I cleared some physical space this weekend as I make room for positive things coming in my work and life over the next several months. <Side note. Do this when you are starting on a new dream or at a crucial moment in the pursuit of your goal. Don’t make it a major project, but do spend 30 minutes (or 10) to clear some physical space…even a single drawer. It is an instant energy booster and flow enhancer.>
While clearing some space, I looked up at this photo that I rarely notice as it has been in my office for many years. I shot it when my husband and I traveled to India with Habitat for Humanity.
During our time in India, we volunteered for several days in Mother Teresa’s homes in Kolkata. Everyone always asks me if we met Mother Teresa…and yes, yes we did.
Most of our time, though, was spent side-by-side with citizens of a local rural area near Rewari, India to provide extra hands to build homes in their community. We were there in August and I spent many days working on top of a roof in 100 degree weather…squatting side-by-side with the local young women of the village as they taught me how to crush and pack rock down on the roof.
Despite the physically challenging work (at least for me squatting 8 hours a day was new), we laughed often (mostly at my incompetence), taught one another words in our respective languages, and in truly magical moments, exchanged knowing smiles about the beauty of our experience together.
During our final evening there, the locals organized a house dedication ceremony and midway through our Habitat group had to leave in a hurry. People from other villages were starting to arrive and it was getting very crowded and our hosts advised that we go as our presence was creating chaos. As we were speeding off, one of the women that I had worked with all week sprinted after our jeep. I was in the back and she was able to grasp my hand and hold it, until our pace was too, our hands still extended until we could no longer see one another.
I am still taken by the experience when I think about it today all these years later. As much as meeting Mother Teresa, a literal saint, was an honor and a special moment that people want to hear about; mostly it is just an intriguing story to tell… But working shoulder-to-shoulder on the rooftop with my friend, that was different. That moved my soul… Playing a small part in building life-changing homes, connecting so personally with someone a world away, and learning about the beauty and the limits of her life. No, it did more. It changed my soul…informing some of my life choices.
I think it is time to retire the photo from my wall. Just to make it crystal clear that I (and my family) are ready for new travel and work adventures.
But I am glad I waited all this time as it has reminded me how important is to take time to remember what makes me feel fully alive and knowing I want more of that in my life. Not what makes for a cool story or an impressive job title that gratifies the ego, but the work and connections that call me deeply. There’s too little time to settle for less.
So how about you? What moves your soul?
Take a few moments to write down a list right now. Can you do one thing this week that moves your soul?