Friday, June 15, 2007

Selfishness to Selflessness

Today’s inspiration for the day:

I am simultaneously reading several books, while writing one (and going to art school part-time. And with a full time job. And planning a vacation. And obsessed with Pilates. And Stoli Blueberry as I found last night since any drink that tastes like a Jolly Rancher has my vote. And moving…to somewhere…being busy is the best of times, at the best of times). I want so much for my life and I take too much to get it. I look ahead only for myself at times. People say this is good, especially in a time of transition.

People are often wrong.

In "Eat, Pray, Love" Miss Gilbert runs across the world on a dream to clear her heart and her mind, to bend like the yogi, to be loved by a gorgeous Brazilian man, all of it just for her. And after the initial “you go girl!” wore off, there emerged this sense of purpose to reclaiming herself that she found. Helping herself by helping others in a sense—her conclusion born from initial selfishness. So often we are too wrapped up in our own drama to lend a hand to those far less fortunate. To do what needs to be done is so easily ignored by a slew of instant messaging, celebrity gossip, getting your bill picked up by a good looking guy in a suit, or chasing the next pleasurable moment of your own life.

My roommate told me of a sign posted in a place far away at The Red Cross.

It said, “A refugee would kill to have your problems.”

As I have less, today I aim to give more. I just got my confirmation in the mail this week that the money I sent for Darfur has been used to purchase three efficient stoves for three families, because women spend hours a day searching for wood to keep their old stoves burning, and are attacked and brutally raped. Their husbands let them with shame because if the husbands were instead to go out looking for wood, they would simply be murdered and the women left off even worse. With the new stoves, families now have to be outside 75% less of the time. It could save three families from utter destruction until the conflict pasts. I wish I could save thirty instead. I think that I will put away the money I was about to blow on a cute new Parisian outfit for an upcoming event. A higher purpose is in order. I think it's a really good cause and I would encourage anyone I know to find one, or twenty that speaks to them in this way.

I will never be able to do enough, but I will try.

It is needed far more, elsewhere. It is not meant for champagne with friends just to pump myself up, just to take care of me. I am not important in the scheme of things. And that is an incredible thing to know. It is of a higher conscience to admit, I think. It brings me closer to the mark of what it means to be aware and thankful. The mark I will aim for, for the rest of my life. I will repeat the following to myself for as long as I know how:

If you are in a rut, ask yourself, how low are you really? You have loved and lost, your job sucks, your friend is mean, your car is a lemon, and yet you are here, you are alive and well.


Take a moment to stop and to think. Screwing around, being destructive, not giving the care and consideration needed to do something meaningful in this world other than to further your own insecurities and ego, avoiding to grow up, avoiding the conscientiousness needed to truly live free and well; these are the things which you should be wary. You have been given it all when so many have been given nothing.

Do something important that is not for yourself and you will be doing it for your true self. For your soul. And the connection it has to the good of this world.

Build some character. Do the right thing for once, or for the tenth time, the thing for someone other than simply you.

This is what I'll keep saying until it is my truest nature....remind myself what is important in the scheme of the world.

I’ll be your buddy in this. Because it’s not easy to do. But it is the reason that we get to be here, that we have minds and resources and why we have hearts. The only reason that we are aware at all…


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hmm... to encourage people to help is one thing, but to simply say that you wrote out a Darfur check for a few hundred dollars (at most) and then try to use that as inspirational leverage just might not be enough. Who is to say that many--or at least some--of your readers aren't already doing the right thing "for once"? Not to say that I am, but let's give your other readers some credit. I love your blog, just not this particular post.

Anonymous said...

I too love your blog, but not this particular post. It seems to assume that we need a wake up call, when maybe we are already awake.

k said...


Did not mean to offend or imply at all that you are not doing your part (far more than mine, I'm sure--I am just beginning to realize how much I need to give). Just a thought that I was feeling at the moment that I think was good to express, aimed at a side of me more than anyone else.


Anonymous said...

i disagree. i like this post. all of us at times need a wakeup call. plus this was posted in "introspection", i think it's obvious K was talking to herself in it, no? though really, all of us need this, especially living in NY in our twenties. so much of our lives is based on selfishness, and i think K was commenting that she really wants to do more, that this is a wakeup call for herself-though i think it should be to all of us, whether we do the right thing never or just once in a while, we need to put the world in front of ourselves as much as we can.

and one more thing, K is too classy to say, or maybe not quite aware enough in fact, but this post i think speaks (or should speak) to one person in particular. the author has been through the ringer because of a person out there who really needs to read this post and do what's right, not what feels good for once.

Anonymous said...

Nice reply (above, first paragraph). I agree entirely that many people don't think beyond the borders of an MTA map. You're right: If this had been written in first person, as opposed to second, I would have probably applauded K's efforts.

Regarding the second half of your reply, I don't know any of you!

k said...

Hi again readers...all anonymous this time...hmmm...are you guys all one person?

I will be clearer in the future. Hey, everything on this site is a work in progress. I'm a work in progress.

As for the assertion that this should be directed at anyone, I appreciate the backing, anon #4, but I've got nothing but love for everyone in and out of my, let's keep it gentle, eh?


Anna O. said...

You and I should be friends, or maybe were/are in another time. I too am reading several books, writting one of my own, going to art school part time, and working full time. Oh, and I love kitties.

And yes; we all should strive to do more than we already do to affirm and respect other lives, whatever it is that we do. Keeping this in mind negates what anon. # 2 said.

See my blog:

Anna O. said...

"And yes; we all should strive to do more than we already do to affirm and respect other lives, whatever it is that we do."

Meaning; we should ALWAYS strive to do more, no matter if we already "do."

Sorry, hope thats more clear.