Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Serenity Check In: Are You of Service to Your Clients?

Last week I was sick. It's a long story, and ends with surgery next week. Don't worry. It's nothing serious. Jus an outpatient procedure. Still, it's serious enough to cause me to miss work and freak out quite a bit. I couldn't sit at my desk, I was worried sick. I was cranky that I didn't know what caused it or what would happen next. And I couldn't get a single, coherent answer from my healthcare providers.

So it was that I went to the gym on Sunday, in a bad mood and in pain.

I walked out of the gym and ran into some tourists looking for directions to public transit. I showed them the way and we struck up a conversation. It was a beautiful day. And at the end of it, I felt happier and more relaxed.

What happened? I got out of myself and helped someone else.

So while I wait for the surgery, and worry about the results, I'm keeping in mind this week that those five minutes when I was giving directions were five minutes when I wasn't worrying about myself, my health or anything else. It's not that health isn't a totally valid thing to worry about, but frankly, I was burned out on my own self-obsession. It felt good to help someone else and let go of the drama I was creating around myself.

So the name of the game for me this week, and hopefully beyond, is to be of service.

If there's something you're worrying about--if your work is slow, if your bank account is low, if the recession is eating into your sleep--take a tip from me. Be of service.

If you catch yourself obsessing about things out of your control, scan this list and do one:

Be of service to your clients. Have work to do? Do it. Don't think about yourself, and how doing this article or finishing that project will make you a rich and lead to accolades. Just do the work. You're helping your client by focusing all your attention on their needs and their readers' needs. That's what's important right now.
Be of service to your household. Often, I'm too busy fretting to get to that pile of laundry or to wash my dishes. I figure I'm a very busy and important person. I don't have time to do the dishes. Dude, get over yourself. Stop thinking about yourself and just do the dishes. You are providing a service to the people you live with.
Be of service to your loved ones. You may not believe this, but just calling a loved one and telling them you love them is providing them with a huge service. They could be having a horrible day and your call could restore some sanity to their day, too. Just remember: Don't bitch about what's wrong in your day. Listen to *them.* This is about service, not feeding your own drama.
Be of service to yourself. You still and always matter. So when I'm obsessing, I try to break out of it and do the following: I call the doctor to arrange an appointment if I need to. I dye my hair. I go to the gym. I buy and cook healthy food. These are services I do for myself that don't feed whatever I'm obsessed about.

Consider it a mini-holiday from the doom-and-gloom. I write a lot about loving kindness, but that can seem a little to airy-fairy to grasp. Service is much easier. You are spreading loving kindness when you replace your negative obsessions with loving service. And, by the way, you're creating a better world for yourself and those around you.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hope you're recovering quickly from your surgery!