December 22, 2010

Open hearts for greater treasures

Posted in Between Us column, Employment, Relationships, Women at 9:53 pm by dinaheng

One of my dearest friends has suffered with clinical depression for years, going into periods when she is unable to get dressed and go out into the world to do anything. There are periods when she will sit at home, battling some unspoken fear, while her husband and family try to carry on with life around her, while taking care of her at the same time.

She fell into one of her funks a few weeks ago, canceling every walk, movie, or lunch date we tried to make. One day, she knocked on my door, and I opened it to find her standing there with a piece of cake, lit with a candle, on a elegant crystal plate. She wanted to wish me a happy birthday, and while she couldn’t say anything more than that before giving me a hug and leaving, I was so happy.

Despite her fear, her wish to share an act of love got her out of the house. I don’t know how long this period of depression will last, but I know she will come out of it because love and goodness is stronger than any fear we may hold.

This has been a difficult year for many of us. Industries of every ilk continue to change, the economy continues to seem uncertain, and friends we once worked with have moved on to other things. Many of us wonder how we can move forward to create something better for ourselves? How can we become innovators and entrepreneurs, and dream up ways to make more money?

The answer is very simple. We must remember that life is not just about us — it’s about ALL of us. To succeed at anything, we must live a life of service.

On the level of new product development and industry change, what do others need, and what can we do to meet that need?  On a personal level, what do the people around us  need, and what can we do to help them?  It’s all about how we look at the world, and give of ourselves.

The way we think, the things we say… it all has an affect on how Life then unfolds.

Want the economy to get better? Start thinking positively. Start talking as if things are already better, then do what you need to do to make it so. If you’re a business owner holding profits close to the vest, start hiring people. If you’re a consumer who’s been afraid to buy anything, buy something you may need and can afford… if not for yourself, then for someone else who needs it more.

One of my friends works for a company that has laid off many workers in the last year. The company cut her department down to two people and a temporary employee. Since there’s more work to be done among the three, my friend works overtime five days a week to get her share done.

She’s getting paid for the overtime, and is told that it’s less expensive for the company to pay the extra money to her than it is to hire another full-time employee and pay the benefits. But how long can anyone work under these kind of conditions?

Like everyone who’s employed these days, my friend is grateful to have a job. But from my point of view, companies that operate like this are practicing slave labor tactics, forcing employees to work more for fear of losing their jobs.

So what is my friend doing with her overtime salary? She’s saving it, and at the same time, has signed up to be a “Christmas Angel” for people who are less fortunate. In addition to family gifts for the holidays, she’s buying for strangers in need.

The holidays will be coming to a close before we know it. The season of giving thanks and sharing what we have comes to an end on December 31. But the spirit of the season can, and should, be with us year-round.

Wherever we are in life, there are always people who have more than we do, and people  who have less than we do. What matters is sharing what we have with others.

So share your time, your attention, your talents, your imagination, your patience, your encouragement, and your understanding with others. Open your heart to others, and you’ll discover that goodness has no bounds.

We have the power to overcome depression and fear… even when it’s called a recession.




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