"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."- Albert Einstein
Our pastor was out last week grieving the recent loss of his mother, so he sent instead, as Sunday's virtual voice, his good friend, who also happened to be Jewish. He taught us about Hannukah and the nightly lighting of the candles. My interest was really picqued as he spoke of the shammash candle, also known as the "servant" candle, and it's responsibility to light the surrounding eight candles that make up the Hannukah menorah. I immediately thought of ReConnectEd to Life's slogan where we encourage people to "Be Self-Centered", and was pleased to discover that the belief in the concept of being a light to all we surround ourselves with by first igniting our own light, has its roots in ancient tradition.
When Kinda and I first thought of using the term "Self-Centered", we almost didn't do it. As long as I've been familiar with it, the words have evoked a negative, selfish connotation and we questioned whether committing to redefining such a term would be a wise choice for marketing purposes. But the more we played with it, the more difficult it became to let go. Teaching people to Be Self-Centered was exactly what we wanted our business to do. The good kind of self-centered. The kind of self-centered where you put your oxygen mask on first before your child's because if you can't breathe you aren't going to be god for anyone. The kind of Self-Centered that understands that you can't pour from an empty cup. The kind of Self-Centered that understands that when you are consistently practicing The Four Seeds of Self-Care- sleeping well, eating well, meditating/praying, and exercising, you are contributing to your brain's ultimate health and optimal functioning. In turn, you accomplish your goals easier, foster more meaningful relationships, and more easily connect with your community. In short, when you feel better, you do better.
"Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."- Howard Zinn
The end goal of attaining "Self-Centered" status, however, is not just so we can wallow around in our own success, constantly patting ourselves on the back and marveling over our own greatness. Rather, it is so we can share and inspire others with our newfound physical, mental, and spiritual feelings of health and wellness. Simply put, we honor our own needs first so that we are strong enough to serve others, becoming "reconnected to life". Like the menorah, we become the servant candle, making the lives of others bright through our service to them, and continuing to keep our own light bright through our consistent practice of self-care. As we affect other lives in positive ways through service, they, in turn, are inspired to do the same. Over time, the process has the power to change countless lives for the better in ways you may never know.
How can you serve? Everything you do is a an opportunity to be of service. Even the words you choose to speak have the power to change a life. How do you treat your waitress, your grocery store clerk, your postal carrier? What words do you offer that will brighten or dampen someone's day? Do you conduct yourself at work in a way that an employer looks to your example to show the measure of an impeccable employee? If in a leadership role, are you leading by example? As a student, do you allow yourself to be taught and help others who may not understand as well? Are you treating your children and partners in ways that will assure them of their importance to your life? While it is commendable to perform great acts of service that are on display for all to see, it is often in the details of everyday life that the opportunity for the most treasured acts of service arises.
In January we will begin a new Self-Centered Women group. A year long program, the group focuses on a specific monthly theme, supporting one another along the way in the quest to discover the talents that make us unique, and how we can best share them with the people in our lives. All the while, our self-care practice remains a constant focus, for when we are acting from our true center, the best ideas and realizations are born. We have one precious life to live and what you decide to do with it matters not only in your life but, ultimately, to the world. #beselfcentered
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel