“The heart, however, wants to connect us and wants to share. It wants to show us that there are no differences and that ultimately we are all the same. The heart has an intelligence of its own, and if we learn from it we will know that we keep what we have only by giving it away. If we want to be happy, we make others happy. If we want love, we have to give love. If we want joy, we need to make others joyful. If we want forgiveness, we have to forgive. If we want peace, we have to create it in the world around us. If we want our own wounds to be healed, we have to heal others.”
Into the Magic Shop, James R. Doty, MD
I was recently given the gift of 10 quiet days of solitude on Turtle Island, Fiji to reflect and regroup after a very busy 2016 full of change and challenge. Like many of you, my year was full of a lot of work and family obligations – and much of it ended up being surprising and, yes, even shocking! Certainly tiring! During this time in Fiji I read the book Into the Magic Shop by Dr. James Doty at the recommendation of my friend Karen Rhodes. The quote above resonated with me on many levels which is why I share it with you today – and within the context of how fundamental philanthropy (love of mankind) is to our well being as individuals and as a larger global community.
As 2016 wound down, I found myself at a meeting with many of the very brightest minds in the social sector – people who are challenging the status quo in the world of philanthropy with a deep commitment to enabling donors, organizations and entire communities to come together to solve so many important social issues. We discussed in great detail all of this on the eve of the U.S. election and watched in fascination, along with the rest of the world, about how all of the ‘experts’ got it wrong in predicting the outcome. Many said aloud, “how could this happen?” As we met together the morning after the election, and discussed the challenges in our industry, the trends, the data and how to effect change in the industry, I was struck by how this is a remarkable opportunity.
Regardless of your opinion about the outcome of the election, we all agree that there has been a seismic shift – a demand for change! And, while yes, there is despair and disappointment, there is also a remarkable opportunity ahead of each and every one of us.
Our nation is built upon a foundation of people coming together to effect change – in large and small ways. Our hearts want to connect – we want to connect as a people, as a community, to be a part of something larger than ourselves. It is in our nature. We are stronger together. We do, in fact, want to take care of one another. And in our country, WE do this in large and small ways – $375 billion ways annually – to be exact…
So as I sat in the meeting thinking “deep thoughts” with “very smart people” it occurred to me that the opportunity for people to step forward and face their fears about the direction of this country, or even the world, was right here, right now.
The time is now for each and every one of us to examine the people, the causes and the issues that are important to us and to step up, step forward and to connect. Let’s lead with our hearts, with intention, like Dr. Doty suggests, and effect the changes needed to solve even the most complex social issues, and dare to face our despair and disappointment with our philanthropy; with our love.