Life, if I had to reduce it to one word one principle one virtue, is about service. Sometimes you are the servant and sometimes you are the recipient of service, but the cycle is continuous and never ending. That flow of retribution is why, perhaps, every great world religion is rooted in doing good unto others, loving one another as we seek to be loved, and the overall agreement that what we give is what we receive in return. Karma, justice, Tao, however we label it, the energy that flows between us and our fellow citizens of the world is all service.
We have all, at some point in our lives, received favor; be it a job recommendation, a letter of reference, an opportunity for advancement in our careers, or even simply a shoulder during times of despair. During those times we feel grateful that for whatever inexplicable reason, the universe has conspired on our behalf to improve our circumstance. It is in the instances when it is impossible to pay back our favor that we must pay it forward, creating an opportunity for others who may be in need just as we once were.
Personally… I long ago, I fell in love with service. I fell for being a vessel for good. I fell for inspiring change in people, hence my career. Professionally I have chosen to work with children on the cusp of adulthood, those ages 18-24 in a college or university setting. This, however, leaves me partially unfulfilled. You see because long ago I fell in love with myself, the black woman. Everything about me, my skin, my hair, my heritage, even the bad things-because I love to serve crow-is magnificent. And, there’s nothing that fulfills me than seeing a black woman realize her potential. Hence my service work. I work with adolescent girls as a mentor and have in many different capacities since high school. This is my giving back, which I think is important for any professional-we must invest in the youth. Much in the same way this blog is my giving back to my community, I hope that my readers find their own vessel for service.
They say that hindsight is 20/20. I tend to agree with that, because I can look at where I am today, and name twenty hardships that directly contributed to my capacity to handle the things currently going on in my life. Being self-aware lets me see very clearly when someone else may be headed down a path that I was also tempted by, and if I can be a source of support for that person, I feel a very strong pull to do so. In the same breath, there are others older than I who feel the same way towards me, and I have to humble myself enough to continually accept their support and be grateful for their guidance. I am beginning to prefer slow deliberate thinking rather than bullishly learning things the hard way. A lesson learned by 27 years of wreckless happenstance.
What did I give today? Making the day less about me and my needs, and about how I can contribute back to my community, my country, my generation, and my global network. What do I have to offer the world? It is important to know the answer to that question, to know your skills, talents, and strengths and to know how they benefit us all. The universe is self-sufficient. The universe will take care of its own (you, me, everything). Just as your stomach growls when you are hungry, the universe will speak to you when it needs something. We are all supposed to be great. Not for our own personal gain, but for the gain of the collective; the greater good. This is why we serve. This is why it all boils down to service. This is why service, is simply the act of love.