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Guiding Principles

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Reflecting on what guides me most in day-to-day life, I would have to be honest and say it’s self-preservation or selfishness. If not guided, I’m at the very least distracted by my own wants, needs, and desires. Yet living a selfish life is harder than it looks, and problematic. We all have a massive, deep-down need for love.

Yet, the tension is that at some point we need to share love and give love to receive it on a regular basis. Sharing builds powerful aspects of our character that can lead to compassion. So even though I’m tragically a selfish person caught up in my own wants, needs, and desires I also want to be loved and experience love with others.

This want of personal interaction turns into relationships and develops compassion for others that invades the selfishness with an awareness – perhaps of loss, of love, fear, grief, sadness, abuse, poverty, marginalization, racism, hunger, or homelessness. So publicly I strive to be a

person of awareness, pausing to experience life and the lives of others around me. We may live this way because of previous negative experiences, embarrassment, or difficulties, stress or pain. A good guiding principle for life is to accept that we are all on a journey, we cannot for the most part live in selfish isolation, we need one another.

I’ve learned, with those that have survived poverty, marginalization, addictions, abuse, loneliness and post-traumatic stress, that selfishness doesn’t build resilience, it builds loneliness. Whatever guiding principles lead you most in life will be known by those around you, they will often respond to you the way you respond to them. So, I encourage you to be kind without hesitation, love the way you want to be loved and respected.

Blessings,

Padre Michael Bowyer

3CRPG