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I love to read. At any given time, if you look on my desk or nightstand I have at least 5 books that I’m reading.  Right now for example, I’m reading MockingJay, Building Your Ideal Private Practice (for one of my classes in Marriage and Family Therapy–great book by the way!), A Year By the Sea, The Second Journey, and Change.  A few nights ago, as I waited in the local library for one of my daughters to finish with an activity of hers, I sat down with two books (I’m like ADHD with books)–What God Said, Neale Donald Walsch’s new book and A Course In Miracles.  I’ll just tell you now in case you don’t know:  I’m spiritual, I am not religious.  When I became separated from my ex I had a mini existential crisis over my spirituality (I was Catholic at the time) that goes along the lines of:  How could the Church sanction this?  What kind of loving God would do this (and if you want to know specifically what I’m referencing here, it’s in my book Transforming Divorce)?

But I digress…I flip through Neale Donald Walsch’s book What God Said which thankfully has a synopsis in the first few pages.  I’m good with the short snippets because I really want to move on to A Course in Miracles!  That book’s freakin’ huge!  But I was struck by some of the points Walsch makes.  One of the these are his idea for the 3 core concepts for holistic living:  honesty, awareness, responsibility.  Gosh, I just love that!  HONESTY, AWARENESS, AND RESPONSIBILITY.  I mean, you could build a whole therapy model on just those three principles.  The second thing that moved me was his quote:

“Your life has nothing to do with you.  It is about everyone whose life you touch and how you touch it” (Walsch, p. 8).

find your life's purposeI think that is such a beautiful thought.  Imagine if we went out in the world everyday with that intention.  You’re not looking to get something for yourself–you’re focused on providing loving kindness toward others.

The What God Wants quote is a wonderful reminder that we are not put on this planet to be thinking solely of our self–but of our spiritual self as well.  Our self I liken to our egos; our spirit is our soul.  When we are caught up in self, we become me-centered and me-focused.  When we are spiritually driven, we drop the me and become we.  When you live more from spirit and less from the self/ego, that’s where you can really begin to make a difference in the world.

How do you make a difference in the world?

  • Do good for others.  Do good for your community.  Do good for a cause you believe in–that doesn’t harm others in the process.
  • Practice more self-reflection in your actions and your words.  Many people don’t understand the hurt they cause because it is so hard to put themselves in another’s shoes.
  • Get in touch with and live your life’s purpose.
  • Live authentically and become a role model for inspiration.  Live from your truth.  You don’t need to preach to others how to live their lives–be an example for others in how to live your truth (because it is different for everyone).
  • Practice kindness.
  • Do the “right” thing–even when no one is watching.  Because you have to live with yourself.
  • Practice being honest with yourself and with others.
  • Leave a place better than how you’ve found it.
  • Start today, don’t wait for tomorrow.
  • Even doing something small will make a difference.

It’s good to have goals that reflect this topic–how are you going to make a difference in your lifetime?  Keeping this vision in mind helps you align your life path to doing good.  Seeing the big picture–of going out in the world with the intention of touching others with your grace, warmth, kindness, thoughtfulness, etc. is such a wonderfully positive way to exist.  By asking the question of yourself each day, “How can I make a difference in others’ lives?” you focus yourself on others and take the focus off of you.  When you get in this habit, those negative thoughts that can so easily lead to a bad mood or even depression tend to dissipate.

Try this for a week:  Each day when you get up, ask yourself how you can make a difference and touch someone’s life today.  How can you make it nicer for your partner, or your children, or for a clerk in a store, a driver on the road…?