#Quest2015, Day 11.
Visionary: Tara Mohr.
Your Quest2015 Prompt today:
How can I be of highest service?
I’m behind on my Quest responses. In part, it’s due to the chaos of the holidays. No matter how much I pare down, strip away, attempt to simplify, it seems this time of year always spirals a bit out of control. It’s so easy to slip my moorings and find myself suddenly adrift in a sea of stress, expectation, and obligation. There’s a lot of love, fun, and joy in there, too. But it all makes for a distractingly dazzling mix in which light and shadow play upon each other, the laughter balancing the last-minute freakouts until it’s impossible to imagine one without the other.
I can’t blame it all on the holidays, though. I’ve been resisting this prompt for a while. Perhaps because of the season, the idea of service grated on me. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived my entire life in service–trying to be a good daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, friend, student, teacher, wife, mother…….
Over the past couple of years, my path toward minimalism has inspired me to let go of many commitments that didn’t add value to my life. Most of these were obligations–to committees and groups, all of them worthy but their cumulative total of time and stress not worth the toll they were taking on me.
I’m still working on being the “yes”-girl, the one who always wants to help with the party, event, cause, etc. I want to make everybody happy, and in the process, I’ve been denying myself happiness.
The thing about happiness, I’m beginning to realize, is that not only do we each find it on our own terms, but my terms are going to look downright bizarre to others. Since downsizing my commitments, my resounding and tentative “yes”es, I’ve worried that others will see me as lazy. If I’m not running to and fro like a chicken with its head cut off, I’m afraid I won’t fit in. I’ve begun to realize just how deeply counter-cultural it is to say no, to honor myself, to protect my soul. I’m the only one who truly knows what I need.
I also know all the platitudes about helping yourself first, being good to yourself before you can be good to others. I’ve spend most of my life trying to be good to others first. So in 2015, I’m going to work on embracing the idea that service begins at home–and not in the sense of housework or child care, but my very own house, the house of my body and soul.
I think this is why I and many others have resisted the service prompt–because we feel drained by the service we’ve already given.
For me, service needs to start with a return to the basics: nourishing body and soul with exercise, sleep, food, rest, tea, and play. This Quest has reminded me, perhaps above anything else, that play is a crucial component of my health and happiness.
If you’d like to read some excellent responses to this prompt, please have a look at these pieces by my fellow questers:
Lauren Ayer: “I believe that it isn’t just things we are wasting—we are losing people, too. Unique and important beings slip through the cracks every day. Just as every day those cracks grow wider and deeper and hungrier. I believe in ‘no one left behind,’ in ‘never give up,’ in ‘no one is an island,’ in ‘every life is worth living,’ worth saving—starting with our own.”