ideas on how to do so:

* really listen to your mother
* pick up trash on the sidewalk
* volunteer at a nursing home
* foster a kitten
* buy from local farmers
* shop independent designers
* connect with a charity
* recycle
* plant a garden
* wear eco-friendly clothing
* leave a “you rock” post-it on your colleague’s computer
* give a gift just because

every day you are given a fresh canvas on which to paint. what do you want your masterpiece to look like? explore the ways in which your life contributes to your community. what small step can you take today to make a difference in someone else’s life, ultimately affecting yours?

may we all live a life that has a positive effect on others in our own unique way. you have a special gift. explore it and let it shine. thank you for so positively affecting mine over the past seven years through tranquil space and for the past 1.5 years through this blog.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Kimberly - I can see you have taken your teachings to heart. It is great way to start the morning.

Anonymous said...

I have just 'found' this site. I cannot even remember how! But I am so glad that I did. I am currently catching up on listening to all the podcasts. Thank you so much. I am so enjoying listening and reading and just enjoying catching up and have added your site to my bookmark bar. Thank you again.