Last week, I went to the Anne Lamott reading at Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, which is an extraordinary place, lots of amazing work being done there and such a beautiful building! A highlight of the evening turned out to be when the choir led the crowd of adults in singing “This Little Light of Mine.”
It was absolutely uplifting and inspiring to be in a crowd of adults belting out this spiritual. I looked at the people around me and they were shining! It was beautiful to let ourselves feel lifted up together with hope in ourselves and in each other.
This moment came on the heels of a tough week, in which I crashed one morning with the dark and uncomfortable thought, “I just can’t compete. I just don’t have enough time or resources.” Wow, the words struck hard! Is that what I actually thought? Is that the way I was looking at my life and the gifts I wanted to offer to the world. Could I honestly face those words, which I would rather brush under the carpet and pretend I never heard?
After talking to my sister, I could see more clearly the roots of my thinking, and how I was trapped in habits. I prayed hard. Dear God, please show me another way, a way that felt more free and joyful. Often, I am answered by the voice of someone older and wiser.
So later that day, I was fortunate to talk to a spiritual elder, who invited me to intentionally approach my projects with kindness and love. Wow! I got it. YES! With intention and an open heart, I could shift from an engrained attitude of competition, to a more surrendered and graceful attitude of offering my gifts to the world. And I could bring loving kindness to my work.
Becoming more intentional is a practice, though, so now before I begin to write a blog post, create a Facebook blurb, or send out emails, I sit for a minute, get quiet, and bring loving kindness to myself and my work. I love doing this! It shifts the entire way I am relating to myself and what I am creating.
Yes, I am offering my gifts to the world, and in that offering I can be open like a bowl, both giving and receiving. Surrender is inviting me to relax into my life. I can surrender into what I can do, and into what I cannot do right now.
Imagine yourself as a bowl, giving and receiving in a continuous cycle, with love and kindness to yourself and others. I invite you to become more intentional in how you share your work and your gifts in the world.
Here’s an incredible version of “This Little Light of Mine.” Enjoy it!