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How to infuse your day with courage

September 25, 2023   |   1 Comment

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is freeze in the face of the world’s ills. Then I think about what’s on my to-do list and wonder if I can actually do any of the things I hope to. Am I capable or just a capable poser? Will there be something in my email or voicemail that will scare me? (I scare easily.) I wonder if I’ll be good enough to meet the circumstances of my life.

I’m not even on cup of tea #2 before I’ve talked myself under the desk, afraid to come out.

Then I remember the one question that, when I ask it of myself, snaps everything back into focus. This question calms me down, returns to me my enthusiasm for my own life, and empowers me to own my aspirations.

What kind of good can I do in the world today?

That’s it. Not what kind of good can I do FOR the world or TO the world—but in it. How can I jump in to the craziness and joy and despair and mystery and possibility and try to meet what comes at me with authenticity, gentleness, and/or ferocity? What do I need to do so that I can go to sleep at the end of this day knowing that I did something, anything to leave the world in the tiniest bit better shape (or greater) than when I woke up? Even if I’m the only one who knows it?

It could be something as simple as sweep my front stoop to create more beauty in the neighborhood…call a sick friend…take a walk so i can remain healthy for myself and those who love me…or something as grand as start that book proposal that shares my knowledge with the world…write a giant check to charity… or, best of all, try to meet every being I encounter in the next 24 hours with openness, patience, curiosity, and delight? (Those last two, curiosity and delight, are synonyms…so don’t worry about having to like everyone or always be nice. You can be grumpy and judgmental. Just take an interest in the whole thing and don’t believe any of it.) This openness creates goodness within you, around you, and for you.

When you contextualize your activities as efforts to increase the good, something magical happens. It doesn’t change what is on your to-do list, but shifts the intention behind it all. In this shift is tremendous energy.

Check it out and see if it does the same for you. Try asking yourself the question, “what kind of good can I do in the world today?” every morning for a week or so.

Seriously. If you open your heart, you can change the world. I’m not joking about that. You can do it! You! Yes, you!! (And that is why this whole thing is called The Open Heart Project.)

Let me know what you come up with.

With love,


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1 Comment

  • Posted by:  Deborah Hamilton

    Thank you for this! I have been down with Covid for most of September. It was so reassuring to know that the two greeting cards I wrote to others this morning are now out there as part of what I can do IN the world today.

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“With wisdom, creativity and artistry, Susan Piver brings a Buddhist lens to the spiritual map of the Enneagram. The results are vibrant and nourishing; a banquet of insights that help us transmute our difficult emotions into pure expressions of our basic goodness.”

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