“Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it’s accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another’s eyes or heart.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Stop. Get outside of your own head. Look in the eyes of another and listen intently and with quiet empathy. No judgment, no solutions, no platitudes. Listen and see the world through their eyes and heart and find your own in the process. Connect, be present, be kind. Cast light, love and empathy. Every. Single. Day.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller
“Every human is an artist. And this is the main art that we have: the creation of our story.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
Your story is yours to write. It’s a blank slate waiting to be completed by you, not others. The past few weeks, I’ve felt invisible for a variety of reasons that don’t really matter in the overall scheme of things, of what’s really important. And I have a blessed life, so imagine those who aren’t as fortunate, who’s circumstances are truly dire and out of their control.
We need to make others visible, to see them, the authentic human behind the two-dimensional stereotype. To pull our head up from our technology, from our ridiculously busy lives and lock eyes, to connect to our humanity.
Each day is a blank slate to write our own beginning, middle and end, to rise higher than we think we can and to choose invincible over invisible. We can be kind, encouraging and generous, especially when others are not. Write your story.
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – William James
On a quick run in the neighborhood yesterday, I passed a boy on a bike and he said “I see you.” I knew he wasn’t talking to me. He was playing a little game of hide and seek with a friend. But I perked up with the words “I see you.” Isn’t that all we ask for? To be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged.
In a noisy world, we can get lost and we can lose others on the rapid journey to nowhere. Pay attention and notice more of what’s around you right now. This is it. This is life. Enjoy it.
And when you don’t feel seen or heard, get outside of yourself. Look and listen more to others so they can be seen and heard. You will then discover yourself in them. Never alone. Always seen. I see you.
“The words of kindness are more healing to a drooping heart than balm or honey.” – Sarah Fielding
“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” – Saint Francis de Sales
In the aftermath of natural disasters, in the loss of a loved one, we witness empathy, kindness and generosity of spirit. But we need not wait for the worst-case scenario to show kindness. Each day we can model and show kindness to both loved ones and strangers.
You may never know the impact of an encouraging word or smile so don’t miss your chance to leave someone whole and fresh. Speak and show kindness each day. As it raises another, it brings you along for the ride.
P.S. Check out an awesome blog and movement on kindness from a very good friend – Minnemama Adventures. What we model for our children, they repeat, so be kind to all!
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn
Words matter. Actions even more. We so often have an opinion on everything and advice for others that we wouldn’t take ourselves. The noise of nothingness is loud, drowning out what’s real and true.
There are more good people than bad, and everyone has a story that we don’t know. Ask and then listen. There is more depth and substance to people, so go beyond the surface and dig a little deeper. It’s easier to define others and put them in a box than to find our common humanity and complexity. We’re all trying to figure this life out, become who we are called to be and fulfill our purpose. Hopefully. And if we focused on that, what a world this would be.
Give the benefit of the doubt, be kind, lighten up, laugh more, drop your perceptions which are often misperceptions and be naively hopeful and filled with joy. Take the time to encourage someone each day rather than say nothing or worse, being critical. It is often hard to do in world that asks for more and more of us and gives less and less. But I am convinced it’s the only viable choice that we have to live well and in the moment each day.
Cast your light today, early and often. Words and actions.
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia
It’s been a wonderful week witnessing Abby and Sasha bond and become best of friends. There’s a glean in their eyes and bounce in their step. I’ve taken their lead as well.
When walking Abby and Sasha a few days ago, Abby started taking Sasha’s leash a block from home to guide her in. Today, Sasha started to do the same for Abby as well. It was very sweet.
“Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.” – Herodotus
We are on this journey together and have the opportunity, perhaps even the obligation, to walk by each other’s side and guide each other home.
Be a good friend to those you know and kind to those who cross your path who may need a friend. Take the leash.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse
“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Michel de Montaigne
I imagine that we will get to the end of our days and realize that we did not rejoice enough. Simple delight, arms up in the air, cognizant of the many opportunities for joy before us each day.
We will regret acts and words unsaid as well as the unkind ones that were spoken. What we considered so utterly important will fade to nothingness and the measure of our life will be how kind we were and how much we loved, unconditionally.
Rejoice today and carry on each day so when you look back it will be with a deep sense of gratitude and completion, knowing in your soul that the treasure of your life was well spent. Rejoice.
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin
On average, I sift through 350 emails per day in my work email and another 100 plus in my home email. That doesn’t include about 100 emails that get stopped by the spam blocker. Probably three quarters of the emails are junk or email I am not interested in so I delete them rather than going the extra step and unsubscribing so I don’t have keep dealing with them.
We spend much of our day responding and reacting rather than creating and producing. But the good news is (and there is always good news) that we have a choice. We can unsubscribe to the noise in our technology, the noise in the world and the noise in our heads that distract us from living well. And not only can we unsubscribe, we can subscribe and opt in to that which is most important – becoming the person we are called to be through kindness, gratitude, service and light.
Start opting in and subscribing to joy each and every day and let the noise fade to the background and dissipate into thin air where it belongs.
“The regret of my life is that I have not said ‘I love you’ often enough” – Yoko Ono
Life is happening, whether we recognize it or not. And so often we do not. We let busy define our life, but as fast as we go, as many checks we check off our “to do” list, we remain unsatisfied, unsettled. And then that soft persistent voice whispers over and over again, “there’s more!”.
So we run faster, add more to our over-scheduled lives. Again, more incomplete. That uncomfortable, bothersome, empty feeling is our wake-up call. So stop hitting the snooze button.
No grand gestures, no complicated plan, no broken resolutions. Start now – tune in to each day and realize that the “more” is found in less, in gratitude, in slowing down, in kindness, in delight, in laughter (and even in tears), in loving more deeply, in forgiving, in living each day as if it’s our only one remaining.
Damn, it’s hard to do. But that persistent pesky voice isn’t going away. And if we don’t heed the call, our call, we will be one of the many souls that have gone before who look back in regret wanting a “do-over.”
There are no “do-overs.” It’s happening right now – life is happening. Participate.
“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” – Henry Van Dyke
Last week, I was running back from the gym and it started to rain. I was a block away from home and a neighbor stopped to see if I was alright and offered a ride. In the middle of routine, a simple act of kindness breaks through and pierces the wall of attention.
We “attend” to so many things and over-commit that our attention is scattered in dozens of directions. Distracted by tasks, we miss so many opportunities to notice, extend or accept simple acts of kindness. To be present in the gift of now.
It is so very easy to be jaded by the world-view – the bias and cynicism of the news, the incivility of politics, the sheer speed that technology demands of our time. Our perspective on everything can get skewed by our assumptions, judgments and swift conclusions and then onto the next for more of the same. We live our days in a series of quick transactions rather than fostering meaningful relationships that require time, attention and effort.
A simple kind act received or given can shift your perspective, lift your spirit, change the direction of your day. This, by far, has not been my “favorite” year and I look forward to the year winding down. Yet woven throughout this year, these many difficult days, have been so many moments of kindness from others, joy found in simple exchanges and the gratitude of what has been lost and in all that remains.
So as we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving this week and as the holiday season moves into full swing, pause for a moment or two each day and reflect on all that you have to be grateful for right now. And then take the next step to express and share your thankfulness with others. This year, I do truly understand, vividly and deeply, how difficult the holidays will be with those who’ve gone on ahead. But they will be honored and remembered through simple acts of love that have been received and more importantly by simple acts yet to come.
Notice today and cast light.