On an airplane, the flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. This makes sense. If you’re passed out from lack of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else.
In life, however, many of us forget this lesson and try to feed the world before ourselves. We go around the plane affixing oxygen masks while we slowly suffocate. That doesn’t sound very smart, does it? I mean even if you want to be a saint, surely saints could help more people if they didn’t collapse after helping ten?
Writer Johanna Harness once told me when she gets up at 5a.m. to write it makes her a better mother. She didn’t say, however, that she writes to be a better mother. My guess is, she writes because it feeds her in some way.
I’ve realized over the past few days of writing these posts that I could actually cull my values down to one--Spirit. Every other value on the list feeds my spirit. When my entire being is filled with the joy of friends and family, when I hum with the vitality of good health, when my heart overflows with happiness from laughter from fun, when I am humbled by gratitude or the profound breadth of all there is to learn, and when my very being brims with awe from the sight of something beautiful, then my spirit is full to bursting.
It makes me want to pass it on. So, my top value is Spirit. My spirit. Because when that is full, I am at my best, I can be my best and I can give my best to the world.
And let’s be clear: my best today may be a different thing than my best tomorrow. Life is a work in progress, or WIP, as we writers call them. You have only to check in with the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter at any moment to see how writers are dealing with their WIPs. It covers the entire gamut of human experience--just like life.
So what feeds you? And could you narrow your values down to just one?