For most of us, the first thing we must do is to work — to have a roof over our head, bread in our mouth, fire in our chimney — for ourselves and for those who are dependent on us. Work chosen and loved by a few, accepted and hated by most.
Then, there is the joy we give to those we love, those who love us. Joy and happiness given unreservedly, graciously, with a smile. Gift of our time, strength, resignation, health, concentration, sleep, money, abnegation, calm — received with or without gratitude.
There is that part of our life which we give to the world — to show our gratitude of having had the privilege of being in this world — the part we leave to others. It may be a painting, a sonata, a hospital, a vaccine defying death, a law improving justice, writings opening the minds of some, actions and words bringing comfort to others.
Then, there is the part which we give to ourselves, to develop the potential talents received at birth, or to give us the joy and serenity we need — for ourselves or to share with others. It may be music, philosophy, ballet dancing or mathematics, and reading, gardening, walking in forest or dreaming on the beaches.
“But what portion of our time, strength and love must we give to each of these?”
–Nicole Grasset, at the age of 20
(Nicole passed away last month at the age of 79, after having led a team of doctors to eradicate smallpox in the world, having started Seva Foundation and served the world in many ways, small and big.)