“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.”
E. W. Howe
I love this quote from E. W. Howe for the elegant simplicity of it. True heroism isn’t about the grand gesture, the dramatic action or a larger-than-life performance. True heroism lives in stepping out of our narrow focus on serving ourselves to acknowledge the value of others.
In the current zeitgeist of selfies, “me first” and shoving our way the top, this definition of heroism is actually rather easy to accomplish. Take a moment to step back from the moment and experience a bigger picture. Be aware of your connection to your immediate surroundings, the people you interact with and the people you pass by. Temporarily shift your perception from “me or them” to simply “us.” The truth of life is that we’re all in this together, whether we overtly acknowledge that fact or not.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Living conscious, intentional lives as an example to those around us may be the most heroic thing we can do for ourselves and others. Capitalism sells us the idea that it’s a “dog-eat-dog” world but I believe there’s a biological imperative toward compassion and cooperation that is intended to keep the tribe alive. In this connected world we now live in, on a certain level all of humanity is our tribe. Our interactions with those physically near us makes an immediate difference (for us and for them) and it also initiates a ripple effect that spreads beyond the moment. Living our lives with positive intention powers an ever-widening circle of positive influence.
While the hectic pace of our lives (particularly in urban environments) can sometimes make it difficult to be consciously present, it is possible to cultivate “the pause” when we stop for just a moment and allow ourselves to experience our connection to the world around us. Abraham-Hicks suggests that holding ourselves in that connected awareness for as little as seventeen seconds can provide a vibrational adjustment that builds over time.
Not all habits are bad habits. Practicing that awareness pause can also become a habit that refreshes us and becomes easier and easier as we do it repeatedly. The key is to learn to recognize our triggers and practice that pause response when we feel overwhelmed or stressed.
It’s not about becoming a Zen monk! Gift yourself with that seventeen second pause to simply breathe and BE in the moment. Put a smile on your face, whether you’re feeling it or not. The physical act of smiling will stimulate a matching positive internal response.
“It is easier to act your way to a new way of thinking than it is to think your way to a new way of acting.”
As you continue to practice this simple exercise, you will find your awareness of the people and situations around you changing. It becomes easier to acknowledge others and feel your way to the compassionate response that engenders the “everyday heroism” I’ve been talking about.
As you develop the habit of pausing and sensing your connection to the world around you, you will be amazed and gratified by the increase in positive energy in your life. It becomes easier to smile in the midst of chaos. Compliments and supportive offerings to others begins to feel natural and “right.”
Don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself and discover the truth of it. Cultivating that positive pause will make a difference that enables you to be that everyday hero, lifting others up and spreading a transforming energy that will improve the world.