July in review - What lights your fire?

Jul 30, 2022

Hey Virtues Matter community,

How do you get in touch with your sense of joy, meaning, and purpose? 

With passion and purpose, you are unstoppable. In fact, multiple studies cite a sense of enthusiastic purpose as a powerful drug that can “reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 2.4 fold, cut the number of macroscopic strokes in the brain by 50 percent, lower the risk of different forms of sleep disturbances by 16 percent, decrease levels of inflammatory markers, and lessen the risk of mortality by 57 percent.” 

Zeal is the virtue at the intersection of passion, purpose and joy. It’s what calls us to go all in for something we love or believe. The practice of zeal means fully embracing possibilities. It is the essence of a meaningful life. Zeal means living abundantly, which we can do more likely when we are mindful, live in the present, have gratitude, and experience wonder.

We appreciate the need to balance zeal - like any virtue - with other virtues. This month at our Community Leadership Program, cohort members shared mixed feelings for the virtue at first glance. The word can evoke associations with close-mindedness and extremism- so how do we practice zeal as joy and purpose tempered with tolerance and openness? This led to a discussion of how The Five Strategies allow us to share our truths while creating the common ground of the inherent nobility of each and every person.   

Take a pause. What comes to mind for you when you read this?



For Dave, this highest purpose is building community and advocating for the natural world. For Dara, it’s safe and peaceful classrooms in which the nobility of each educator and student worldwide is elevated. For Chopper, it’s connecting youth to healing, empowerment, and each other in the midst of a mental health epidemic. 

 All are different but each is meaningful and important. Learn more about our journeys here

Identifying your ‘yes’ and living with zeal can be hard, because of what The Virtues Project co-founder Linda Kavelin-Popov calls the FOG (Fatigue, Overwhelm, and Guilt) of managing life in an age of constant change. But having zeal is what living is for.

We invite you to just take a moment and bring to mind that highest purpose that makes you feel full of belief and joy. 


Virtues in Action: July 2022


Voices of History Street Fair:  This month, our first cohort with partners Wombwork Productions, Inc and the Johns Hopkins Innovation Fund commemorated a year of learning and connection with a performance at the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Together, we held weekly sessions focusing on restoring and supporting participants in their mind, body, spirit, and wallet. Learn more about our work with Wombwork, Johns Hopkins, and the Existential Determinants of Health here.



Youth for a Better World: Inspired by a call to action from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, we held a focus group with youth leaders in the Virtues Matter community about how to bring healing and connection to young people nationwide in light of the mental health epidemic. Reach out to us to learn more about our program to support young people in healing and leadership development.



Community Engagement at CLC: At this month’s Community Leadership Circle (CLC), we came together with our cohort members to ask the question: How do we engage members of our communities to join our calls to action? With Wendy Howard of One Montgomery Green and Adam Roberts of Bethesda Green, we dove into how to spark inspiration, zeal, and connection in our different communities. Registration for our free monthly Circle is always open here.