Ever since I was a little girl, there’s been a string of 10 special words that I’ve held dear to my heart. My dad would finish his daily prayer of thanksgiving before dinner with them, gently saying:
“May we be ever mindful of the needs of others.”
Although we sit at different tables now, Dad’s words remain an important part of our dinnertime ritual. I share them with my own family before we eat in hopes that they will be a beacon of light for my children as they continue to be for me.
Regardless of whether or not prayer is part of your life, I’m hopeful these simple, beautiful words can guide all of us - as individuals, as communities, and as a society - through this very dark time.
After all, in this historic and painful year, we’ve been truly awakened to the fact that we’re one human family - that we MUST be more mindful of what others need if we are going to experience collective well-being.
Our global pandemic was the first lesson in understanding and honoring such interconnectedness. The social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders forced us to consider how each of our actions have the power to protect the safety of others. The economic downturn quickly brought to light the importance of being sensitive to the financial concerns of our neighbors and friends. We've learned that by focusing on what others need, we can make a meaningful difference. That through our own sacrifices, we can deliver great rewards of health and security to people we care about and to those we may never meet.
Recently, that lesson of interconnectedness has been deepened - tragically, on the heels of the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery - among other incidents that have exposed our society’s longtime, insidious cancer of racism. Hundreds of years of unjust treatment and unfair suffering; countless people whose needs have been ignored now at the forefront. Now we have the potential to turn the page, and I am hopeful that we will. People everywhere are leaning into the problem, opening up dialogue, and considering how to support the greater good. As a society, we're expanding our awareness - listening and learning on a level that is exercising the muscles of real empathy. We’re exploring needs and starting to talk about how to address them. Like everyone else, I so wish it didn't take these tragedies for this awakening to occur - it's absolutely senseless. My heart hurts for those families and all who have been the victims of racism over the years; I cannot even begin to imagine what they've endured.
Both situations, while full of despair and heartache, offer up the reminder that we must be much more mindful of other human beings who make up our circle of humanity. I hope this message will resonate for years to come.
My mom made a wonderfully enlightened observation the other day when we spoke (as she often does!). Mom noted the irony of the fact that this is the year 2020, and that 20/20 vision is about seeing things clearly.
It seems to me that discovering real clarity in the year 2020 begins by being “ever mindful of the needs of others.” Perhaps if we all start there, we will be able to see a crystal-clear path through the darkness to brighter days ahead.
Marybeth G. Cale is a Certified Life and Leadership Coach based in the Hudson Valley region (with an office in Rhinebeck, New York). She works virtually with clients from all over the country by phone, Zoom, or GoToMeeting to support professional and personal growth and development. To schedule a confidential session, call 845.876.2220 or email email@example.com.