It’s January 2021, and we’re in lockdown and under curfew in the “dead of winter” with a whole lotta time to be with our own patterns of behaviour and the already always listening voice inside our heads narrating our lives and all too good at pointing out what’s wrong with ourselves, others and the world. It’s an act of rebellion these days to find glimpses of happiness, fulfillment or even contentment with ourselves and our lives. And yet, I firmly believe that the universe delivers those glimpses as opportunities for us all day everyday, if I am but only mildly open to seeing them as such.
Here’s what happened for me yesterday as I sunk pretty deep into my own emotional, mental and physically depressed state. I was scrolling my phone looking for something, I did not know what, and I came across a post on LinkedIn by Tim Ferris about one of his podcasts where Esther Perel, a well known speaker on the topic of relationships, was answering questions from Tim’s readers and listeners. And the quote on the post was what really caught my attention:
Since I am passionate about human connection and ways of relating authentically to one another, and aware of how depressed I am feeling and behaving these days, I clicked the linked and had a listen. Esther has so much experience and ideas to share about relating and I highly recommend you check out her work, or the podcast here.
And this morning as I reflected even more on what I’m going to do about feeling the way I’m feeling, I remembered a poem I read almost 20 years ago now that really resonated with the protestant work ethic I was raised within called “Do Something for Somebody Quick”.
Do Something for Somebody Quick!
There’s an excellent rule I have learned in life’s school,
And I’m ready to set it before you.
When you’re heavy at heart and your world falls apart,
Do not pity yourself, I implore you.
No, up with your chin, meet bad luck with a grin,
And try this infallible trick.
It never will fail you, whatever may ail you – DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEBODY QUICK!
OH – Do something for somebody quick,
It will banish your cares in a tick.
Don’t fret about you – there’s a good deed to do – DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEBODY QUICK!
Robertson Davies in Murhter & Walking
And then it dawned on me, my misery right now comes from ruminating in my own already always listening voice that is narrating a pretty dim story at the moment. I’m not “doing something for somebody quick”. And some of my happiest, most fulfilling life-moments come from both the act of giving fully of my time and talents and passions, but also in receiving the gratitude and appreciation stories of the impact that giving has had out in the world.
So this is my commitment to you today: I’m “doing something for somebody quick” and offering something I’ve been putting off offering for a long time – it’s like opening my own personal treasure chest I’ve been accumulating for over two decades in this lifetime and sharing it with you in the best way I know how – in the Laboratory for Living!
I hope to see you there…