Lisa Sellman, owner and professional dog trainer at Aloha Pet Care; Dog Training, volunteers for half a dozen charitable organizations. She believes that community service is its own reward, a message that resonates throughout her new children’s book The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake.
Moving from Passion to Purpose and Power
By Lisa Sellman
Mirror neurons have been named the most important recent discovery in neuroscience. A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when a subject acts and when a subject observes the same action performed by others. Founded in 1992, neuroscientists observed that the same neurons in the brain of monkeys fired when they themselves picked up a nut as when they observed another monkey picking up a nut.
Mirror neurons explain many behaviors that a humans exhibit. Excitement at a sporting event, celebrity endorsed products, or even being prejudice can be explain by mirror neurons. In reality, the crowd is not playing the game, the purse does not have magical powers, and all humans are unique and not limited to the color of their skin.
The challenge of being human is that we can see others suffering and feel that pain ourselves. Our true self wants to take that pain away so we don’t feel the pain within. We all year to live a life free of suffering and it starts by asking yourself, “How can I serve others?”
Each time we answer that question with an action, we are saying yes to our true self and yes to the life that we are leading. This leads to empowerment and you will step out of the victim mentality which is so pervasive today. Being positive changes the way you see the world. The seeking desire that others have the answers you seek changes when you can fulfill the needs of others. We comfort others as we comfort ourselves.
I started choosing to volunteer in 1997. I happened across an article in the travel section about a canoe trip in the 10,000 Islands chain in Florida and it sparked my interest. I contacted the organization, Wilderness Inquiry, and found out there was an opening for a volunteer to assist on the trip. The trip was in about 10 days and I had time accrued at the hospital where I worked. I have found this happens all of the time with volunteer activities. You don’t really plan them – they enroll you and you are just along for the ride.
That week 14 years ago, has led me to continue volunteering with Wilderness Inquiry for trips in the Boundary Waters, Cascade Mountains of Washington, Dog Sled Trips in Northern Minnesota, and just recently a canoe trip in Montana this past July. I also daily seem to find something to do to help out somewhere for other organizations and individuals that inspire me. The people that I am suppose to “help” instead help me to see that we are all alike. Just like me, they seek happiness, avoid suffering, and may feel loneliness and sadness. Just like me, they want to fulfill their needs and learn about life.
My own passion, I have discovered, has been feeling this connectedness that never goes away. I see what is real in life and no longer only see the concepts that separate us. A happy life for me is one where I feel accepted and know that my ideas and actions are making a difference in the world.
Isolation and a feeling of hopelessness was very real to me at one time. Seeing what is the reality and possibility in my life through helping others and being open to the needs of others has healed me and led me forward to a life of purpose.
Had you told me that I would be writing and that I would publish a children’s book about being of service in your community last year, I would not have believed it. By following my passion and purpose, my power leads me on paths that bring more and more joy to my life. Inspiration comes to me now in many forms and I am able to discern quickly what resonates with my true self. The words that I write, the actions I take, the choices I make, all are aligned so that I can best be of service and encourage others to see their lives as one of meaning and miraculous potential. The moment I start feeling lack or even fear for my future, it is like wearing a wool sweater that was put in the dryer by mistake. It used to do the job and I wore it often. Now it is just an itchy thing that needs to be thrown out and replaced with something that fits.