Build empathy with those in relative darkness. Do by choice what others must out of necessity. Sleep in your car. Eat what has been discarded. Go hungry. Go dirty. Go sick. Wear the same clothes for days. Deprive yourself of human contact until your spirit cracks. Sit in hospital waiting rooms. Stand in a long line once in a while when you don’t even have to. Wait in the heat, or the cold.

Understand the invisible, the millions of others we pretend aren’t there or are just background noise and obstacles when what we’re doing is what matters. Get to know the unknown. Let yourself die from constant privilege, just long and often enough to understand those who do not have a choice a little bit.

On the flip side: be the candle in the darkened room. Smile at the person you pass on the road with the dead eyes because it’ll be your turn sometime. Be the first person today  if not ever to truly listen to someone who is “crazy.” Find the opposite of someone’s despair and bring them to it with a surprise. Find out directly what people’s pain is really like, rather than assuming you can tell.

Abandon the idea that you know it all. Nobody does, or can. Try on beliefs like thrift store jackets until you find the warm one, especially if you hate how it looks. Maybe there’s treasure in the pockets. Flip through books, not just holy books, and look for clues. Put your music on shuffle and remember the thrill of discovery. See if it seems to read your mind.

Tear yourself down. Build yourself up. If you don’t define yourself, circumstance will. Let it all happen. You can’t stop most of it anyway. The power is in how you greet the chaos and the blessings and the horror and the wonder. Let the universe of infinite possibilities exist within and without, and in so doing, give yourself permission to grow beyond the box you came in. 

I can’t say for sure, but it’s probably the point. Oh, and one last thing:

Give yourself the love you need, for no one else is guaranteed.