This is the fifth and final article in a monthly, five-part series that advocates for living a balanced life in the areas of: Global Citizenship, Local Volunteering, Meaningful Careers, Strong Networks, and an Empowered Self.
“Boston Strong” is the slogan that has emerged in the aftermath of April 2013’s terrorist activity at the Boston Marathon, at MIT, and in Watertown. Each of us had different reactions to the events… Some people were on the scene, and others tuned in from down the street, or overseas. I myself was at the Finish Line one minute before the bombs went off, and was very grateful to already be out of harm’s way when I heard the two explosions. Tragically, many others were not so lucky.
With each trauma and challenge we face as humans, we are given the opportunity to learn from the past, grow stronger, and create our own empowering mantra for moving forward. Each health concern, relationship, job, and yes, terrorist act that we experience adds to our personal evolution. For example, a significant turning point in many of our lives came with the horrific events of September 11th, 2001 – where shock turned to grief. Grief turned to fear. And after sufficient time to cope, we hopefully were then able to turn these emotions into resolve for positive action.
For me, after 9/11, I committed to improving my understanding of the world, and people around me, seeking various ways to try to help.
For the next 10 years, I:
1. Studied conflict resolution in Japan, as a Rotary World Peace Fellow
2. Helped found a service organization called Boston Rotaract
3. Promoted diversity as an employee of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations
4. Became a “Connector” for Mayor Menino’s Boston World Partnerships organization.
In short, over the last decade, I’ve worked to develop skills as a Global Citizen and local volunteer; established a career that is meaningful to me; and built a strong network of new friends, and colleagues in Boston and around the world - (all subjects of my previous four articles).
Yet, throughout these 10 years of researching and implementing various ways of fostering peace and understanding externally, on a macro level... I realized that the most essential level, is the micro-level work I did to simultaneously develop peace and understanding within myself – pursuing health and balance, and working to find my purpose.
My higher purpose became clear as I decided to start a company called Whole U. – a consultancy which supports people on living balanced, purposeful lives, through: Image Consulting, Career Coaching, and Connection to Health, Beauty, and Wellness Experts (including: Chinese Medicine, Nutrition, Reiki & Energy Work, Hair & Skin Care, and Meditation, Yoga & Movement). Through creating a Whole U. Personal Development Plan, I help empower clients to feel Whole ... Mind, Body, and Soul, and to bring their best selves to the world around them.
I asked two Boston-area practitioners I have worked with about their opinions on the Empowered Self…
Carolyn Little, a Yoga Instructor, Health Coach, and founder of The Awesome Savant, believes that "to become more integrated and empowered in all areas of your life one must desire to know oneself, to look at areas of denial and accept hard truths.” Little says that, “once you make peace with all parts of yourself, healing guilt and shame, do you truly feel inspired and a higher purpose dawns. It's this higher purpose that guides, nourishes and empowers the whole being in every aspect of their life."
Megan Marini, Founder of Marini Media, who helps people plan publicity and social media, says that, "being at peace with your Self is at the root of the Empowered Self. You can have the career, the wo/man, the mansion... but if you don't have a peaceful relationship to Self... it's all worthless. When a ‘not enough’ mentality clouds us, we suck the beauty out of ourselves. Try to remember - You're magnificent, and to look in the mirror and tell yourself in a powerful voice - I'm amazing. I'm open to love. I'm beautiful. I'm lovable!"
When you are good to yourself, and believe in yourself, you will feel empowered to perform well in all aspects of your life – in your relationships, at your job, through community service, and as a Global Citizen on planet Earth – committed to a cause greater than yourself.
Shannon O’Brien works at MIT, and is the founder of Whole U., LLC, through which she advises clients on living balanced purposeful lives, helping them connect to meaningful careers, people, resources, and service projects. She can be reached at Shannon.OBrien@post.Harvard.edu.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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