“Remember when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received — only what you have given: A heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” — Saint Francis of Assisi
The best cognitive therapy (activity that stimulates brain connections and healing) there is is reaching out sideways to help others. St. Francis’ prescription for eternal wealth is also a powerful prescription for brain health and recovery.
In sharing the journey with people both brain injured and healthy, one thing stands out very clear. those who focus on themselves have worlds and capacity that get smaller and smaller while those who know themselves well, and meet their own needs while simultaneously reaching out to help others, no matter their own situation, have worlds and capacity that get larger and larger.
Why? Simple. We all have an epic battle going on inside us, between our saint (the breath of God within us) and our sinner (the effect of original sin). While we need to start with right relationship with ourselves and our God, we are all called to help build God’s kingdom by being generous and loving toward others. Doing so feeds our saint and weakens our sinner. This leads to eyes that see a world rich with gift and opportunity as well as others’ journeys in which we can share. Conversely, focusing on our selves to the exclusion of others, on the other hand does the exact opposite: it feeds our sinner and diminishes our saint, which blinds us to goodness and truth and closes us off to opportunities that lead to our own healing.
The irony is that in the journey of life we make far more progress by pausing and reaching out to help others (which launches us forward in unexpected ways through God’s grace) than if we focus on ourselves and block out others.
This is why the seventh stage of grieving is “Co-Creation” — by engaging the world and making it a better place we not only serve humbly to build God’s kingdom, but we also open ourselves to God’s flowing grace — which will always help us achieve our fullest potential, whatever that is and whatever our capacity.
May God startle you with joy!