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Ten Words to Help You Care for Your Soul (and Those of Others)

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Ten Words to Help You Care for Your Soul (and Those of Others)

More than a decade of working with others who are suffering or in pain took its toll on Laura, just as it has taken its toll on anyone who has worked in the social service field for an extended period of time. How do you keep from internalizing all the pain and suffering when you are exposed to it daily? Laura finally figured it out, which is why you should read her book. In the meantime, here are Laura's ten words of advice (organized into three short mantras) to keep in mind to carry your soul through the journey ahead:

1. Be Conscious - A lack of consciousness, awareness, and presence accounts for much of the pain, struggle, and hardship the world currently faces. By remaining conscious of our speech, manner, and conduct at all times (or as frequently as we can...), we create positive social and environmental change. At the very least, we do less harm to ourselves or others and, at most, we contribute to the health and well being of others, ourselves, and our planet.

2. Sustain Yourself - We have an ethical obligation to sustain ourselves before we work to sustain others or the planet. Only through caring for ourselves - mind, body, spirit - are we going to have the energy and clarity to keep doing our best, day in and day out - for the long haul. If you don't have your own A game, you won't have it for others.

3. Contribute Wise to the World's Needs - Think about what the world needs right now, and then consider how your daily intentions relate to that need and merge the two. Ask yourself, "what do I want to get better at?" and then think of how that passion can bring benefit to the world. We can agree that the world doesn't need more contempt, cynicism, gossiping, addictions, or scapegoating. But intentionality, mindfulness, proactive awareness...now we're talking! So when we're able to notice our actions, we can gently ask ourselves, "Is what I'm doing right now what I want to be getting better at?" and if you're feeling inspired, follow it up with, "To what benefit for the world, is this action I'm taking?"

As Howard Thurman reminds us, "...Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions of your own? Chime in below.