All that I have, all that I know, all of that, I give to you, for fun and for free...
This is what service is to me. It is an ongoing process of me living this life that I have and then sharing it with you. Not preaching it to you, not insisting that you do it the way I did. If you really examine my life, you will see that my life has really been more of a warning than an example...
One of the greatest lessons I have ever been given (repeatedly I might add) is that I cannot give away what I do not have to someone who doesn’t want it.
The first part of that first...
Seems like a no brainer...if I do not have something, how will I ever give it or share it with you???
Yet, I have tried to do that my whole life. I have tried to pretend that I had things that I did not, in fact, have. I have tried to appear like there were things that I had that you needed and then give them to you. I have lied about things that I had because you said you needed them and I so wanted to give them to you. But the down in the dirt truth? I can only give that which I have done the work to learn, to own, to accept and to assimilate into my soul. Those are the only true things that I can ever give. I cannot give you justice or peace or knowledge or love if I haven’t done the work to gain those things for myself.
But this is where I think a lot of people get lost - if you only go about your life seeking those things for yourself, you will cheat yourself and every other person you come into contact with...
Gaining justice, peace, knowledge and love only for yourself, makes you less of a worthwhile person, not a better person.
However, if you set about to know and come to own those same things with an intention that you may share those things with others, you and everyone you come into contact with is transformed into something greater, bigger and more life affirming.
And, this I have learned by being a complete selfish ass most of the time...
But there is a design for living that I have been given and it has afforded me a life that has been so much greater than anything I could have ever imagined. And it does, and always will center around service.
For me, all that I have been given means so much less if I clutch it to my chest and possess it tightly, fearing that it will be taken away from me, or diluted if I give even a little to you. But what I have found is one of the greatest and most wondrous paradoxes of my life: that the only way I can keep any of it for myself is to give it all away to you, forever.
Sometimes, that feels like hard terms. I do not want to talk to a drunk person in the middle of the night. I do not want to transport a sloppy, puking mess in my brand new car. I do not want to make coffee for fifty people, ten of which are going to complain about it being too strong or too weak. I do not want to write things down, or go to meetings, or show up early or stay late. I do not want to pick up the phone when it rings. I, of my own accord, want to do none of that. However, doing all of the above has gotten me to this place in time where I sit in my warm, beautiful home that I bought and pay for, living this most amazing life that I never ever thought possible...
I live to serve, not serve to live. And that has made all the difference...
Now, another thing I have learned about service is that it looks different at different times. There have been times that I have been highly engaged and really busy with service, there have been other times, like now, when I have been more on the sidelines and service looks very different. Either form is fine. It is about showing up wherever I am and asking the question, “what can I bring to this situation, these people?” Instead of “what am I going to get out of this from these people?”
The best and most amazing question I can start every day with is “How can I help?” And then being willing to do what is asked, regardless of what I think about it. See, what I have learned is that in order to serve, I have to practice all of the principles I have just written about, all the time, every day. I will never get it perfect, but I will get it better by repeating them over and over again without really caring how it looks to others.
I certainly do not do this perfectly or even well some days and I am grateful that I still fall way short because it shows me where I am stuck, where I am hanging onto selfishness and self centeredness. It shows me where I am off course and headed for trouble. If I am not willing to give whatever it is that I have, then why am I even here?
Ok, now for the last part of that sentence...”to someone who doesn’t want it.”
Also a huge lesson for me. I used to do life like this:
Hey, I have learned a lot of shit and I am smart so let me tell you how you should do your life. It was really more of a “take my advice I am not using it” kind of mantra...but I thought I knew shit. I thought that I was good and could help you. But I was not coming at this like I was your equal. I was giving to you from my delusional moral high ground and guess what? Most of you were like “um, no thanks, I am not interested in your holier than thou bullshit.” Wounded, I walked away, wondering why my offerings were rejected.
Well, it has taken a lot of time for me to realize that I was ruining the message with my attitude. I was condescendingly giving to you so that I could feel better about myself instead of coming from a true and honest desire to be of service. No one really wants charity. No one wants to be talked down to...no one wants to feel less than. Most people do a fine job of feeling that way all by themselves...
So I realized that my attitude and spirit were off. I needed to clear the deck and come from a place of compassion and understanding, instead of a place of moral superiority...which is actually kind of hilarious because I have spent the bulk of my life not being all that moral or really feeling superior to anyone. So I have to do the work to get my ego right sized otherwise, I will fuck up the message before I ever have a chance to even communicate with you.
Now for the other part, you may not want what I have to share...ever. You may need it, be dying without it but you always and forever get to decide that you do not want it, do not need it and that is ok. You get to die rather than receive help. You get to suffer because you lack willingness. You get to say “no thanks.” And there is nothing, I can do about it. I cannot give you something that you do not want or think you need.
But I can continue to offer regardless of whether you like me or think that I have anything you want. I can continue to just show up and chop wood and carry water. I can just do that regardless of whether you want me to or not. I can give you your space but still remain willing to serve if and when the time should come that you might make a different decision.
But I also must conserve my energy and effort for people who do want help or what I might have. Those people who actually want help or guidance or an ear, those people should be heard and listened to and I can’t be present for them if I am chasing you, who have clearly communicated that you do not want me or anything I have to offer, around and around.
For me, service means showing up with a willing heart and an open mind and a present body. Here I am, willing to do what is needed or requested when it is needed or requested...it is really just that simple.
And finally, the most important secret I have learned about service...
When I am serving you, I am not thinking about me. And if there is one thing that I need in my life more than anything else, it is to think about me less. So when I am serving, I am getting out of my own way and showing up for others. I am allowing the divine to work through me and that makes me more of a channel for grace, love and compassion than when I am filled up with self...selfishness, self-centered motives and self -aggrandizement.
When all is said and done, the largest and most pervasive problem is me and all that I think about me. So when I’m thinking about you, I am so much better off...while maintaining a knowledge and understanding that I am not thinking about you like I know much of anything, I am just showing up in your life, trying to be of service in whatever way and manner that I can. And, that I will keep doing that because that is the truest and best use of the gift of this life. To touch others, to show up for others, to love others. To be present, available and here for others. Not to the exclusion of my own life, but with the intent and interest in sharing that which I know, all that I don’t and how I got where I am with the sincere and honest desire that sharing my joys, my sorrows, my losses, my regrets, my hardship and pain will help you in some small or magnificent way...
That is my wish this fucked up year...that something I can share will be of service to you and help you in whatever way it might. And this is why I write daily and share it with you.
May all beings, even the ones I do not like or understand, be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings, even the ones I do not like or understand, rejoice in the well being of others.
May all beings, even the ones I do not like or understand, live in peace, free from greed and hatred.
May all beings, even the ones I do not like or understand, have happiness and the causes of happiness.
And may I be wiling and able to serve, even the ones I do not like or understand, for all of my days in any manner I can.
In love and service,
Namaste people, Namaste.