This article first appeared in my newsletter November 3, 2016. Click here to sign up to receive my online newsletter.
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Six friends gathered for dinner and conversation. Our hostess had Stargazer lilies – in this fall-into-winter season. What a treat!
Lilies – especially Stargazer lilies – are one of my favourite flowers. To see them in this season of shortening days was pure delight. The lilies lit up the room. Their scent permeated. They definitely enhanced the pleasure of our dinner and conversation.
As we left, our hostess gave each of us a lily flower that had not yet opened. “Put it in a glass of water beside your bed,” she said. “When you wake up it will be open and you’ll have that wonderful smell.”
So I did.
The first morning the lily had opened just slightly but I could indeed smell that lovely scent. I smiled and carried on with the activities of the day.
On the second morning the lily had opened and it was glorious. The scent was stronger. I carried it into the kitchen; smiled at it over breakfast; took it with me as I moved to my office.
Later that day I was hosting an online webcast. Front and centre in my line of vision, the lily was smiling back at me as I spoke on the webcast. Inspiring!
I’m writing this on the third morning. The lily is in full radiant bloom and the scent is even stronger. I’m carrying the lily from room to room so I can see it while I move from one activity to another. Every time I flick my eyes in the direction of the lily, I smile.
The lily is lifting my heart and spirit and increasing my optimism. Such a gift!
A few days before the dinner with friends, I’d been reading a book called In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty by Mark Gonzales.
I’d been thinking about the state of the world, and how our thoughts and emotions are impacted by unsettling and traumatic world events, even when we’re not directly affected by the events.
I’d been thinking about how to stay sane and healthy even when some things in the world seem insane. I was also noticing how sometimes I feel powerless and discouraged in the face of events that seem appalling to me, but over which I have no influence.
In his book, In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty, Mark Gonzales talks about how we might not feel like we can do much, but we have more power than we know.
This quote stopped me cold, and reverberated for days:
“Even if your contribution to a better world seems like a small step, never doubt the power of a micro-strategy done with macro-intent.”
What a concept!
I can do macro-intent.
However tiny my direct impact may seem, I am absolutely capable of having a macro-intent, like “be a positive presence in the world” or “contribute to highest good of all” even when I don’t know what the highest good is.
I also remember the African saying: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, spend a night with a mosquito.”
I’m looking at one little lily flower, and noticing all the ways it’s enhanced my week. Our hostess’s “macro-intent” was to bring some pleasure to her friends. That lily has done so much more than that for me in just a few days.
One more quote from Mark Gonzales: “As I look at the world today, I am aware of how minuscule one person may seem to these sustaining actions in front of our eyes. Yet oddly, I ask you to laugh at such shrinking of our potential, for the divine does not make mistakes and nearly every sacred tradition says we who exist were imagined since the beginning of time. What does that mean? Simple. We were made for this moment.”
Make it a macro-intent week!