IGNITE YOUR LIFE: “Be of Service” by Sarah Gish
“Be of service.” is the sixth way to ignite your life in my “IGNITE YOUR LIFE!” art project and community campaign (www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com) and the word associated with this concept is “SERVE.” I have been sober 32 years and I learned the most about service in relation to my recovery. One of the cures for alcoholics is to get out of themselves and give to others. This is because it flips the selfishness of the disease inside out: the more you think about others, the less you think about your cravings.
When I was growing up, there was no need to pad my college application with a list of the 12,000 places I served. And, although we went to church sometimes, I don’t remember doing much to help others outside of helping my parents clean the house or the yard. So, when I got sober, I had to learn how to serve and discovered it was like a muscle: the more I helped others, the better I felt. And then being of service became a habit.
Helping others connects hearts and service and is a form of compassion. Compassion Lab (www.thecompassionlab.com) is a group of compassion researchers and according to them, “Compassion is the heart’s response to suffering. Compassion — from the roots passio (suffering) and com (with) — means to suffer with another. Compassion is an innate part of human response to suffering, which is comprised of a three-part experience of noticing another’s pain, feeling with another, and responding in some way.” Service is the result of compassion – we see a need and we fill it.
We each give back in ways that we can – as a wise person once told me: give your time, your talent, or your treasure. Some people might be more comfortable writing a check whereas others want to work in a soup kitchen. Do service that fits your lifestyle. I have so little spare time that sometimes my service is just giving crackers and water bottles to street people – I look them in the eye, have a little chat, and our hearts connect briefly. When the floods hit Houston last year, I felt moved to go to people’s houses and do their laundry because I’m an outgoing person and I like to serve by getting in the middle of it all. If you decide people-to-people contact is also for you, a couple of good websites for Houston volunteering opportunities are www.VolunteerHouston.org and www.JustServe.org.
The more you give, the more you get. Give to others and be of service and you’ll find that others will give back to you. The universe opens up to help you and it’s a beautiful cycle. The words “Trust. Serve.Love.” are on my glove compartment because those are the three most important words to me. Serve is in the middle of it all.
“Be of Service” is one of my twelve ways to ignite your life daily – ways that, if followed, will stave off addiction, depression, anxiety, and isolation. Being ignited for your life does that!
She produces a weekly blog highlighting unique cultural activities for adults and kids in Houston, www.GishPicks.com. Her IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project, www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com; the complete list of her “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily” can be accessed there. Sarah also does private intuitive guidance sessions on Mondays at Body Mind & Soul; to schedule one, please call the store at 713.993.0550.