Last week, I came across two quotes that brought me great inspiration and clarity for our times, as well as deep comfort. As I continue to work with them, they have become much more than just quotes; they feel like timeless teachings. Perhaps they will speak to you as well.

The first comes from Mildred Lisette Norman Ryder, an American spiritual teacher, mystic, and peace activist who, in her forties, adopted the name Peace Pilgrim. She began a 28-year pilgrimage for peace in 1953, walking more than 25,000 miles across North America before her death in 1981.

Peace Pilgrim wrote:

Live in the present.
Do the things that need to be done.
Do all the good you can each day.
The future will unfold.

So simple. Years ago, I had a coaching client whose personal mantra was, “Just do the next right thing.” That was his way of saying what Peace Pilgrim wrote. It’s so easy to get caught up in the question of “How?” and never take action because we can’t come up with a plan. Don’t worry about the plan. Just do the next good thing that needs to be done. Then pause and sense what the next good thing is that needs to be done, and do it. Keep following this pattern. In time, you’ll realize that a plan is taking shape and the future is unfolding.

The second quote arrived in my inbox from A Network for Grateful Living, a global organization rooted in the teachings of Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast. The quote was presented as an interpretive translation of Talmudic texts:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.

Those last two lines won’t let go of me. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

We are all in this together. We all have a role to play in the ever-unfolding journey of humanity. Right now, we’re in a particularly messy period. And in the messiness, there are countless opportunities for walking in integrity and love, as well as for stepping more fully into who we truly are. We are not obligated to fully manifest a world that works during our lifetime, yet if we follow the deepest callings of our hearts, neither are we free to abandon the work.

And so I leave you with a mash-up of a bit of Peace Pilgrim and a bit of the Talmud, with the mantra of from my former client mixed in:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Live in the present.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
Do the things that need to be done.
Do all the good you can each day.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.
Just do the next right thing.
The future will unfold.

~ ~ ~

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