in serving others we serve ourselves as well

seva, the underlying truth

Well, I made a big mistake. My child and I were walking in a parking structure when a woman whipped around the corner just missing my daughter. I went into fierce mamma bear mode and really made a mess. Instead of taking a more zen approach to the incident, I began to yell expletives, and I finished up with a mighty, “Learn how to drive!”

My doe-eyed child looked at me in horror, and asked, “Mom, did she hear you?” Still angry I answered, “Yes, she looked into my eyes and I looked into her eyes.” My daughter said without judgment over my BIG mistake, “That must have hurt her feelings.” Ouch.

It was time to reflect. Not only did I look like a fool, I also felt like one. My child learned some colorful new language. I shot a cannon of anger at another human being, who would likely then spread it to someone else. I didn’t feel good doing it. What did that anger really mean anyway?

As I went inward, something came to me. As humans we all want to be seen by each other. At the moment of the incident I felt like nothing to another human being, expendable. I felt invisible.

Later during the week, I practiced yoga at my usual location with a teacher I have been studying on and off with for a few years. As she said encouraging words to each of the students in the room by name, she never once acknowledged me. A little voice whispered, “Hey, what about me? See me.”  I laughed it off later as I lay in corpse pose.

There have been many times in my personal life where I have felt invisible or purposeless. Others would advise the best cure to feeling that way, is to be doing things for someone else with all your heart and soul, something selfless. In serving others we serve ourselves as well.

I deeply connected with that approach to life, and I decided to set a daily intention, that those paths that we cross throughout the day will have our full attention. Each of us are just waiting to be heard, to help to carry a heavy bag to the door for someone else, to share a personal story, or just share eye contact and smile. That is how we know we are truly alive, truly purposeful, truly here to make an impact on one another in a loving and present way.

I participated in a sound and yoga workshop, and the alchemy of that room pulled out years of stored hurt in my body that I cried and cried until I was empty. A stranger reached out to hug me and I allowed it. Those incredible touching moments are what I live for now. What a gift we can be for one another when we allow that to occur and remain open and connected.

Read next >> 10 tips on living life in a gingerly manner