Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my biggest heroes because his dream was to be a messenger of love, and few have done it better, with more courage and heart.
People live in a busy, crazy, screechingly fast-paced and sometimes divided world, in which communities are interacting online in sound-bytes while information flashes at you at the astounding rate of up to one billion bits per second. The most a person can process in eight hours is one million bits.
People are overloaded and overwhelmed as a collective society.
You rush through your days without once stopping to pause, center yourself, refocus and be certain you are headed where you want your life to go. Instead, you find yourself drowning in a sea of online information intermixed with 24/7 propaganda while trying to focus on getting through your life in one piece.
Information overload is a reality for so many people living in the modern era of social media, Smartphones, apps, and 24-hour world news cycles.
Are we living our dreams or allowing ourselves to be washed under a daily tsunami of sound-bytes, to lose touch with our heart’s desires, and to be rushed through an approximation of life without even knowing why we are doing what we do? I don’t believe this is what your life was meant to be: to rush relentlessly through your days distracted and ignoring your big dreams.
I think you are meant to learn to love yourself more–to slow down to be fully present in your life and with the people around you. I believe you are meant to enjoy the beauty of this world, find joy through living your dreams and share your joy with others. I think you’re meant to appreciate each moment, even as you balance all the many tasks that fill your daily life.
Slow Down, Breathe, Believe and Spread a Message of Love
A day like Martin Luther King Junior Day serves as a reminder to everyone that the people who have made the most significant impact on the world are those who dared to love bigger, dream bigger, and stretch the boundaries of what is possible. The Reverend Dr. King refused to let hate harden his heart.
He dared to love in the face of injustice and fear. He chose to see everyone as his sister, like his brother, and to honor the humanity of all, even his oppressors. You know there is a higher purpose for your life. You can feel it, even in the moments when you are caught in your “daily grind.”
This is why people respond so strongly to heroes like MLK, who preach a message of brotherly and sisterly love, of one person, one God, who lifts everyone. MLK was a prophet of love, and he lived the message. Sadly, his life was stolen from him at the incredibly young age of 39. I can’t imagine what else he could have created and done, given more years on this earth.
The good news is that all of us who are here now–me, writing this, you, reading this–are still here, and you and I can be messengers of love. You and I can keep doing the excellent work that MLK began, and if today’s headlines are any indication of how the soul of the world is doing, there is so much more work to do!
Spread the Message of Love
I have experienced a fair amount of suffering in my life. I’ve survived trauma, PTSD, house fires, and soul-crushing depression. Ultimately, all of it made me stronger, showed me the unconditional and infinite power of love and grace, and reinforced that I survived so that I can give back to the world. You are so much more powerful than you think you are, so capable of transforming your life and contributing to society in ways beyond what you can even imagine. You have a dream too.
When you learn to truly love yourself and spread the message of love to others without conditions or judgment, the floodgates open to your life and opportunities for growth, loving, and living your dream pour in. You need to say yes to life and not constrict your dream with fear by locking the gate to your heart.
When you project loving-kindness, you glow from within, you radiate and emanate beauty, and you become a treasured gift in the lives of all you touch. Love expands you, stretches you, opens you, and helps you to be brave. Love will be your salvation because it is the only thing that can conquer hate.
There is nothing to fear, and no need to run from life. You are strong enough to face everything when you do so in a state of love. You can make your dreams come true.
32 Ways to Spread the Message of Love
The world needs love for society to move forward, for people to evolve, for Earth to be able to heal from violence, for people to choose one common humanity rather than fighting each other in brutal, needless wars over ideals or economics. This one precious life is worth more. There are so many ways to bring a loving message into the world, and so many people who need to hear it.
1. Meditate for at least 10 minutes a day so you can be fully present to those you love.
2. Practice gratitude. Find 3 things every day that you are grateful for in your life.
3. Send someone an email telling them what you think is great about them.
4. Leave a loving quote on a PostIt Note in the center of a book in a library or bookstore, or the back of a door in a bathroom stall.
5. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line.
6. Leave a good tip to the next waiter whether you thought the service or food was good or not.
7. Volunteer in your community.
8. Bake something for a neighbor.
9. Offer to watch a single parent’s children for free so that they can have a few hours of “me” time.
10. Visit a senior care facility. Donate a game, or cards or bring flowers. Sit with someone who doesn’t have a family. Read them a book.
11. Let the person with fewer groceries cut in front of you at the checkout line.
12. Pick up garbage when you are out on a walk or run.
13. Leave a place better than you found it.
14. Return anything you’ve borrowed.
15. Tell someone you love them.
16. Compliment someone’s outfit.
17. Stop participating in gossip. Vow to not say a single unkind thing behind someone’s back.
18. Stop arguing with strangers on social media.
19. Spread loving thoughts and humor on social media.
20. Donate clothes to Dress for Success.
21. When you sweep your walkway, sweep a neighbor’s, too.
22. If you borrow someone’s car, return it with more gas than it was given to you. Wash it and return it in beautiful condition.
23. When driving, move out of the fast lane and let that speeding car pass you by. You never know, they could be racing to get to the hospital or to someone who is sick.
24. Add change to a flashing parking meter giving that person 10 more minutes to get to their car.
25. Practice active listening for 24 hours with everyone you come in contact.
26. Post a positive online review about your favorite business.
27. Drop off new pencils, paper towels, and paper at a school near you.
28. Watch for someone who is slow to cross the street and stay near them to make sure they make it through before the light changes.
29. Slow down when driving through streets where people live.
30. Start a Little Free Library in your neighborhood. Be the first to fill it with books for all ages.
31. Join KIVA in supporting women entrepreneurs around the world.
32. March for women in your local community Women’s March.
May you continue the vital work of the Revered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and create a beautiful world around you–of one united humanity, one global family–by spreading messages of love and making your big dreams a reality.
Lisa Powell Graham
Lisa P. Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, TED motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning in their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on her website or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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