In the past few days I've engaged in some incredible conversations with friends who are so optimistic about what 2013 holds that they actually glow. They are radiant with hope and positivity. It seems to literally ooze out of their pores. They use words like "enthusiastic," "excited," "engaged," and "elated" to describe their hope for the year ahead. One of my good friends, Cindy Changyit Levin of RESULTSChicago, is getting ready to run the Disney Royal Family 5k as Pocahontas. She looks so stunningly gorgeous and happy in her costume that I wish I were running as Meeko beside her (instead of her incredibly cute daughter who will be doing the honors).
And thankfully that kind of energy is contagious. I may not be running a 5k on behalf of Shot@Life, but I can most definitely cheer her on while she prepares for this race (and the additional mini-marathon she is running, not in costume of course). Because that's what friends do. And in order to improve the world we need to support those who are improving the world, even if we ourselves don't feel like improving the world because of where we feel we are in the world.
We all know that improving the world isn't always about grand gestures and huge financial donations (although both are pretty nice if you are able to swing it), it is sometimes as simple as improving yourself first so you are better able to improve the world, to believe that we are all capable of "getting better" so that the world gets better. After all, it is our perception of place, our sense of self, which influences the course and direction of our days. It takes training to prepare for a 5k, and there are always setbacks along the way. But whether you walk the 5k or run, the point is you are doing something, and doing something trumps doing nothing every day of the week.
|"If you only walk on sunny days, you will never reach your destination"|
Cindy is not a novice runner, so a 5k is a "no sweat" moment. But as any athlete knows, all it takes is one small, seemingly insignificant thing to happen either before or during a run, and it can throw you off your pace. While she is more than ready, she might be running with runners who haven't really trained and she might be easily distracted during her run (she is running in Disney World after all), and the weather could be an influence as well. But she is going to run. And run fast and run with a joy and lightness in her heart because she is running as an example to her daughters (that princesses possess power) and for causes she believes in (Shot@Life and RESULTS).
We all have dark days. Days where we don't feel much like improving the world, let alone believing that others can do it either. But no matter how dark our darkest moment is, we know that tomorrow it will be different. I'm certain that there have been days when Cindy has been less than enthusiastic about running. But she does it anyway. And needs me to get out of my funk to cheer her ass on. I can certainly do that much for one who does so much for so many. Including me.
So, when our day brightens up a bit, when we've taken our first sip of coffee or deep cleansing breath, and we've noticed the slight hint of sunshine peeking through the clouds, we know that there is time for the 5k or the grand gesture. We know that by nurturing our self and our relationships, we can improve the world. That we start small and simple, by buying flowers. Then we can pick up the phone and advocate for a cause we believe in. We clean the cobwebs from the corners of the ceiling, the emails cluttering our inbox, and once we do that we are better able to seek clarity in our purpose, our vision, and how we communicate.
"Work for a cause, not applause. Life life to express and not for impress.
Don't strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt."
So, while my friend Cindy runs to improve the world while literally running the paths that run through the happiest place on earth, I will be cheering her on.