Newsflash: it’s not all about you

Leave a comment

news flash

 

When the familiar ache in my heart warns me a self-inflicted pity party might be in progress soon, I remind myself of the truth in Gretta Brooker Palmer’s quote about how making someone else happy serves to sprinkle joy into our own lives. A backwash of blessings, if you will. Mary, the woman I write about in ‘The secret to a happy life,’ whose partner withholds communication and touch on a regular basis, has taught me much about removing self from the equation. To take what I’m missing in my life and turn loss into an opportunity to pick myself up for the umpteenth time, dust off the ashes and allow my faith to create beauty in the lives of those around me. The hardest part is keeping our gaze fixed ahead of us, rather than focusing inward on our lack. Just for today, let’s discard our metaphorical blinders and do something kind for someone else. I guarantee we’ll both feel better.

How can you change your focus?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Don’t wait until you die

Leave a comment

Don't wait until you die

 

To anyone who thinks they’re falling behind in life” is written to me. I am the one who thinks I need more motivation, to read more lists and posts about how I’m not doing enough. Because I’m not doing enough, right? I’m still writing blogs about how I need to simplify, find balance, be kind, follow my dreams: to do. To be. To perpetuate an endless cycle of more than. The pièce de résistance? …we all need more than anything… permission to be wherever the f*ck we are when we’re there. Oh, this soothes my soul. Who doesn’t crave permission to love themselves exactly where they are? A yogi instructor recently ended her evening class with Alan Cohen’s words: To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. I exited the room, tears streaming down my face. I want to live now.

Which one are you?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The secret to a happy life

Leave a comment

not-so-secret

Happiness is a by-product of an effort
to make someone else happy.
~ Gretta Brooker Palmer

Palmer’s quote is my new go-to lifestyle. If I feel mopey or like I might be spiraling into a rut, I ask myself who I can bless, if not today, then tomorrow or the next day. And, ideally, I’ll follow up the thought by carrying out a random act of kindness (see ‘kindness is free…’). The act of thinking and/or doing most often pulls me out of my self-inflicted pity party even before I have a chance to invite guests. A woman I know—I’ll call her Mary—is in a long-term relationship with a partner who routinely withholds communication—verbal, as well as touch. Quite often, he goes days without speaking, and he rebuffs any physical affection. Instead of wallowing in loneliness, however, Mary seeks others who need a hug, a smile, a gentle word, a helping hand. Because Mary knows Palmer’s secret too.

How do you turn your frown upside-down?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Kindness is free, sprinkle liberally

Leave a comment

sprinkle kindness

My post ‘Birthday wish list: the gift of joy‘ talks about ushering in a new decade (which I did—complete with princess party and sparkles) in the form of engaging in 50 acts of kindness. A dear friend suggested I spread these acts out throughout the entire year, rather than attempt to stuff them into an already packed birthday month. And then to personalize them along the way. What a gift of joy this journey unfolds on a daily basis. I’ve encountered kindness begets kindness: a returned smile, a thank you, a hug, a gentler response. And then I want to do it all over again. But not for the recognition. I think serving others might just be a little self-serving because this is where I get my happy on. And although it’s a little corner of my world, I can sprinkle liberally. My hope is that kindness becomes contagious and scatters outward to make a bigger impact.

How do you sprinkle kindness in your sphere of influence?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

Slow down, listen more… and bring muffins

Leave a comment

ID-10043154

Rob was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. For years we engaged in small talk at my neighborhood grocery store while he checked out my items. It tickled him when I’d set a 14 pound container of cat litter on the conveyor belt next to 12 rolls of double-ply toilet paper. Eventually, he moved off the registers onto scanning during night shift and our paths didn’t cross again until a few days ago toward the end of his shift. After we smiled and hugged in greeting, he told me about the cancer, the surgeries. The chemotherapy. Two mornings later, we hugged again and I handed him a lunch bag stuffed with tissue paper and a dozen homemade muffins. Often, we might question why certain people show up in our lives, yet it could be as simple as offering kindness. And muffins. I think if we slow down a little, and listen more, we might find our answer.

Do you know someone who could use a hug—or muffins—today?

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A simple touch of kindness

Leave a comment

A simple touch of kindness

[Image credit: chrisroll]

During Yoga practice and the spine strengthening series, yogis rest on their stomachs in between poses.  At that time, some of the instructors will “walk” on any eager feet.  The last time I was the recipient of this brief exchange, I was thankful for the willingness of my teacher to freely offer the gift of touch to her students.  During that moment of meditation, I felt a strong appreciation and wondered how many others in my life crave such a simple act of affection.  It seems we are more concerned about crossing over boundaries or insulting so we keep our distance.  That’s not what I want to be remembered for.  I would rather be thought of as the person who stepped outside her comfort zone and embraced a fellow mother, daughter, brother … human being.  Perhaps we’d be a lot happier if we didn’t worry so much about whom we offend, but instead care about those we friend.

Do you regularly show others kindness through a simple touch?

Stepping on my soap box: the demise of the thank you

4 Comments

[Image credit: David Castillo Dominici]

As a little girl, my mom taught me the value of a thank you.  Following each holiday, birthday, graduation or any other special occasion, you’d find me handwriting personal notes extending my appreciation.  My daughter learned early on that she didn’t get to play with or spend her gifts until a thank you was sent off.  For her it eventually became a habit and at almost 20, she still takes the time to handwrite her thanks (without prompting).  With the ease of communications today, however, I’m surprised to see less and less effort made to acknowledge a gift or kindness shown.  How hard is it to say thank you by text or email?  And why are so many parents neglecting to teach this common courtesy today?  Obviously, I must’ve been born in the dark ages when please and thank you were simply a given, but now is a thing of the past.  Although in my family, those two little words are still alive and well.  Thank you for listening.

Is there someone you need to thank today?

Newer Entries