There is a quote from the wise and prolific Howard Thurman that I have returned to again and again. You have probably come across it before.
“Don’t ask what the world needs,” says Thurman. “Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Each time I read it, I feel the truth of it in my bones. The world definitely needs people who have come alive, far more than it needs more righteous anger and outrage, or the kind of self-sacrificing service born of guilt and resentment.
And yet, these days I feel angry and outraged, guilty and resentful. And at times like these, it is profoundly challenging to feel certain about what the world needs.
At times like these, I need to be reminded – by wiser souls than I – to carve out time and space for silence, for listening to what wants to come through me rather than immersing myself utterly in news feeds.
When I am quiet, the anger and outrage, guilt and resentment retreat a little – just enough to make room for self-compassion and thoughtful reflection.
Dr. Howard also reminds us to listen first to our inner wisdom:
There are two questions that we have to ask ourselves. The first is “Where am I going?” and the second is “Who will go with me?” If you ever get these questions in the wrong order, you are in trouble.
So here’s your curiosity experiment for this week:
Sit quietly somewhere you won’t be interrupted. Then ask yourself:
What makes me come alive?
Where am I going?
And who will go with me?
Record your answers and allow yourself time to sit with them awhile. How can you do more of what makes you come alive?