Let’s get philosophical (and maybe a bit metaphysical) for a moment. Stay with me; we’ll get to why it matters soon. Let’s start with stuff. We don’t own stuff, not really. It all comes and goes. Sure, we spend time with physical things, people, emotions, and thoughts. But we don’t own the thing or even the feelings and thoughts. The only thing we have, as they say, is time. But even that is an illusion despite the well-intended saying. The past is holed up as memory in our brains, and the future sits in the mental room beside it as imagination. So, what do we really have? Focus. That’s right, if we’re paying attention to the present, which is all there is, we realize that the only thing we “own” or control is our focus. Stay with me; we’re almost there.
Let’s assume, as many of the world’s leading faith traditions claim, that we’re part of this all-encompassing phenomenon that is the universe. We’re part of the everything. Now, let’s visualize the everything as a floodlight of never-ending consciousness. It’s comforting to think about it that way. As part of God, consciousness, or whatever label your tradition prefers, we’re never ending and part of everything. But what does that mean? In this thought experiment, it means that while each of us is part of the divine floodlight of everything, we are blessed with the ability to shine our own spotlight on the people and things that matter to us.
We can choose to focus our light on the negative, or we can choose to focus our light on the positive. Wisdom leaders tell us that it is not an event or situation that affects us; our reaction to an event causes the effect. When our car breaks down for the third time, or we don’t get that promotion, or the supply chain for our small business is disrupted, we have a choice. We can focus on the negative and take action on our first knee-jerk impulse, or we can shine our spotlight on solutions or at least positive actions. We all have setbacks or challenges or hurdles that seem insurmountable. The good news is if we cultivate the habit of shining our light on the positive, we’ll make it a habit. Even if it’s going for a walk before we react to that career setback. We can be proactive, compassionate, problem-solvers who focus on the good for ourselves and others even if it’s hard, especially when we don’t want to. And that’s what the business owners and community doers in these pages do. They work hard to create art, write books, and start businesses that support our communities even when it’s tough. Especially when it’s tough. They have conditioned themselves to do hard things and to shine their light on the positive. See, I told you we’d get there.
So, join us in this issue as we read about the doers shining their light on our communities through art and business. Better yet, get out and grab a cup of joe (see what I did there?) at the HIVE Coffee & Café in St. Joseph because the money you spend helps fund IntervServ community programming. Or take a day trip to Walnut Creek Winery for stone-fired pizza and an amazing glass of wine. While you’re there, you can buy “Who Will Go,” a book about the Son Tay Raid in Vietnam told through the eyes of the author and youngest raider, Terry Buckler, a local Northwest Missourian. They also offer other local products from farms and producers. Every dollar spent supports 30 local employees and helps the Holt community flourish through new business revenue and events.
And speaking of events, check out the summer events on page six. Everyone who goes helps support and inspire the small business doers to keep doing. The more people turn out, the more events there will be, which means more business, more opportunities, and more jobs. What we do and how we shine our spotlights matters. Those are just a few examples in the following pages, so please, explore the stories here and then get out and explore Northwest Missouri; you’ll be glad you did. And maybe, just maybe, the words and pictures on these pages will inspire you to get out and shine your light on an art project or a business idea that’s been lingering in your mind for far too long.