A society that marks worthiness by the level of exhaustion a person can endure has lost touch with true service.
The moon peeks through the lace that hangs above my bedroom window, and I am wide awake.
I never used to get up this early. I don’t think I liked life enough to want to.
People shut down when they are hurt and confused. I had—shut down, I mean.
I had tried too hard for the wrong things, trying to make someone else the center of my world and forever failing. As we do this, we lose our own sense of self and value.
I, as well as my professional practice, had suffered the consequences. I was spread too thin and I lacked focus.
Now, I am bringing my whole heart to all I do—holding my fears, resistance, and my insecurities, while cultivating my curiosity and passion and letting it all blend with my desire to be of benefit.
Service has always spoken to me, but it can be a misunderstood concept. We tend to martyr ourselves when we’re already spent. We consume ourselves with busyness to fill the emptiness, while overcommitting and over striving. We are trained to believe that this is good; this is what we are supposed to do.
It seems we are doing important things, and we are. Life, family, jobs, and endless obligations are often what make the wheels of our lives go round. But even as we strive to make the world a better place, to see that everyone we care about gets what they need, we need to make sure we are also caring for ourselves. I had been sacrificing my needs even though no one had asked me to. I guess at some level I thought that was what love was.
Love does require sacrifice, but never the sacrifice of self—that’s martyrdom.
In service, we are bringing our whole heart to the table and sharing. This is a simple way to be of benefit—to acknowledge that what truly feeds my heart feeds the world.
If we want to feed the world, we must be visible. We must stand clearly in what we value.
For me, as a business owner, that means having a logo that represents my energy and work. And it was downright serendipitous how I met my design team.
It was a summer evening concert by the lake, and a friend’s text message had drawn me to the merchandise table. My eye landed on a purple tank with the Hawthorn Roots band logo—fluid, feminine lines in the design of a tree. I tracked down the team who had created it via Instagram and we set our first meeting for a Thursday evening at my favorite teahouse downtown.
It felt meant to be—the three of us glowing and gushing over each other—as we sipped tea and chatted about my work. They lit up as I filled them in on my process.
As a healer and hypnotherapist, I sit with people’s trauma daily. Whatever the root of any dysfunction is, it is held in place by a trance that was generated by a younger psyche that could not process a significant pain. Below that pain is our basic goodness—our innocence. The man I trained in hypnotherapy with taught me that.
“Once you embrace your innocence, you can accomplish anything!” ~ Jack Elias
I explained to them, “I don’t put people into a trance. I take them out and I do it with presence, kindness, hard-won wisdom, and what can be described as nothing less than shared grace.”
They were enchanted; a sort of grace-bubble formed around us.
This world needs more grace—the mundane kind—the kind that is born of simple human kindness, honesty, and care that includes facing what we don’t like about ourselves while being vulnerable with others.
Creativity is incredibly vulnerable. We are taking our insides and showing them to the world, whether that be through writing, painting, craftsmanship, parenting, or creating logos for a living—creating is brave.
These gifts, these jewels, cannot be hoarded; they must be offered. They must be freed from their fear-encrusted casings.
I must be willing to befriend what I consider ugly and mean in myself—my temper, fear, insecurity, and distrust—and gently breathe my sad, little heart back to life when needed. The only way I can do this is to love what is within and all around me.
If I can’t tend my own disowned parts, then I can’t truly hold space for others, and that is my service—to hold space for the hard, holy, and human.
I explained all this to my new logo design team as I hired them on the spot. I talked about lilies, aesthetics, what matters to me, and how I see this symbol taking shape. We worked out the payment details—some money and some trade! Exchanges made in the true spirit of service are always mutually beneficial.
We agreed to next meet over dinner. They will come to my cozy cottage filled with bright, rich colors and textures, carpets and rocks and plants, and I will cook a big pot of something warm and bubbly. They will bring fresh-baked bread and hearty local veggies, and we will feed each other—hearts, souls, and ideas.
We will meet with the intention to be of service. Their interpretation of what I offer the world—my new logo—will help me be more visible to those who can benefit from my services. My support of their partnership will help them relate more effectively with each other and to get more attuned to their individual and shared gifts, as well as their artistic capacity as a team.
We need each other to feed each other, to wake up even more in each other, to have more to offer this beautiful and brokenhearted world.
This is more than hope; this must be reality.
I commit to keep meeting myself so that I can look anyone in the eye regardless of what hurts they lay at my feet. It is only when I stop and extend true friendliness to myself that I can be replenished, and then offer my service—a barren well quenches no one’s thirst.
When we choose to show up, feet firmly in this reality, we can dance to the beat of our hearts, we can wake eyes wide with wonder, and we can marry what is inherent to us—our basic goodness—with our skills, and make a living.
Yes, I still get discouraged from time to time. There are days I want to quit. And sometimes I must rest and cocoon.
Then—from melted materials and weeping wounds that are now sewn sweetly together—I find the desire to rise early and with a lion’s roar, greet the dawn, embrace the day, and bend my mind and heart to be of benefit.