Here’s the thing I’ve learned about happiness:
It’s not just about me.
Just because I am responsible for my own happiness, does not mean that I am not connected to all of you – and you to me. We are all connected.
When I choose happiness, I make it easier for others to experience happiness. At the same time, I know now that we are never, ever alone in our pain.
There are a lot of us in pain right now. Hell, there are always people in pain, I know. But right now, the world has put a big spotlight on suffering and it shines over the northeast corner of the United States, on those who are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Like many of you, I’ve been watching my friends and colleagues – and a city that I love so much – wrestle with devastating loss and destruction. I remember well watching my family and friends endure a similar journey when Parkersburg, Iowa was leveled by a tornado. But back then I could get in my car and offer my help in person. Now, I’m watching the pain on a screen and thinking “what the heck could I possibly do to help?”
Happiness is taking responsibility.
Today, I’m taking responsibility for the fact that I can help. I am not wringing my hands and moaning about feeling helpless while babies are cold and thirsty. I am not shutting off the TV because the news is just too hard to watch. I am not walking away from the laptop because it is overwhelming.
I am accepting that I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
I can help in some way, and so can you, even if we live hundreds of miles of way.
>> If you planned to run in the NYC Marathon, or can get to the area, consider joining the NYC Marathon of Relief
>> Make a monetary donation to an organization supporting victims on the ground, such as:
- Project Hospitality helping Staten Island victims
- The Red Cross – the Weather Channel is matching donations up to $1 Million
- United Way regional fund for victims of Hurricane Sandy
>> If you’re on Twitter, follow @OccupySandy for ways to help – and to be constantly reminded of what is happening, because we owe it to our brothers and sisters not to forget, even as we lead our normal lives and give thanks for our own safety.
>> Do not look away. Listen to the stories when people want to tell them on Facebook or Twitter. Be there, for as long as it takes. Reach out, even if it’s just to say “I’m thinking of you.” It sounds trite; it feels trite, I know. But sometimes just knowing we are not alone gives us the strength to do the things that only we can.
Help where you see a need.
Our happiness depends on it.